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Global Visions
Third Annual Boston Irish Film Festival

Since its renaissance in the late 1980s, the Irish film industry has become one of the most prominent players in world cinema. Fueled in part by a surging economy, a new wave of Irish filmmakers has emerged to engage with and reflect the changing climate of contemporary Ireland. The new Irish cinema is a diverse, vibrant, and confident industry—asserting its presence on the world stage with a body of films that is both proudly Irish and assuredly cosmopolitan. Now in its third year, the Boston Irish Film Festival showcases the very best of this new cinema, offering Boston-area audiences a unique opportunity to sample films they might not otherwise see. For further details, please consult the Boston Irish Film Festival Web site at www.irishfilmfestival.com or contact curator Peter Flynn at 413-253-5414.

Special thanks for their assistance with this year’s festival go to Universal Focus, Metropolitan Films, Parallel Films, Global Action Project, Inc., Maiden Voyage Pictures, Siar A Rachas Muid Productions, Sunniva O’Flynn and The Irish Film Archive, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Special Event––all seats $10
April 20 (Friday) 7 pm

The Devil You Know

Directed by Colin Bateman
Ireland 2000, 35mm, color, 9 min.

Colin Bateman’s directorial debut is a bizarre black comedy about a small-time hood whose crimes revisit him when he is subjected to an unusual form of police interrogation. Award-winning novelist Bateman (whose Divorcing Jack opened the festival in 1999) proves himself equally adept behind the camera with this entertaining excursion into the Celtic Twilight Zone.

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April 20 (Friday) 7 pm with "The Devil You Know"

Rat

Directed by Steve Barron
UK 2000, 35mm, color, 89 min.
With Pete Postlethwaite, Imelda Staunton, David Wilmot

Hubert Flynn (Postlethwaite) awakes one morning to find himself transformed into a large rat. His taste for Guinness unaffected, Hubert soon becomes a cause célèbre at his local pub and attracts the attention of conniving reporter Phelim Spratt (Wilmot). But as Hubert’s fame—and profitability—grow, the mounting stress of having an ill-mannered, accident-prone rodent in the family proves all too much for his wife and children. Transplanting Kafka to working-class Dublin, director Steve Barron creates a highly imaginative and disarmingly surreal fantasy that works both as a knockabout comedy and a touching fable about familial love and loyalty. Rat is screened here courtesy of Universal Focus.

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Directors Diana Coryat and John J. Michalczyk in Person
April 21 (Saturday) 2 pm

Walled City Stories

Directed by Diana Coryat
US 1997, video, color, 30 min.

Produced by Catholic and Protestant teens from Northern Ireland and two African-American youth from New York City for the Global Action Project, Inc., this video documentary examines the nature of sectarian violence by drawing comparisons between the struggles of African Americans in the United States and of Catholics in Northern Ireland.


Directors Diana Coryat and John J. Michalczyk in Person
April 21 (Saturday) 2 pm with "Walled City Stories"

Unexpected Openings: North Ireland's Prisoners

Directed by John J. Michalczyk
US 2000, video, color, 60 min.

Shot on location in the Maze and Crumlin Road prisons in Northern Ireland, John J. Michalczyk’s video documentary details the ways in which internment helped shape the political consciousness of prisoners on both sides of the divide since the outbreak of the "troubles" in the late 1960s. Interviews with former prisoners tell the story of how paramilitaries forced into confinement came to understand the limitations of violence and the necessity of peaceful dialogue across the divide.

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April 21 (Saturday) 5 pm

May the Road Rise Up

Directed by Alen MacWeeney and John T. Davis
Ireland 2000, video, color, 84 min.

During the 1960s, photographer Alen MacWeeney traveled across Ireland documenting the lives and culture of the country’s marginalized itinerant community in still images. In 1999 MacWeeney returned to his subjects (this time with a film camera) and with acclaimed documentarian John T. Davis picked up where his earlier project left off. In revisiting Ireland’s "travelers" thirty years later, MacWeeney and Davis explore the internal dynamics of their community, the distinctiveness of their culture, and the ways in which that culture has changed over the years. The result is a layered and provocative portrait of a society on the fringe of mainstream Ireland.

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April 21 (Saturday) 7 pm

Some Other Place

Directed by Patrick Bergin and Paula Frazier-Bergin
Ireland 1999, 35mm, b/w and color, 113 min.
With Patrick Bergin, Caitriona Ni Mhurcu, Tony Rohr

Shot over a period of two years, Some Other Place is a compendium of three Yeats plays—The Cat and the Moon, Calvary, and The Countess Kathleen—produced and directed by Patrick Bergin (Sleeping with the Enemy, Patriot Games) and his wife, Paula Frazier-Bergin. Employing elements of the Japanese Noh theater (which had influenced Yeats’s own work), the filmmakers offer a highly original and cinematic rendering of the plays, ranging from the stark monochrome realism of Calvary to the big-screen pastoralism of The Countess Kathleen. The end result is a beautiful and heartfelt recreation of W. B. Yeats’s imagined Celtic twilight.

Coproducer/Writer/Actor Patrick Clarke, Director George Bazala, Producer Jack Alvino, and Actors Malachy McCourt and Beverley Elder in Person

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April 21 (Saturday) 9:30 pm

Beyond the Pale

Directed by George Bazala
Ireland/US 2000, 35mm, color, 101 min.
With Malachy McCourt, Patrick Clarke, Conn Horgan, Beverley Elder

Dubliner Patrick Shaw (Clarke) leaves home to start life anew as an illegal immigrant in New York City. Along with hapless pal Seamus O’Sullivan (Horgan), Shaw struggles to eke out a living until a fortuitous encounter with Tom Kinegan (McCourt), a down-on-his-luck writer, offers an unexpected salvation. Largely autobiographical, Clarke’s debut feature (as cowriter, coproducer, and actor) is an assured and intelligent drama about finding one’s place in the world. Winner of the Bronze Award for Best Dramatic Feature at the Houston International Film Festival.

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April 22 (Sunday) 3 pm

Dear Boy: The Story of Michael Macliammoir

Directed by Donald Taylor Black
Ireland 2000, video, 52 min.
With Michael MacLiammoir, Hilton Edwards

The genius of Michael MacLiammoir lay less in the richness of his stage performances than in the invention of his own persona: "a flamboyantly Irish . . . and openly gay" virtuoso whose high pretensions and sheer audacity came to embody the grandeur of the Irish stage. Tracing the actor’s life from his birth in England through his career as founder and manager of the Gate Theater with Hilton Edwards, Donald Taylor Black’s penetrating portrait makes copious use of interviews, film clips, and taped performances. The final picture is that of a complex and contradictory figure whose genius helped shape the modern Irish stage.

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April 22 (Sunday) 3 pm with "Dear Boy..." above

Return to Glennascaul aka Orson Welles’ Ghost Story

Directed by Hilton Edwards
Ireland 1951, 35 mm, b/w, 23 min.
With Orson Welles, Michael Lawrence, Shelah Richards

In 1931, fifteen-year-old Orson Welles traveled to Ireland and wangled an acting job at Dublin’s Gate Theater. During his stay at the Gate, Welles met and befriended its founding managers, Michael MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards, who twenty years later would both perform in his film version of Othello (1952). It was partly to repay his friends that Welles appeared in Return to Glennascaul, a Gate production that Edwards directed and coproduced with MacLiammoir. Featuring many of the Gate actors, the film is an exquisitely written ghost story, beautifully shot and composed, in which Welles plays himself in typical tongue-in-cheek fashion.

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Director Liam O’Mochain in Person
April 22 (Sunday) 7 pm

The Book that Wrote Itself

Directed by Liam O’Mochain
Ireland 1999, 16mm, color, 71 min.
With Liam O’Mochain, Antoinette Guiney, Marco Van Belle

Writer Vincent Macken (O’Mochain) believes he has written the great Irish novel. So when publishers turn it down, Macken decides to prove them wrong by turning it into a film. The picaresque narrative culminates at the Venice Film Festival, where Macken pitches what he now believes is the great Irish film.

Liam O’Mochain’s no-budget feature debut as writer/director/producer is every bit the in-joke its premise would suggest. O’Mochain, himself, crashed the 1998 Venice Film Festival in the guise of a reporter and interviewed celebrities from George Clooney to Robert DeNiro. (Their unwitting contributions appear in the final film.) The Book That Wrote Itself, which picked up the Lodgers Award for Best Feature Film at the 1999 Austin Film Festival, is an eccentric and hilarious black comedy on the pretensions of art and filmmaking.

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Special Event––all seats $10
Director Pat Murphy and Producer James Flynn in Person
April 22 (Sunday) 9 pm

Nora

Directed by Pat Murphy
Ireland/UK/Italy/Germany 1999, 35mm, color, 106 min.
With Susan Lynch, Ewan McGregor, Peter McDonald

Based loosely on Brenda Maddox’s biography of Nora Barnacle, Pat Murphy’s eagerly awaited film traces the torrid and tempestuous love affair between Barnacle (Lynch) and James Joyce (McGregor), from their first meeting in 1904 until the publication of The Dubliners in 1914. Capturing perfectly the prevailing moral and religiousclimate of Ireland at the turn of the last century, the film portrays Nora taking a painterly look at the stifling world against which both she and Joyce rebel. For Murphy, the real insurgent of the couple was Barnacle, a spirited Molly Bloom who pushes the young writer to explore the boundaries of his art and sexuality. Barnacle has always remained a shadowy figure in Joycean lore, but Murphy’s sensitive and revealing portrait goes far in acknowledging her profound influence on the twentieth century’s most celebrated artist.

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