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Ciné Gael Montréal Irish Film Series 1993

In 1992, the Cultural Committee of the St. Patrick's Society of Montréal received a proposal from film-buff Anthony Kirby that Montréal needed an Irish film series. The committee agreed to fund the wildly hysterical plans of Lynn Doyle, Patrick Vallely and several other miscreants, to form and run a film society devoted to showing Irish Films. click to read more...


January 7
 :: Opening night & Reception
The Commitments (1991) 118mins Dir: Alan Parker
The Commitments poster with Robert Arkins, Andrew Strong, Johnny Murphy, Angelina Ball. Scenario: Dick Clement. Ian LaFrenais and Roddy Doyle. Cinematography: Gale Tattersail. still photo from the Commitments

A street-smart musical comedy with a generous dollop of Roddy Doyle’s gamy Dublin argot. Brilliant!

Patrick Valleley introduced the film.
January 21
The Luck Of Ginger Coffey (1964) 100mins Dir: Irvin Kershner
Luck Of Ginger Coffey poster with Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, Liam Redmond. Scenario: Brian Moore. still photo from Luck Of Ginger Coffey

Montréal looks bleak to an Irish immigrant, played by Robert Shaw, who has an attitude problem and finds it difficult to keep a job or a family. One of Shaw’s very best screen performances.

Kevin Tierney introduced the film.
February 4
 :: Lecture: “Irish Cinema and The Quiet Man” — Prof. James MacKillop at 6:00 PM, ...followed by:
The Quiet Man (1952) 129mins Dir: John Ford
The Quiet Man poster with John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor McLaglen, Ward Bond.

still photo from The Quiet Man "An Irish version of “The Taming of the Shrew”. “John Ford’s art and artifice...are employed to reveal a way of life - stable, rooted, honourable, purposeful in nature’s way, and thereby rhythmic. Everyone is an individual, yet everyone and everything has a place.” — Henry Hart
February 18
Hear My Song (1991) 104mins Dir: Peter Chelsom
Hear My Song poster with Adrian Dunbar, Tara Fitzgerald, Ned Beatty, David McCallum, Brian Flanagan, Shirley Anne Field. still photo from Hear My Song

A film about a fugitive music-hall performer, Josef Locke, that succeeds in hitting all the high notes.
“It helps restore some of your faith in young, untested directors with mostly young, mostly untested casts.” — Marc Horton

Introduced by Michael Callahan, without his fiddle!
March 11
Eat The Peach (1986) 90mins Dir: Peter Ormond
Eat The Peach poster with Stephen Brennan, Eamon Morrissey, Nial Toibin, Joe Lynch. still photo from Eat The Peach

Eat The Peach is a wryly amusing tale about two unemployed men who build a Wall of Death in the backyard of one of their homes in the middle of a flat—landscaped peat bog.
It’s a comedy that touches on some sensitive Irish issues: unemployment, the withdrawal of foreign investment, the uneasy attitude in the South towards “the troubles” in the North. Unemployment!
March 25
December Bride (1990) 88mins Dir: Thaddeus O’Sullivan
December Bride poster with Saskia Reeves, Donal McCann, Ciaran Hinds. still photo from December Bride

The story of a woman and her relationship with two brothers. It is both an unconventional love story and a study of a long trial of strength between an independent woman and the unbending Protestant community in which she lives.

Lovingly shot by French cinematographer Bruno de Keyzer (Round Midnight).
Read more about the movie here.

April 8
 :: two short films
Clash Of The Ash (1987) 53mins Dir: Fergus Tighe
with Liam Heffernan, Vincent Murphy, Gina Moxley, Alan Devlin. still photo from Clash Of The Ash

Centers on the trials and tribulations of a high school student who, although a good hurler on the local team, has much to combat in depressed Ireland.

...and, a second short:
In Uncle Robert’s Footsteps (1992)
24 mins Dir: Myles Connell
Cork poster starring Patrick Fitzgerald and Nye Heron.

It’s a long way to America from Ireland and the truth can get stretched in between. When a young man comes to work in his uncle’s business, he discovers that his uncle is not the man he thought he was.

“Best Black & White Short” Award - Cork Film Festival, 1992.
April 22
The Playboys (1991) 114mins Dir: Gillies MacKinnon
The Playboys poster with Albert Finney, Aidan Quinn, Robin Wright, Milo O’Shea.

“In this romantic feminist fairy tale a young heroine is content to raise her baby without male assistance of any kind. The film ends with a very upbeat message about the potential for women’s independence...On the flip side of all the elation, however, is a very palpable sadness, left by the sublime character work of Albert Finney.” — Edmond Grant

still photo from The Playboys "This absorbing, uneven romantic comedy-drama, set in a small Irish town in 1957, takes its name from a travelling troupe. The heroine is an unwed mother named Tara (Robin Wright). She challenges every male authority figure in town and drives all the men wild—especially the violent, alcoholic constable, Sergeant Hegarty (Albert Finney), who seethes when he sees her with her actor lover Tom (Aidan Quinn).

The screenwriters, Shane Connaughton (who co-wrote My Left Foot) and Kerry Crabbe, are full of ideas and observations about orthodox religion, claustrophobic village mores, the craziness of life in a divided country, and the last gasp of strolling players before TV’s ascendancy.

Wright and Quinn are well matched, and the director, Gillies MacKinnon, and his cinematographer, Jack Conroy, provide images that sparkle with amorous possibilities. But the filmmakers don’t funnel their panoply of themes gracefully into Tara’s story. Her affair with Tom comes off as a foil to Finney’s passionate portrait of stewed wrath and despair. He endows a clenched, masochistic character with such scale and force that he takes over the movie." -
by Michael Sragow
April 29
 :: Gala Closing
Hush-A—Bye Baby (1990) 80mins Dir: Margo Harkin
Hush-A—Bye Baby poster with Emer McCourt, Mlchael Liebman, Cathy Casey, Julie Marie Reynolds, Sinéad O’Connor.

The film is set in Derry in 1984 and stars Emer McCourt who won Bronze Leopard for Best Actress at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland for her portrayal of a young woman who becomes pregnant and wrestles with the pressures of the situation. When her boyfriend is “lifted” in a British Army swoop, she feels totally alone and unable to tell anyone. This film depicts life as it is for young women in Ireland in the year after the abortion referendum.
still photo from Hush-A—Bye Baby Sinéad O’Connor composed the score of the film and appears in a supporting role.
Hush-A-Bye Baby received the Ecumenical Award at Locarno. Margo Harkin won Best Director at the Orleans Festival and the film won Best Drama Award at the Celtic Film Festival. Read more here.

Dana Hearne, raised in Dublin, and teaching at John Abbott, introduced the film.
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