‘Stag’s’ main influences …

1 The brutal realism and ethos of F. F. Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1978)

2 John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981): although ‘Stag’ is rooted in our modern world, as a Celt, I have always been fascinated by the mythical, and the intimate proximity of the ‘Otherworld’.

3 In addition to Tarkovsky’s protagonists always undergoing a spiritual crisis, his films are not only a ‘seamless weaving of time, dream and memory’, but are also full of images of great beauty.

4 The UK, BBC TV’s Peaky Blinders (2013-19) is an important contemporary influence, not least because of its strong characters and story-line as well as its original blend of ‘historical drama’ and contemporary music.

Peaky Blinder’s ‘darkness’ is too one-sided, because ‘Stag’ isn’t just about the high contrast between light and dark. ‘Stag’ is about the interplay and balance between opposites, especially beauty and violence, compassion and barbarity, patriarchal religion and the goddess. In ‘Stag’ light is used to ‘soften the edges’ and thus, at times, reduce the contrast between opposites, in order to introduce a sense of calmness to a scene.  In a violent and ugly world, the presence of this calmness, or ‘beauty allied with grace’, is an important element in ‘The Fugitive Stag’.

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