Something’s going on with Irish Cinema, it’s had a bit of resurgence in the last few decades. From ‘My Left Foot’ through ‘The Commitments’ all the way to ‘The Secret of Kells’, Irish Cinema tells us a little something about Ireland that the newspapers sometimes can’t. It’s usually raw, it’s often gritty and it always gives an insight into Ireland and our culture.
ONCE: A film that shows how much music means to Dublin. And not your manufactured, glitzy Hollywood numbers, this raw talent, buskers plucked from Dublin’s cobbled streets. It’s location and cast are Irish through and through, as with the intertwining themes of love and music, which have always been part of the Irish national makeup. Two lovers trawl the streets of Dublin imprinting their lives on the music they create. A captivating drama that doesn’t really on big names or action scenes, it also stars a Tullamore D.E.W. favourite – Glen Hansard.
THE COMMITMENTS: Adapted from Roddy Doyle’s novel, a group of unemployed men and women group together to form a soul band. A cast of unknowns paint a portrait of a Dublin brimming with musical talent. To be honest, the film would be a winner on soundtrack alone. It’s a film that shows the resilience of the Irish people, our drive to find the brighter side of life, and the saving powers of music. Starring members of The Frames, Van Morrison and even Andrea Corr, all before they made it big, the film was a breeding ground for Ireland’s future stars.
THE GUARD: The Guard is a darker-than-black comedy with expertly written dialogue, which certainly isn’t for the easily offended. It’s comfortably compared to the likes of ‘Snatch’ or ‘In Bruges’, and manages to be both powerful and truly hilarious. It shows the darker side of the Irish wit, with Brendan Gleeson acting the wily Irish copper, taking on all comers and never flinching from danger or the opportunity for a joke. The most Irish thing about this film is it’s dialogue, expertly sharp and perfectly quick witted it doesn’t seem ‘overwritten’ coming from an Irish tongue, where perhaps in Hollywood, it would.
MY LEFT FOOT: In an amazing performance and breathtaking true story, Daniel Day Lewis turns out as Christy Brown, an Irishman with cerebral palsy who could only control his left foot. With this foot, he became an artist, and exhibitioned his work. It’s a tale of determination of hope in bleakest times. It’s Christy’s face life singing attitude that makes this film so ‘Irish’, with the one piece of his body he could move, he expresses himself in the most beautiful way.
INTERMISSION: A crime comedy focused on a band of Dublin down-and-outs, their intersecting lives battle for love, greed and havoc. It’s a veritable who’s who of Irish cinema - Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy, Colm Meaney, Shirley Henderson and Kelly Macdonald. As they drift through life, their paths cross, and the film shows the power we all have to affect the lives of others. Intermission is all about the search for love – whether it be the love for money, romance or the lust for life, it’s tackled in a suitably dry Irish manner.
What do you think? Does the anti-Hollywood vibe of our country’s cinema say anything about Ireland? What are you favourite Irish films? Let us know in the comments. Glasses up!