Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton yesterday paid tribute to those who died in all wars as her film pilgrimage arrived with a 37-ton mobile cinema at Culloden Battlefield.
Along with film writer and director Mark Cousins and a crowd of relentlessly enthusiastic volunteers, the Nairn-based star hauled on ropes to drag the Screen Machine into Culloden Visitor Centre, prior to a showing of the 1964 film, Culloden.
Poignantly, the film was shown at 1pm, the exact moment the battle began in 1746, or as the Hollywood star pointed out, 96,172 days to the day.
The film, made by Peter Watkins, lasts almost as long as the battle itself – about an hour – which left 1,300 dead.
The Hollywood star, wearing a red poppy, said: “War is present and real, which is why it is so powerful.
“Battles are so often glorified in a way which obscures the fact that it’s about people getting killed. There’s never not a war, so it’s not just for Culloden, it’s for every battle.
“The showing of this film is a memorial service on a sacred site. I want to pay tribute to the Culloden centre as the site is preserved so respectfully.”
Mr Cousins said: “It’s all a lot more muted today. We’ve had people skipping and dancing all along the way, but this is a war grave so we are respecting that.”
Ms Swinton and Mr Cousins embarked on the roadshow six days ago in Glencoe, stopping off and showing films at Strontian, Fort Augustus and Dores. Yesterday they also visited Cawdor before arriving todayin Ms Swinton’s home town of Nairn.
About 40 people paid £70 a head to join the “circus”. One of the group, Anna Herberhold, from Germany, said: “It sounded like the perfect opportunity to see great films in a great panorama and get a totally different perspective.”
Malin Gezelins, from Sweden, read about the plan in a magazine interview with the actress.
She said: “It’s been really worth it, especially for the people in the group. Everyone’s been very open for not knowing each other very long.”
Wearing a Highland Hospice kilt, specially made for the festival, Ms Swinton said: “When you’ve got 40 friends behind you, you can pull anything.”