In Hard Light, filmmaker Justin Simms uses Michael Crummeys seminal piece of Newfoundland literature as a lens to examine cultural change and modern relationships. At its most basic level, the film serves as a portrait of Newfoundland and its people. As in Crummeys collection of poems and stories, there is a decisive theme of the artist investigating his ancestors to discover himself. Hard Light also questions the function of art in human understanding: the power of storytelling to, as Crummey says in an interview near the end of the film, “pin something long enough, to make it hold still long enough for us to be able to see it for what it is.” Crummeys stories are dramatized in atmospheric, carefully composed black-and-white sequences overlaid with voiceover readings from the works themselves, read by Simms. Character is built through an accumulation of detail. The dramatizations are broken up by Crummeys own ruminations in conversation with Simms. The writers childhood memories tell us where the spirit of the stories, and in some cases their subjects, came from; his thoughts on the process of creating the book tell us why they matter. A beautiful cinematic blending of old and new, Hard Light is a timely reflection on compassion and the art of living.