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A bittersweet Celtic love story set in the late 1940s in a forgotten corner of the world - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It is a place where Gaelic is still spoken and fiddle music is played, and coal mining is a way of life and death. Margaret MacNeil has already lost her father and brother to the mines, and isnít about to become a coal-minerís wife. But one day, Neil Currie, a gentle, irresistible giant of a man, staggers into her life - and they fall in love. He promises to stay away from the mines. But when Neil loses his job washing dishes in the Chinese restaurant and their money runs out, there is no alternative. Will things turn out differently? Or will history repeat itself?

"Interesting to note that three very different films made recently which canvass life in remote areas and the hardships endured by the lifestyle of its miners. Lars von Triersí powerful Breaking The Waves explores life in an isolated spot in remote Scotland, where the men live and die on the oil rig. Mark Hermanís emotionally charged Brassed Off (Australian release, August 14 1997) is set in a small mining community, where pit closure is imminent. Although Margaretís Museum is similarly set in an isolated area and explores the mining lifestyle which is punctuated by deaths, the film has a voice of its own. And there is much to recommend this haunting film from Mort Ransen, who directed, co-wrote and produced it. Itís a pretty grim life in the wilds of Nova Scotia where the MacNeil family live. There are few joys. Thereís alcohol, of course and the odd dance. Everyone lives in fear of the sirens, which herald yet another mining accident and funeral. Margaret scrubs the floors of the local hospital. She is unconventional, and sits legs astride with her red hair wild in the wind. She lives with her dour mother, younger brother and bedridden grandfather, who must be Ďthumpedí regularly, or heíll choke and die. But then she meets Neil Currie, who is as tall as she is short, and a real romantic to her pragmatic nature. "This isnít pie," he says, "Itís poetry." It is a striking film that perhaps has more impact as it seeps into the corners of the mind. Helena Bonham Carter brings Margaret to life; her mannerisms, her gawkishness, her longing to be loved and fear of being left. Clive Russell at six foot six seems to glide into Neil Currieís shoes. His performance is truly memorable; his kind eyes, the gentleness with which he lifts Margaret with his strong arms for a kiss, his passion for the joy of the bagpipes. All the performances are strong and the blatantly honest emotions portrayed have a poignant simplicity that is powerful. The ending, as with Lars Triersí film, is controversial; the shocking secret of Margaretís Museum is as haunting as Milan Kymlickaís lilting music."
Louise Keller

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Helena Bonham Carter brings Margaret to life

Neil and Margaret on their wedding day

"poignant simplicity"


CAST: Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Nelligan, Clive Russell, Craig Olejnik, Kenneth Welsh, Andrea Morris

DIRECTOR: Mort Ransen

PRODUCER: Mort Ransen, Christopher Zimmer, Claudio Luca, Steve Clark-Hall

SCRIPT: Gerald Wexler and Mort Ransen (Based on Sheldon Currieís short stories)


EDITOR: Rita Roy

MUSIC: Milan Kymlicka

PRODUCTION DESIGN: William Flemming (Can), David McHenry (UK)


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 29 (Sydney, Brisbane), June 5 (Melbourne, Adelaide)

AWARDS: Winner Six Canadian Genie Awards including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress; Winner Golden Shell 1995 San Sebastian Film Festival; Winner Peopleís Choice 1995 Atlantic Film Festival; Winner Most Popular Canadian Film, 1995 Vancouver Film Festival

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