This 32-page book is printed in-house and contains a detailed semiological commentary prepared with the general reader, students and teachers in mind. 

For those who would like to use it as a teaching and learning aid in a classroom situation the film has been segmented into eleven sequences of 10 to 15 minutes duration.

Extract from Teacher's Commentary​

SEQUENCE 1 JOSIE’S DAY (DVD Chapter 1 - : 8 mins) 
Let the film roll until Dan the trucker drives away

This film begins with a high solo musical theme playing over a black screen. The violin is joined by other instruments in the orchestra as the visual track commences. The tone is melancholic and suggests a great sadness. Generally in a film the music will accompany the visuals to position the audience to take a certain view of a character or a situation. A long shot of a figure walking awkwardly along a railway line fades in. The screen is framed with lush foliage. The grandness of this musical theme is at odds with the shambling gait of this character. The railway tracks might suggest travel and communication with the great world beyond this immediate setting.

After this shot fades out another image fades in. It is, once again a long shot, this time one of a train pulling carriages of turf over a boggy terrain. At once, any notions of these railway tracks leading to the great world beyond are dispelled and the range of our expectations are curtailed. Another clue that this film will operate on a small canvas, as it were, is given when the titles appear: they are presented to us in lower case lettering.

An enigma is being set up here for the audience: how does the grand and elegiac musical theme fit with this character and this setting? After another fade-out/fade-in, a third image of a boggy landscape is presented to us. Grey clouds fill the sky. The lush vegetation of the first shot is gone. This is bare bogland now. All the while the plaintive theme continues on the soundtrack. The man we saw in the first shot walks across the frame in a straight line. Presumably he is still following the tracks. Birdcall can be heard on the soundtrack.

The scene changes and the man, Josie, approaches. The stationary hand-held camera pans left to keep him in the frame and reveals that there is someone waiting for him. This is Mr Gallagher, the owner of the garage, and he is leaning on a silver Mercedes registered in Tipperary North. The car might be an indicator of his wealth. Josie apologises for being late and Mr Gallagher tells him it is not a hanging offence. Josie says he has been out for a walk “To stretch out the hip”. So the shambling gait we noticed in the first shot is explained.

The wide-angle shot of the garage that follows this exchange will become a standard stylistic feature of this film. Many of these shots will be edited in such a way as to linger on the setting and characters, slowing down the pace of the film and positioning the audience to reflect on the action and the frame of mind of the characters.

Inside in the garage shop, after Josie has opened up, Mr Gallagher pays him his wages. Josie looks away as if he is embarrassed by taking the money. Mr Gallagher asks him if he will do a bank run later. He can arrange to get another person, Nancy, to come over and stand in for him to facilitate this. Josie shows his willingness to serve by saying that he will get a few jobs done before she arrives. All this action is filmed in medium shot. Then Josie brings up the subject of the containers of oil. He does so hesitantly. A point of view shot is inserted, drawing the audience into Josie’s experience. Mr Gallagher listens without paying any great attention. The scene is now being presented to us in close-up shot/reverse shot, inviting us to empathise with Josie’s discomfiture as he tries to express himself. Mr Gallagher scratches his head at one point and is grateful, we feel, when his mobile phone rings. As Josie explains his thinking about the oils and the stand that the commercial representative has given him, Mr Gallagher takes the call and eventually has to tell Josie to be quiet. He is showing no interest in Josie’s suggestion that is designed to improve business by raising the sales of the containers of oil.

Outside on the forecourt again Mr Gallagher walks briskly to his car. Josie tells him they are set and “Ready for anything”. In one of the great ironies of the plot, that will only become obvious as the narrative proceeds, Mr Gallagher asks if Josie would mind keeping the garage open for an extra few hours at the weekends: Josie’s contention that they are ready for anything will be tested by this. As it happens, Mr Gallagher has also been thinking about the garage and seems to have come up with an idea that will increase business. He cites the fact that the evenings are bright and that “houses are flying up around the lake” as reasons for staying open until ten o’clock. Just as he agreed to do the bank run earlier, even so does Josie agree to this suggestion. When Mr Gallagher tells him that he would not have him on his own during these extra hours, Josie agrees with this too. He seems to be completely suggestible and willing to go along with anything that his boss puts to him. “You’re a great man, Josie!” are Mr Gallagher’s closing words.

As Mr Gallagher drives off, something strikes Josie and he bustles after the Mercedes. He asks for permission to move the oils. Mr Gallagher seems to have forgotten the conversation that he was only half interested in anyway, inside in the shop. “Whatever you think yourself, Josie” is his disinterested reply.

Josie repeats these words to himself as if he is mentally processing them and it might strike the audience that he is a bit slow in this regard. He is an obliging man who wants to be helpful. He takes his job seriously and preoccupies himself with thinking about ways to improve the garage. He walks the railway tracks to get his hip loose and ready for the day’s work. In all of this, though, loneliness seems to hang over him like the grey clouds that we saw rolling over the barren bogland.

Josie goes to the back of the garage and we realise that he actually lives on the premises, in a bed-sit. He gets into his working clothes and proceeds to open the doors of the workshop. This action is filmed from inside in the darkness of the garage. Josie pushes open the doors onto a new day, a day full of possibilities. He stands in the sunshine and gazes out on the view at the back of the garage for a few moments: this is his domain. A reverse shot shows him standing with his hands by his sides. Then he speaks his thoughts and proceeds to laboriously move the stand of oils out to its new position on the forecourt. The audience might have wondered what Josie had to gaze on out the back of the garage earlier, and now it is amazed at how awkward Josie is with the stand as he gets himself jammed between it and the wall! After this exertion he sits by the garage door as he throws his eye over the new development in the the sales department. The sounds of the countryside can be heard on the soundtrack.

A huge articulated lorry enters the forecourt and the driver blows his horn in greeting. Josie seems happy as he emerges from the shop, accounts book in hand. The driver, Dan, has proceeded to serve himself and Josie greets him with “Now!” This is a phrase that he will use over and over again in the course of the narrative and it becomes a marker of his restricted vocabulary. When Dan asks how he is keeping, Josie, without a hint of irony, tells him he is dead moving things around! Josie informs him that he is making improvements about the place. We have already heard and seen how Josie got the stand and how he broached the subject with Mr Gallagher, so it is dramatically ironic to hear him play up his own part in the proceedings. He tells Dan that he has been discussing the improvement with his boss and so proceeded to ask the commercial representative for the oil stand. Dan treats Josie with a level of seriousness that Mr Gallagher did not afford him, telling him that the stand looks great and that he is sure that Mr Gallagher will be delighted.

As Dan busies himself with checking the levels in his engine, Josie remarks that he is always going somewhere or coming back! Dan tells him he is heading for Bruges and Josie is very impressed. He rolls the word around in his mouth, as it were, to try to savour some of the exoticism of this far-flung location. If we have not noticed it before, then the design on Josie’s baseball cap might suggest the irony of his idealised attitude to foreign travel. Dan wonders why Josie thinks he is such a lucky man: after all, it is a truckload of dead chickens that he is hauling to the continent. When Josie tells him it is nice to see other places, Dan says with a weary note in his voice, that roads are the same everywhere.

Another point of view shot is inserted which positions the audience to empathise with what is on Josie’s mind. It is a close-up shot of the figure of a naked woman that is a favourite of truckers. “And the women!” says Josie with a mischievous grin on his face, as he gazes at the bobbing figure on the dashboard. Dan might still be referring to the roads as he says “The same everywhere!” but Josie is fantasising now about what he imagines truckers get up to on their travels with “tramps ... street-walkers inside in the cab.” Though slightly puzzled at first, Dan now realises what is now on Josie’s mind and goes along with him just as he did with the scenario involving the great exertions Josie has made regarding the oils. He reverses completely his earlier attitude of weariness with the road and now tells Josie that he has indeed a great life. He plays along with Josie further by telling him not to tell his wife about how well he knows him. Josie adds conspiratorially “The cats away”, giving the impression that he knows exactly what the mice can get up to in their cabs on the roadways of Europe! He has another lingering look and reveals what he is thinking by saying “In the cab” for the third time.

Josie gallantly tells Dan to give the Dutch women he meets in Bruges all his love. Dan’s answer, “Belgian!”, is almost drowned out by the roar of his engine. Its real importance may exist on the metaphorical level, however. Just as Josie has got the geographical location of Bruges wrong, even so has he got everything else about the romance of Dan’s work, travel and love-life wrong. The fact that Josie has his own peculiar way of looking at the world is being established for the audience. As Dan said earlier “You’ve a strange idea of lucky, Josie!”

This sequence has presented Josie to us. It has also presented two opposite attitudes to him. As the film progresses these opposing attitudes become the extremes on a spectrum of responses to Josie that the audience can pick from as they see him in various scenarios: from not taking him too seriously to treating him with a level of respect while being aware that he has a view of life that is slightly different from the norm.