It’s Not Yet Dark
Director: Frankie Fenton
Released: 13 October
The story of Simon Fitzmaurice is relatively well-known. A writer, husband, director and father who was in his prime before Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) invaded and started to shutdown his being back in 2008. It’s Not Yet Dark, takes the form of videos, photos and interviews with Simon’s insightful narrative read by Colin Farrell. Simon can no longer speak, swallow or breathe without a ventilator but is unbowed in his resilience to survive and not just exist but achieve and excel. We witness him raise a dream in directing his debut feature My Name is Emily. He communicates his instructions on set and in life via software which reads his eye movement.
At the heart of It’s Not Yet Dark is the profound love between Simon and his wife Ruth. Theirs is the tale of sweethearts who find their love entangled and a new path forged by their unison. It is a love “undimmed, unbowed, unbroken”, a triumph of both will and heart. It’s Not Yet Dark ended up being selected to compete at Sundance this year which is all the more gratifying since we see Simon’s elation in Park City whilst presenting The Sound of People, an earlier short there back in 2008. It was also when he first felt a “floppy” foot, the first warning sign of ALS.
It’s Not Yet Dark is testament to the human spirit and how it can somehow muster hope in the face of appalling adversity. There is nothing “romantic” about facing death, it is “terror” states Fitzmaurice at the outset but his confrontation of said plight is a source of true inspiration and the documentation of it a most welcome feat.
Words: Michael McDermott