Irish Film: Fan Favourites
“One that really stood out to me, which I would have seen when I was about 15, was Breakfast on Pluto.”
Eimear chose the comedy-drama Breakfast on Pluto as her favourite, which came out in 2005 and is based on the novel by the same name by Patrick McCabe, of Butcher Boy fame.
“It’s directed by Neil Jordan who also did The Butcher Boy and The Crying Game. Very well respected Irish director.”
Starring Cillian Murphy as the lead, a transgender woman who was abandoned at birth and grows up in a small town in rural Ireland in the 1940’s.
“They get the essence of Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden, who’s the main character, played by Cillian Murphy in the film.”
Cillian Murphy is famed for many roles, notably as the Scarecrow in The Dark Knight trilogy, but he also played lead roles in other famous Irish films, such as Intermission and The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
“Basically it’s split into about 36 chapters. So it’s a kind of, picaresque film, where it’s just following Patrick Kitten Braden through his life.”
From her upbringing in an uncaring foster home, to running away from home with a glam rock band and getting involved with the IRA, it’s a tumultuous existence Kitty lives, and yet she does it with complete poise.
“It’s sort of Dickensian in the way that his spirit triumphs throughout.”
Featuring a whole host of stars, some of rest of the cast include Liam Neeson, Ruth Negga, Liam Cunningham and Stephen Rea.
“I’d say the best cameo in it has to be Brendan Gleeson as a Womble.”
An award winning film, Breakfast on Pluto secured four Irish Film and Television Awards and earned Cillian Murphy a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
“I’m glad I re-watched it! And the costuming is incredible.”
Aoife, who if you’ve been listening you know loves all things horror, chose the recently released The Hole in the Ground. Released at the start of March of this year, The Hole in the Ground is a horror thriller that had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
“It’s starring Seána Kerslake who was also in A Date for Mad Mary which I also absolutely loved. It was just such a fun movie, but this is a very different vibe.”
Seána Kerslake (pronounced Shaw-nah) is also well known for being one of the leading roles in the Irish television show, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope. She is definitely a star on the rise in the film industry.
“It’s an interesting film because, you know we get a lot of these horror movies where these mothers are stuck in their houses and they become afraid of their children.”
A mother flees a possibly abusive relationship with her young son to the Irish countryside and settles down in a house next to a forest, where a large sinkhole sits in the centre.
“What would you do if you found out your child was becoming someone you didn’t like?”
The film draw on themes of doppelgängers and changelings, with changelings being heavily featured in Irish folklore as a cruel trick played by faeries, and doppelgängers originating from Germany and representing extreme bad luck.
“I think that Irish horror in general is having a little bit of a moment.”
Some of the more popular Irish horror films that have come out in the last decade and that we highly recommend are The Hallow, The Lodgers and The Canal. If you’re a horror fan they are definitely worth a watch!
“I wanted to talk very briefly about Without Name. This is the eco-horror.”
Directed by Lorcan Finnegan and starring Alan McKenna, this film centres on a mysterious forest and a man with something to hide.
“Extra Ordinary is coming out as well which is sort of like a, comedy horror it looks like? With Maeve Higgins in it, I think she plays a driving instructor who can converse with the dead.”
Extra Ordinary had its world premiere in March at the SXSW Film Festival in the United States. Official release date is still to be announced but it is making waves in the festival circuit.
“I feel like the Irish have a good sense of a Gothic tale.”
As the birth place of Bram Stoker, Halloween and banshees, it’s safe to say the Irish know how to tell a good horror story.
That’s not to say they can’t tell an uplifting one from time to time either! Have a listen and leave a comment, do you have a favourite Irish film? Let us know!
Samantha Lyons | Inflight Dublin
Accounting for Taste: Differences in Genre Popularity Across the World
I recently came across an article called “The Relative Popularity of Genres Around the World” by Stephen Follows and Bruce Nash.
About how liked (or disliked) certain genres are in different countries, it’s a fascinating piece of research.
I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at their findings.
Let’s dive in.
If we take 0% as the global average of a genre’s popularity, we can see, with a rating of 83%, that Italy really loves comedy movies.
I wasn’t surprised to see this. This is, after all, the country that gave us its very own comedy subgenre: commedia all’italiana (or “Comedy the Italian Way”).
At the opposite end, with a score of 64% below the global average, is South Korea.
South Koreans, generally speaking, like the genre to be part of a blend in their films. Parasite, for instance: a movie that’s as much a comedy as it is a thriller and drama.
So it mightn’t be a case that they dislike it, but rather prefer comedy to be another colour in an eclectic mix.
Let’s take a look at action movies.
This is an interesting one.
Whereas Italians are the world’s great lovers of comedy, with a score of 30% below, they’re not too fond of action.
South Korea, who weren’t keen on comedy, love it as much as the Italians don’t: they have a high rating of 40%. The two countries have the opposite taste in films!
The birthplace of Kung Fu, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, it’s not surprising that China tops the list.
However, for a country that gave us Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone and Chuck Norris, North America’s rating of 17% below is very surprising indeed.
Documentaries are huge in the US and Canada. Given the ubiquity of brands like National Geographic and Discovery, as well as names like Neil deGrasse Tyson, this isn’t unexpected.
The two countries have produced some excellent feature-lengths recently – Apollo 11, RBG, American Factory and Free Solo to name a few – and this has established them as leaders in documentary filmmaking.
There’s a correlation across the three Asian countries (South Korea, Japan and China). They all score well below the global average.
But this doesn’t mean that they don’t produce documentaries, and good ones too: Jiro Dreams of Sushi is one of my perfonal faves, and Last Train Home, Old Partner and Up the Yangtze are worth checking out too.
Remember what I wrote about South Korea and Italy having opposing tastes? Well, hold that thought. Because, with scores of 50% and 40% respectively, both countries find common ground in a love of drama.
But the most curious stat here is the UK.
Much like how I was taken aback by the US’ lack of love for action, I was surprised by the UK’s rating for drama.
This is the country that gave us everything from Shakespeare to Austen to The Crown; surely there has to be a greater appreciation than 2% below?
I would wager that if plays, novels and TV were included, we’d see the UK at the top of this one. Perhaps that’s a study for another time!
Considering their lack of love for comedies (24% below), it’s interesting that Russians like the genre a lot more when there’s some romance thrown in.
I wasn’t surprised when I saw this, though.
I recently researched the Russian market and it struck me that, along with action and historical films, the country produces a lot of rom-coms.
Status Free, Ice 2, Imperfect Man and How I Became Russian come to mind; cheerful, easygoing crowd-pleasers that packed Russian cinemas.
Mexico leads the way with a score of 18% above.
Recent romance-tinged Hollywood blockbusters, like The Shape of Water and Fifty Shades Freed, did well here. Both went to number one at the domestic box office, and accrued higher grosses in Mexico than in similarly-sized territories.
The country has a healthy market for homegrown romances too; Tod@s caen with a gross of $136 million, was 2019’s best performing Mexican language film.
Mexican cinemagoers are an open-minded bunch; not only do they love romance, but horror movies too.
This is what critic Justina Bonilla had to say about the country’s ties to the genre (I recommend reading the original article here):
On the flipside of the coin, the genre dies a gruesome death in China where we see the highest disapproval rating yet: 100% below the global average. Roger Garcia, executive director of the Hong Kong film festival, gave his take in this 2016 interview:
Follows and Nashs’ figures aren’t an exact science, and there will always be exceptions. Action films that do well in Italy for instance, or horrors that fall flat in Mexico.
Nevertheless, there’s no doubting that it’s an important and insightful piece of cinematic research.
The findings show us, not just the specific likes and dislikes of a given country, but how changeable and fluid genre popularity is; depending on the territory and culture, you can have wildly different results.
To each their own, I guess!
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- Images created by Inflight Dublin, based on the research by Stephen Follows and Bruce Nash of the American Film Market.
- “The Relative Popularity of Genres Around the World” by Stephen Follows and Bruce Nash.
- “Why Scary Chinese Movies Are So Scarce” by Li Anlan.
- “15 Movies to Get You Started With Mexican Horror” by Carlos Aguilar.
- “The Era of Italian Comedy” by Ancos.
- “The Top-Rated Movie in Every Country” by Emily Petsko.