The Galway Film Fleadh kicks off
We salute the best in the west and offer a few suggestions
It’s the middle of the year. That busy awards season has receded in the mirror. We’ve seen a new cinematic year launched at Cannes. That Toronto/Telluride/Venice Trifecta is still a safe distance away. This must mean it’s time for The Galway Film Fleadh. Launched in the 1980s, when it still felt slightly mad to be a film person in Ireland, the event has now become a much-loved institution. Nowhere else will you see quite so many new domestic features. We’ve already seen a few of the best films. A few others have kicked up some kerfuffle elsewhere.
If you are making your way to Galway — or remaining there — for the Fleadh be sure to keep eyes open for the many special events. Ruth Negga and Jim Sheridan are both hosting masterclasses. My colleague Tara Brady will be there on Saturday for discussions on “Women in Film”. Heck, just stand outside the Town Hall for five minutes and you’re sure to encounter somebody interesting.
Anyway, here are five Irish releases to see. There are many, many more where that came from.
IN VIEW (Ciaran Creagh)
Searing drama on depression and bereavement starring Caoilfhionn Dunne as a Dublin Guard who fights to recover from guilt and bereavement. Has already played to acclaim at the Dallas International Film Festival. (Thursday, Town Hall, 8.00pm)
A DATE FOR MAD MARY (Darren Thornton)
They could hardly have timed it better. A few days after Thornton’s comic drama — concerning a Louth girl just out of prison — debuted to raves at the prestigious Karlovy Vary Festival it arrives in Galway. Seána Kerslake stars. (Friday Town Hall, 6.00pm)
BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS (Brendan J Byrne)
Over three decades after they ended, the hunger strikes in the Maze remain fiercely controversial. Byrne’s already praised documentary approaches the story from every angle. The great Martin McCann speaks Bobby Sands’s words. (Friday, Town Hall, 8.00pm)
THE SIEGE OF JADOTVILLE (Richie Smyth)
This really is a bit of a coup for the Fleadh. Richie Smyth’s film stars Jamie Dornan in a study of the Irish UN soldiers who, in 1961, encountered such famously savage resistance in the Congo. This is the first public screening of the Netflix production. (Saturday, Town Hall, 8.00pm)
CARDBOARD GANGSTERS (Mark O’Connor)
Mark O’Connor is an unstoppable force. The director of Between the Canals and Stalker returns with a tale of shakers making the best of a hard station in Darndale. John Connors, an O’Connor regular, both writes and stars. (Saturday, Town Hall, 10.00pm)