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November 18 - November 20, 2005

Magners Irish Film Festival

The Magners Irish Film Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the United States.  The annual festival features the very best of contemporary Irish and Irish-related film and video, and offers awards in three main categories: Best Feature, Best Documentary, and Best Short Fiction/Animation.  A Director's Choice Award is also given, as well as an Excellence Award for filmmakers whose work represents the very best of Ireland and the Irish on screen.  Select screenings will be complemented by guest filmmakers and receptions. For details and schedule of screenings, visit www.irishfilmfestival.com.


November 18 (Friday) 6 pm

Darkroom

Directed by Ian Thuillier
Ireland, 2002, color, 52 min

Ian Thuillier's debut documentary is a moving tribute to his late bother, fine arts photographer Harry Thuiller Jr. With unusual access to his subject's life, Thullier constructs an intimate, deeply moving portrait of an artist on the edge, from his earliest days as a student in the US (including a brief stint at Mass College of Art, Boston) to his tragic and controversial death in Italy from an overdose of heroin. Exquisitely made and sensitively told, Darkroom probes deep into its troubled subject, providing insight into the artistic imagination and the disaffection and loneliness that often accompanies it.

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November 18 (Friday) 7:30 pm

Mickeybo and Me

Directed by Terry Loane
Ireland, 2005, color, 100 min
With John Joe McNeill, Niall Wright, Julie Walters, Adrian Dunbar

 

Winner: Best Feature Award
Director Terry Loane in Person!

Belfast, 1970. Jonjo and Mickybo - the former Protestant, the latter Catholic - are two friends united by a common obsession with the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid . Escaping family pressures, they go on the lam, imagining themselves to be their outlaw heroes. Their fantasy, however, is short-lived and both friends soon find that the realities of the world cannot be held at bay forever. Based on the acclaimed play by Owen McCafferty and directed with great sensitivity by Terry Loane, Mickybo & Me is a heartwarming story about innocence and friendship - and the fragility of both.

Recoil

Billy McCannon
Ireland, 2004, color, 10 min
With Keith McErlean, Bosco Hogan

 

Winner: Best Short Fiction Award
Producer Jonathon Cummins in Person!

A Republican paramilitary is arrested following a brutal murder. While in custody he undergoes questioning and finds an unexpected offer of redemption. Director Billy McCannon crafts a tense, tightly wound film that lingers long after the credits stop rolling.

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November 19 (Saturday) 2 pm

The Honeymooners

Directed by Karl Golden
Ireland, 2003, color, 88 min
With Jonathan Byrne, Alex Reid, Justine Mitchell, Conor Mullen

Left standing at the altar on his wedding day, David (Jonathan Byrne) takes up with Claire (Alex Reid), a feisty waitress with troubles of her own. Together they escape to rural Donegal where romance blossoms. It's a tried and true formula and writer/director Karl Golden pays due homage to the classic screwball comedies of an older, more innocent age. But he's not afraid to take chances and the end result is a romantic comedy with an energy and edge that is entirely modern . . . and real. Indeed, for all its contrivances, The Honeymooners - with its jittery, hand-held camera-work - is ultimately the story of two flesh-and-blood lonely souls who just happen to find love under the most outlandish of circumstances.

Jellybaby

Directed by Ronan & Rob Burke
Ireland, 2005, color, 10 min

Ronan and Rob Burke's stylish and uproariously funny comedy tells the story of Jack and Jill, a happy couple with a great relationship... until they had a baby.

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November 19 (Saturday) 4:15 pm

Patrick Kavanagh: No Man's Fool

Directed by Sé Merry Doyle
Ireland, 2005, color, 68 min
With John Montague, T.P. McKenna, James Liddy

 

Winner: Best Documentary Award

The life and times of Ireland's favorite poet are explored in Sé Merry Doyle's visually splendid and eloquent documentary. From Kavanagh's frustrated youth in rural Monaghan to his final curmudgeonly years in Dublin, No Man's Fool examines the places, people and events that inspired such poems as "The Great Hunger" and "Raglan Road." Interviews and archival footage are used to tremendous effect but it is the renditions of the poems themselves- by the likes of T.P. McKenna, John Montague and James Liddy- set anachronistically against stunning imagery of contemporary Ireland that elevate the film to the level of poetry.

Undressing My Mother

Directed by Ken Wardrop
Ireland, 2004, color, 5 min

 

Winner: Director's Choice Award
Director Ken Wardrop in Person!

A candid and moving portrait of the director's elderly mother explores a woman's unique take on her overweight and aging body.

Ouch!

Directed by Ken Wardrop
Ireland, 2004, color, 8 min

Three men talk opening about their experiences being circumcised later in life. A surprisingly touching and funny film with a highly unusual- yet wholly appropriate- approach to its subjects.

Useless Dog

Directed by Ken Wardrop
Ireland, 2004, color, 5 min

 

Winner: Director's Choice Award
Director Ken Wardrop in Person!

This witty and charming portrait of the Wardrops' loveable but utterly inept farm dog proves that every dog does indeed have its day.

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November 19 (Saturday) 7 pm

Adam and Paul

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
Ireland, 2004, color, 83 min
With Mark O'Halloran, Tom Murphy

Friends since they were small boys, Dubliners Adam and Paul have withered into two hapless, desperate junkies, tied together by habit and necessity. A stylized, downbeat comedy, the film follows the pair through a single day, which, like every other, is entirely devoted to the business of scrounging and robbing money for drugs. The difference today is that Adam and Paul- already near rock bottom- have finally run out of luck, credit and friends. Lenny Abrahamson's debut feature plays like a cross between Laurel and Hardy and Samuel Beckett- never sentimental, at times harrowing, but always tender. Hot Press: "One of the best Irish movies you're likely ever to have seen... brilliant."

The Ten Steps

Brendan Muldowney
Ireland, 2004, color, 10 min
With Jill Harding, William O'Sullivan, Paula Lee

A clever horror film that takes the old premise of a young girl alone in a creepy house, then adds a terrific and unexpected twist.

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November 19 (Saturday) 9 pm

Fluent Dysphasia

Directed by Daniel O'Hara
Ireland, 2005, color, 16 min
With Stephen Rea

An uncommunicative single father, with no understanding of the Irish language, wakes up one morning to find himself speaking perfect Irish... and with no recollection of English. Writer/director Daniel O'Hara's clever premise sets the stage for an ironic take on the question of language in contemporary Ireland.

Man About Dog

Directed by Paddy Breathnach
Ireland, 2004, color, 88 min
With Alan Leech, Tom Murphy, Ciaran Nolan, Pat Shortt, Fionnula Flanagan

In debt to a local mobster, a trio of Belfast ne'er-do-wells go in search of a greyhound which they unwisely sold to a family of gypsies. The greyhound, they hope, will make them a fortune at the races. But getting it back is a lot more difficult then they had originally imagined. Paddy Breathnach directs the proceedings in a breezy, freewheeling style that recalls his earlier caper-film I Went Down . The script, by Pearse Elliot, is by turns witty and profane and the cast takes to it with obvious aplomb. Fionnula Flanagan's brief turn as a vengeful widow and a wad of forged £20 notes emblazoned with the face of Gerry Adams add to the fun. A runaway hit in Ireland, Man About Dog is sure to find an audience overseas. See it here first.

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November 19 (Saturday) 1:30 pm

Shorts Program I

Ireland, 2004-2005, 108 min.

Films by Kealan O'Rourke, Karl Havden, Colm Bairead, Nora Twomey, Graham Cantwell, Kevin McCann, Michael O'Sullivan.

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November 19 (Friday) 3:30 pm

When You Say 4,000 Goodbyes

Directed by Jim Fahy and Mike Meegan
Ireland, 2005, 52 min.

"In my 25 years in Africa I have said goodbye to more than four and a half thousand kids; I have kissed them goodbye - and I shouldn't have had to." Irish doctor and scientist Mike Meegan looks back on his career as a doctor among the tribal villages of Kenya's Massailand in this moving documentary by Jim Fahy. Exploring Meegan's battle with the ravages of AIDS, malaria and TB on the local population, 4,000 Goodbyes paints a powerful picture of the pointlessness of such deaths and of one man's attempt to do something about it.

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November 19 (Saturday) 3:30 pm

School No. 1: A Mission to Beslan

Directed by Adrian McCarthy and Debbie Deegan
Ireland, 2004, 35 min.

On September 1st, 2004, School No. 1 in the small Russian town of Beslan was celebrating its first day back at school when it came under seige. Three days later 340 people were dead, most of whom were children. Director Adrian McCarthy follows Irish woman Debbie Deegan, of the charity To Russia With Love, as she travels to Belan to deliver the Irish Books of Condolences to the devastated community. Powerful and moving, School No. 1 reminds us of the importance of charity in times of tragedy.

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November 19 (Saturday) 5:30 pm

When Pigs Carry Sticks (Muca Le Maid)

Directed by Oda O'Carroll
Ireland, 2004, 52 min.

Ireland may have changed considerably over the centuries but one aspect of its culture-- namely its weather-- has not. Oda O'Carroll's adventurous and visually arresting documentary examines age- old customs for predicting it as well as the important role it plays in the lives of three entirely different and eccentric characters.

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November 19 (Saturday) 5:30

The Well (An Tobar)

Directed by Anna Rackard and Adrian Mccarthy
Ireland, 2005, 52 min.

This fascinating documentary offers a tantalizing glimpse into a relatively unexplored area of Irish cultural heritage-- the sacred well. Visiting several of the country's most sacred well sites on their special days of devotion, documentarians Anna Rackard and Adrian McCarthy reveal the continued importance of Christian and pre-Christian traditions in contemporary Ireland as well as many of the peculiar legends that persist to this day.

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November 19 (Saturday) 8 pm

She Didn't Say No

Directed by Cyril Frankel
Ireland, 1958, 97 min.
With Eileen Herlie, Perlita Neilson, Wildred Downing, Anne Dickins

Bridget Monagahn (Eileen Herlie) is the caring mother of six illegitimate children in a small Irish town. Needless to say her presence provokes the ire of the local villagers-- foremost among them being the children's natural fathers-- who try to have her run out of town. But the natural charm of Bridget and her young tykes proves hard to resist, even for the most ardent of moralists. Adapted from the novel by Una Troy and scandalous for its sympathetic portrayal of an unwed mother, the film was quickly suppressed and has rarely been seen since. Recently restored to its former Technicolor glory, She Didn't Say No can now be appreciated for the buoyant comedy classic that it is.

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November 20 (Sunday) 1 pm

James Joyce's Women

Directed by Michael Pearce
Ireland, 1985, 88 min.
With Fionnula Flanagan, Chris O'Neill, Tony Lyons

Few actors have captured the eloquence, beauty and eroticism of James Joyce's language better than Fionnula Flanagan. And nowhere is this more evident than in James Joyce's Women, a film version of the acclaimed play, which Flanagan herself wrote and produced. Her tour-de-force performance as, among others, Nora Barnacle (Joyce's wife), Sylvia Beach (the woman who first published Ulysses) and, of course, Molly Bloom has set the benchmark for interpreting Joyceóand has yet to be bettered. Co-starring Chris O'Neill as Joyce and Tony Lyons as Leopold Bloom. Produced by Flanagan with her husband Garrett O'Conner.

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November 20 (Sunday) 3 pm

Sean O'Casey: Under a Coloured Cap

Directed by Shivaun O' Casey
Ireland, 2004, 81 min.
With Shivaun O'Casey, John Kavanagh, Niall Buggy

A personal account of the life of the great Irish dramatist by his daughter Shivaun, Under a Coloured Cap is a touching and memorable account of Sean O'Casey's life. Fore-grounding the loving family man and humanistic artist whose formative experiences mirrored those of the nascent Irish nation, Shivaun O'Casey brings personal insightóas well as a wealth of private archival materialóto a life made legend by the Abbey's productions of Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars. Narrated by Shivaun with actor John Kavanagh as the voice of Sean. Photographed by Albert Maysles.

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November 20 (Sunday) 3 pm

Cradle of Genius

Directed by Paul Rotha
Ireland, 1961, 25 min.
With Eileen Crowe, Maureen Delaney, Barry Fitzgerald, Siobhan McKenna, Sean O'Casey

Nominated for an Oscar in 1962, this documentary celebrates the Abbey Theatre with appearances from any of its leading stars including Siobhan McKenna and Eileen Crowe. Of particular interest is an exchange between Barry Fitzgerald and Sean O'Casey who reflect on Yeats' many peculiarities.

* Shown here courtesy of Films Media Group, the leading source of educational content for schools, colleges, and libraries. (www.films.com)

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November 20 (Sunday) 5 pm

The Abbey Theatre: The First 100 Years

Directed by John Lynch
Ireland, 2004, 100 min.
With Stephen Rea, Colm Meaney, Ben Barnes

"The Abbey Theatre is the most national of all National Theatres. It's like a microcosm of the nation." Quoted in John Lynch's definitive documentary on the Abbey, former Artistic Director Patrick Mason sets the stage for an exploration of the Abbey's greatest achievements... and failures. From the glory of its early years in the 1910s and 1920s through the financial and artistic doldrums of the 60s and 70s to its rebirth in the early 1990s, Lynch chronicles the theatre's turbulent history in great detail. Warm, often moving reminisces from Abbey players Colm Meaney and Shelah Richards contrast with acerbic commentary from the likes of Brendan Behan, Barry Fitzgerald (both in archival footage) and Stephen Rea to create a rounded, critical and thoroughly involving portrait of Ireland's foremost artistic institution.

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November 20 (Sunday) 7 pm

Some Mother's Son

Directed by Terry George
Ireland, 2001, 112 min.
With Helen Mirren, Fionnula Flanagan, John Lynch, Aidan Gillen

Set against the backdrop of the 1981 hunger strikes in Belfast, Terry George's award-winning drama film tells the story of two mothers, Kathleen Quigley (Helen Mirren) and Annie Higgins (Fionnula Flanagan) who must stand by and watch as their son's refuse food in Long Kesh prison. George (The Boxer, Hotel Rwanda) evokes the time and place of the hunger strikesówhich saw the death of Bobby Sands and nine other Republican prisonersówith harrowing accuracy. But his main concern lies with the dilemma faced by the prisoners' mothers-whether or not to respect their sons' decisions, or sign an order for force feeding. Mirren and Flanagan are captivating as the film's leadsóthe force and clarity of their emotions humanize a struggle made abstract by politics. Written by Terry George with Jim Sheridan.

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November 20 (Sunday) 2pm

Alive Alive O- A Requiem For Dublin

Directed by Se´ Merry Doyle
Ireland, 2001, 52 min.
With Jasmine Russell, Frank Harte, Paula Meehan

Named 'Documentary Of The Year 2001' by Ireland's Sunday Tribune, S´ Merry Doyle's critically acclaimed examination of Dublin's street traders paints a moving picture of a people and a culture destroyed by modernization, urban gentrification and heroin. Rare archival footageóincluding glimpses of a young U2 playing an inner-city benefit concertócombines with personal recollections to convey the devastation of areas such as Sean McDermott Street, Gardner Street and Moore Street and the decimation of a people whose character and livelihood were synonymous with Dublin's Fair City.

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November 20 (Sunday) 2 pm

Happiness

Directed by Conor Hogan
Ireland, 2005, 28 min.

Filmmaker Conor Horgan asks a variety of people, from all walks of life, of all ages, to define happiness. Their answers, collected here in short snippets, run the gamut from the simple to the profound, and what emerges is a wonderful glimpse into both the human psyche and the nature of happiness itself.

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November 20 (Sunday) 4 pm

Anonymous: Women in Irish History

Directed by Melissa Thompson
Ireland, 2004, 20 min.
With Mamo McDonald, Rosie Hackett

Anonymous explores the role that Irish women played in Irish political history and our contemporary culture's virtual ignorance of it. Historian Mamo McDonald and trade unionist Rosie Hackett help unearth this important aspect of Irish history.

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November 20 (Sunday) 4 pm

There Should be Justice

Directed by Melissa Thompson
Ireland, 2005, Color, 28 min.
With Adraigin Drinan

This portrait of human rights lawyer Padraigin Drinan and her efforts to bring to justice perpetrators of violence against Catholic women exposes an oft-ignored aspect of the Northern conflict - namely the suffering and victimization of its women.

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