ENDLESS features the actor Christopher Eccleston in the role of a solitary, unnamed man, dressed in the plainest of plain clothes. Filmed in Derry’s Ebrington Square and produced by Nerve Centre’s Pearse Moore, the setting is the most basic of architectural environments — an empty building with bare brick walls and bare board floors.
Doherty’s decision to shoot the film in shadowy black and white adds emphasis to the extremity in the scenario and severity in its visualisation. Shot after shot, up-close and distant, we see this same, enigmatic, self-isolating individual: a man with nowhere to go, with no way out. His situation is one of enduring solitude. His story is one of deceit, disguise and disgrace. He tells, in non-specific terms, of constructing an identity and colluding with others in a conspiracy of deception. His life is a lie.
Doherty’s script, delivered with such precisely measured anguish by Eccleston, reveals the private thoughts of a single, tormented mind. The script is the testimony of a spectre: an impossible, post-mortem statement, a ghost story. These are recollections from beyond reality — from beyond life’s definitive end — but they have, at the same time, a real-life dimension, echoing contemporary and historical events.
Over the past decade, Doherty has offered lingering, anxious views of post-conflict Northern Ireland, asking us to wonder, as the narrator of his 2007 film Ghost Story proposes, 'about what had happened to the pain and terror that had taken place there'. Doherty’s scenes and stories often involve characters tethered to the past, whose thoughts and actions endlessly return them to the sadness, suffering or shame arising from earlier experiences.
ENDLESS was shot in Derry in March 2020 just before the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, and is the first film that Doherty has launched online. It is accompanied by a series of new black & white photographs, text-based paperworks and a related text by Dr Declan Long, art critic and lecturer at The National College of Art and Design, Ireland.
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