Now in its fourth year, the Irish Film Festival is right around the corner to showcase some of Ireland’s finest cinematic talents.
Twenty years on from the Peace Process, the Irish Film Festival has marked the occasion with a list of films which will examine the legacy of ‘The Troubles’ – the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland – and has offered up a programme which reflects the complexity, vitality and diversity of Ireland.
Here are just a few which aren’t to be missed this year.
MAZE (dir. Stephen Burke)Kicking off the festival in Sydney and Melbourne is 'Maze', a dramatisation of the mass-breakout from the Maze Prison in 1983.
It stars Tom Vaughan-Lawlor of 'Love/Hate' fame, as he breaks out 38 IRA (Irish Republican Army) prisoners – an event now considered to be the largest prison-break in Europe since World War II.
NO STONE UNTURNED (dir. Alex Gibney)From Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, 'No Stone Unturned' reopens the mysterious 1994 Loughinisland massacre in Northern Ireland – the cold-case which had six men gunned down and murdered in a pub while watching the World Cup.
Two decades on, and the killings are officially unsolved. However, the film dives deeper into the events and reveals several significant aspects of the case, many of which were hidden in plain sight, tampered with, and possibly ignored. With the end of ‘The Troubles’ in sight around that time, many have been left to wonder if a collusion took place in order to cover it all up and avoid peace-damaging controversy.
THE LODGERS (dir. Brian O’Malley)An edge-of-your-seat gothic horror following Anglo-Irish twins Rachel and Edward as they live, orphaned, in their family’s cursed, haunted and crumbling estate.
Rachel and Edward are the sole heirs of a formally prosperous family, and are bound to the decrepit estate by an ancient family curse. The spirits have given them three strict rules to follow – they must be in bed and with their doors locked by midnight; they must never allow a stranger through the door; and they are to never abandon their home, or else they may unleash the fury of ‘The Lodgers’.
THE FLAG (dir. Declan Recks)For something lighter, 'The Flag' is the story of a down-on-his-luck Irishman who returns home from London after losing his job, his father and his beloved pet hamster all in one day. While home, he discovers a statement from his grandfather, claiming he raised the Irish flag in the 1916 Rising.
Determined to get that “fecking flag,”back, he sets out with a motley crew to steal it from a British Army Barracks and – hopefully – find his passion for life along the way.
SONG OF GRANITE (dir. Pat Collins)Perfect for lovers of Irish music, 'Song of Granite' is a gorgeous and unconventional biopic which charts the rise of traditional (sean-nós) Irish folk singer, Joe Heaney, and explores the moments and country that shaped him into the enigmatic and complex Irish legend he’d later become. The film is in Gaelic and English, and will be accompanied with English subtitles.
Irish Film Festival Dates18 April – Penrith Gaels
19-22 April – Chauvel Cinema (Paddington)
26-28 April – Kino Cinema (Melbourne)