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The Airy Tomb

An isolated life can mean that home is nothing more than an “airy tomb”, as imagined by poet and rural parish priest R S Thomas.

Drama 1963 13 mins

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Can there be a bleaker portrait of a life half-lived? Cinematic treatment of poet R S Thomas's story of Twm, the "shy soul" who lives and dies alone in the "grim house nailed to the mountainside", oblivious to the interest shown in him by young girls in the village and to his own isolation as he scratches a living from the farm. Voiced-over by Kenneth Griffith, the poem declares Twm to have been "true to his fate".

Produced by Richard Charles Uryan Rhys (9th Baron Dynevor) and directed by Emyr Humphreys (novelist, lecturer in Drama and one-time BBC Drama Producer) 'The Airy Tomb' was shot in six days - five in summer, one in winter. The village of Pontrhydfendigaid and the graveyard at Strata Florida were used as locations, as was a nearby farm – 'Berthgoed', suggested by R S Thomas. The producer's own home – Dynevor Castle, Llandeilo – was also used for both interior and exterior shots. The film was the official British entry at the Venice Festival for short and documentary films (14th Mostra Internazionale del Film Documentario), July 1963.