Dummy Jim

Matt Hulse

Over 50 years ago, the deaf James Duthie biked from his Scottish fishing village to the Arctic Circle and back again. Why? Just because. Hulse worked for 12 years on this visual mix of documentary and fiction. A treat for the eyes and ears.

In May 1951, the deaf Scotsman James Duthie, better known as Dummy Jim, cycled from his small fishing village in Scotland to the Arctic Circle. When he got back home, he wrote down his experiences in the book 'I Cycled into the Arctic Circle', which he published himself. Years later, the mother of director Matt Hulse found this rarity and sent it to her son, who decided to film the eccentric story.
Together with deaf actor and filmmaker Samuel Dore, Hulse set out on the long journey through northern Europe. Hulse mixed fictional and documentary elements into a virtuoso blend: unusual people in fictional Super8 films, playful animated sequences and archive footage of the era in the countries traversed. Back to the present, where the community gives the local hero a memorial and a gravestone. Hulse follows events closely, sketching a fascinating portrait of this small fishing community in the 21st century.
With his rhythmic editing and visual style, Hulse clearly takes into account a deaf audience. The exceptional soundtrack is an added extra for the hearing and completes the experience. Dummy Jim died after a traffic accident in 1965 and his story remained unknown for a long time. This film and the website are certainly going to change this. Presented at the CineMart in 2007.

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