Your Internet browser may be incompatible with this HTML5 website. please use a more recent browser version

St Patrick’s Day: A VOD Festival of Independent Irish Film

In the parade's wake, the streets become awash with vomit and cracked plastic hats. Marauding youths swig vodka and coke from dingy bottles while casting malignant stares at the passer by. Come early afternoon anarchy is rife in the city…… It’s Paddy’s Day!

Exactly when our national festival became a tongue in cheek homage to Sodom and Gomorrah I can’t tell. Perhaps subconsciously we’re trying to show St Patrick just how much we still need him. I mean what if he’s up there looking down and thinks to himself: “Time to champion another fixer upper.”

We’re not having that Paddy! Hence by nightfall on the17th of March we transform into Stanley from Street Car roaring to the heavens “Hey, Patrick!”

He saunters to the pearly gates against protestations from Joan of Arc and grins down “Look at the state of you!” Sympathetic, like.

“Don’t you ever leave me, Patrick!”…. Order restored.

This year I think I will opt out of the abusive drunken fold and in the style of a reclusive curmudgeon celebrate from the safety of my home. What better way to pay homage to everything Irish than an impromptu Independent Irish Movie Festival! If you are also considering laying low

this Paddy’s Day why not jump on the movie festival bandwagon. Here are some suggestions, Whiskey’s optional. 

The Secret of Kells

Preoccupied with building fortifications the monks of Kells are forced to neglect their manuscripts. When a master illuminator rolls into town it is up to young Brendan, nephew of the Abbot, to help complete the book and by doing so save his community. When Brendan ventures into the forest in search of materials for the book he befriends a spirit and embarks on an epic quest.

This visually astounding cartoon showcases modern Irish animation while at the same time drawing inspiration from the iconic artwork preserved in the Book of Kells. Reminiscent of an anime classic with a celtic twist, this vibrant animation is a tale of magic realism set during the Viking invasions and offers a surrealist link to Ireland past.

Once

Starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova Once is a feel good love story set in Dublin. The narrative takes place over a week on the streets of the capital and follows the budding relationship of a busker and a talented Czech immigrant as they collaborate musically, edging towards romantically. Though the premise sounds sappy the movie is not awash with sentimentality and the characters are relatable.

What sets this movie apart is the abundance of original songs that comprise the Oscar winning soundtrack. Once is a musical for people who don’t like musicals. It’s full of catchy stripped down tunes and not a dance routine in sight. The worldwide success of this small independent Irish film helped showcase a modern Ireland devoid of diddly aye stereotypes.

The Guard

Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, this reimaging of a western, set in modern day Galway is a dark comedy both hilarious and unsettling. When an international drug smuggling ring pops up in rural Galway the F.B.I send their top man, played by Don Cheadle, to crack the case. He is partnered with Gerry Boyle an unorthodox Guard whose methods leave the F.B.I man wondering if he is an absolute idiot or genius sleuth.

Brendan Gleeson is superb playing the unhinged Guard. His buddy cop interactions with an infuriated Cheadle have the right measure of sarcasm which elevates their performance above the habitually slapstick pairings of the genre.

Jimmy’s Hall

In 1932 after 10 years of exile Jimmy Gralton returns to his hometown in Ireland. Determined to keep his head down, the onetime social activist is slowly coaxed back to the soap by the injustice he witnesses.

The hall is a place to gather, rejoice and find your footing in the world with the help of the community. The powers that be lash out at this instrument change which threatens to emancipate from their grasp the pliable will of a community crippled by fear.

Based on a true story Jimmy’s Hall makes for apt viewing on St Patrick’s Day. The independent film reflects on the nations repressed origins and the characters who fought to break that mold for future generations.

This one might beckon you to revel with horde down in the local. Careful Now!

 

 - Eddie Wilson