Irish Film: Fan Favourites

April 05

Featuring our guest podcaster Eimear O’Donoghue, this month the focus was on Irish film and a personal favourite from our two hosts. They chat about two very different genres that just go to show how broad the spectrum of what Irish film can offer is.

“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


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