Ireland is celebrating 2018 as the year of the Gaelic language - ...
...the year of Irish.
Each Ciné Gael season we always work to schedule features and short films in Gaelic. This practice started in 1995 with our first film in Gaelic, The Bishop's Story; two years later we screened Bob Quinn's film Poitin, and we were in the groove.
Click on either of the two images on our banner to learn about the 2018 Irish Langage Celebrations (Blain na Gaeilge) and about Conradh na Gaeilge, the Gaelic League founded in 1893.
Our programmers have been scanning film fleadh catalogues and soliciting recommendations and screeners from our film and filmmaker contacts in Ireland, and especially from IFI, the Irish Film Institute .
If our first three confirmed films are a sign, 2018 will be a terrific season.
94 min - Dir: Nick Hamm; Written By: Colin Bateman with: Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, John Hurt, Freddie Highmore, Toby Stephens and Catherine McCormack
:: Guest Speaker:
“It’s a celebration, by two splendid actors, of the art of political theater.” - Variety [Owen Glieberman]
The Journey had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, followed by its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. - TIFF [Dave McNary]
The movie focuses on the improbable friendship between Martin McGuinness (played by Meaney) and Ian Paisley (Spall) in a story that follows the two Northern Ireland political titans after the signing of the breakthrough St. Andrews Agreement in 2006.
The Journey is the gripping account of how two men from opposite sides of the political spectrum came together to change the course of history. In 2006, amid the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland, representatives from the two warring factions meet for negotiations. In one corner is Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall), the deeply conservative British loyalist; in the other is Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney), a former Irish Republican Army leader who has devoted his life to the cause of Irish reunification.
Over the course of an impromptu, detour-filled car ride through the Scottish countryside, each begins to see the other less as an enemy, and more as an individual - a breakthrough that promises to at last bring peace to the troubled region. Driven by two virtuoso central performances and co-starring John Hurt, Freddie Highmore and Toby Stephens, The Journey, an IFC Films theatrical release, is a relevant reminder of how simple humanity can overcome political division.
90 min - Dir: James Demo with: Padraig O'Malley
"A deeply moving portrait of its truly admirable, complex subject" Hollywood Reporter
“Padraig O'Malley makes peace for others, finds little for himself” Boston Globe
In the heart of the world’s most intractable conflicts, Padraig O’Malley brokers peace using unorthodox methods and dogged determination. With no formal training in conflict resolution, he convened Northern Ireland’s key peace conferences at the age of 33. His uncanny talent lies precisely where United Nations envoys and diplomats fail—gaining a person’s trust. Face to face with dogmatic leaders, O’Malley can get them to tell their stories
For five years, filmmaker James Demo follows the peacemaker through crisis zones from Nigeria to Iraq, and discovers an even more fractious frontline—O’Malley’s personal life. The man who creates meaningful connections for a living returns home to an empty apartment.
A recovering alcoholic, O’Malley’s relationships with partners and an adopted daughter bear the scars of addiction to the bottle and work. Struggling against time, his demons and an exhausting career, can this formidable character find salvation for both the world and himself?
The first half chronicles O’Malley’s major accomplishments in exceptional form, and Demo gets a lot of background material and context by following his subject. Then, the second half of the film becomes something deeply personal and almost heartbreakingly poetic as O’Malley has to come to terms with his own failing health. - Toronto Film Scene
Peace is not the absence of gunfire, O’Malley made clear. “In terms of conflict resolution, reconciliation is the most important thing — when the guns fall that is only just the beginning — all reconciliation must be inter-generational,” he said. Padraig O’Malley
87 min - Dir: Len Collin
"There's a wonderful warmth and directness to this movie." - Guardian [Peter Bradshaw]
"This deft delight resolutely refuses to patronise the performers or the audience. It has a sincerity, wit and compassion that recalls Justin Edgar's 2005 short film Special People." - Radio Times [David Parkinson]
Movies can have big impacts on people's lives, but not many films can say they've actually changed the law.
Enter Irish film Sanctuary, about a couple who want to be together but face huge obstacles. The film's protagonists, Larry and Sophie, have Down Syndrome and severe epilepsy, respectively. (The film's entire cast is made up of actors with mental disabilities.) And since they both have mental disabilities, under Irish law, they're not allowed to have sex unless they're married — at least that was the case when this fictional film was shot a few years ago.
On Feb. 14, 2017, that law was changed thanks to the work of Inclusion Ireland and other lobbyists. The film was cited as one of the reasons behind that decision.
"When you look at Sanctuary, it's the first time that it's a story told about them,
by them," director Len Collin says, of representing mental disabilities in film. Colin adds that the film industry is still
far from breaking through with stories that reflect people and actors with disabilities, but that "it always takes someone to make
the first film, and maybe this is the first film that's going to crossover to the mainstream."
[ Screened at the ReelAbilities Film Festival in Toronto ] CBC [Tom Power and Jean Kim on Q]