The Irish Film Festival is in its fourth year and looking like a stayer. The selection of feature films reflects the quality and diversity of the industry in Ireland and all films in the program are Australian premieres. For the first time, the festival will include a short film competition, which, according to Festival Director, Enda Murray, should appeal to local film makers with Irish heritage.
“A short film competition is a way for them to connect with the festival and to contribute creatively to the kind of ongoing story of Irish Australia.”
Thematically, there is a strong nationalist and historical thread running through most of the films with high representation from and of Northern Ireland and the civil conflicts that racked the two nations.
“I think it’s important to remember the past so we don’t repeat it,” explains Murray. “What ‘the troubles’ does for me is it provides a lens to observe present day politics, it shapes my ideas about how I look at the world…”
This is poignantly demonstrated in the ground breaking documentary, No Stone Unturned, a hard-nosed investigation into the 1994 massacre of six unwitting Catholic men in a small Northern Irish pub.
The Journey, looks at the troubles from a different perspective. Two influential men, politically and ideologically opposed, are forced by circumstance to take a car journey together. What ensues is a gripping intellectual battle between two morally stubborn minds.
The Flag brings comic relief of the larrikin kind with a hapless hero trying to reclaim an Irish flag from a British barracks.
Song Of Granite is a moving bio-pic about renowned Irish singer, Joe Heaney, whose life experience parallels the growth and influence of Irish folk song itself.
In classic haunted house tradition, The Lodgers offers stylish horror thriller in a vintage, dark-toned setting.
The highlight of the festival is the hugely successful Maze, a prison break-out movie based on the true 1983 events surrounding the largest British prison escape in history.
There are plenty of films at the festival for the Irish and Irish at heart.
Apr 19−22. Chauvel Cinema, 249 Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney. Tickets & Info: www.irishfilmfestival.com.au
By Rita Bratovich