An eclipse in Cornwall is an odd idea. This is where the English come for the sun, for the warmth, to bathe in Gulf Stream, to soak up the rays, to get away from the clouds and the shadows of the rest of the country. Is that all Cornwall is? Is just a place for sun worship, and little corner of Celtic twilight where the sun hasn’t yet sunk? If so what will be left in those two minutes of totality, what is there is Cornwall if there is no sun?
Odder still, thousands are coming for just these reasons. The very moment that seems to defy Cornwall’s attraction as a tourist resort now serves to bring in more visitors than the county can deal with.
Two Minutes is the story of Mary Tregeagle, a Cornish woman born and bred, who has since moved to London. She is returning to Cornwall for the eclipse, but she has a deeper question: what has happened to the people and the place she has left behind? And what will happen to them?
Given this, Two Minutes is also the story of Ray Penhale, a childhood friend of Mary’s, who has never left Cornwall, or indeed, the village of their birth. He can guide Mary through this new Cornwall, re-introduce to her to the scenes of their childhood and see how they have changed.
Mary is not alone in going to Cornwall for the eclipse, however. Among the thousands flocking to witness the event is Henry Carlyon, a Druid, who intends to celebrate the eclipse with his own version of a traditional local ritual, with ancient overtones.
These three are all converging on the south eastern corner of the county, the Rame Peninsula, “Cornwall’s Forgotten Corner”, the forgotten corner of the forgotten county.
Above all Two Minutes is the story of Cornwall and the eclipse. The documentary follows these three characters, and their perceptions of, and reactions to Cornwall, its inhabitants and the in-comers to the county at the time of the event.
What does an event like this mean for Cornwall? How much does Cornwall rely on tourism? What do the Cornish think of the rest of the country, and what do they think of the way the rest of the country sees them and their culture?
Perhaps in the darkness such secrets will be revealed…