In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here is a film festival in celebration of the Irish people:
Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959, dir. Robert Stevenson)
Starring Sean Connery
A very overlooked Disney film that is absolutely amazing! Crazed ol’ Darby O’Gill claims to have seen and even stolen the gold of the Leprechauns. His daughter is embarrassed by his reputation as a crazy drunk. That is, until the day she sees the Leprechauns too. I remember loving this film as a child and being terrified out of my mind when the evil banshee makes her appearance. Darby O’Gill is notable for being the film that brought young Sean Connery to the attention of producer Robert Broccoli, who was having a difficult time of casting the role of James Bond in Dr. No.
In the Name of the Father (1993, dir. Jim Sheridan)
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Emma Thompson
Based on the true story of an thief in Northern Ireland who is wrongly accused of being part of an IRA bombing of a London pub. Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis) and his friends are beaten into confessions and spend the next 15 years in prison, while on the outside, Gerry’s father (Postlethwaite) with their lawyer (Thompson) fight vigorously to free him. This is one of the great pieces of contemporary Irish cinema by one of the greatest Irish directors there has ever been.
The Magdalene Sisters (2002, dir. Peter Mullan)
Starring Anne-Marie Duff, Nora Jane Noone, Dorothy Duff
For almost 200 years, the Catholic Church ran the Magdalene Asylums throughout Ireland, where young women who had had sex out of wedlock, were working as prostitutes, or simply victims of rape were sent because they were “unclean”. This film focuses on three teenaged girls sent to one of these places where they are forced into slave labor through laundry work, one hundred percent of the profit being kept by the nuns that run the facility. This a heartbreaking film about the dehumanizing being done by religious institutions to people who already brutally victimized.
Breakfast on Pluto (2005, dir. Neil Jordan)
Starring Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson
This wonderful modern fairy tale, tells the story of Kitten Braden (Murphy), a young cross-dressing Irishman who goes on a picaresque journey through his homeland and onto London in a quest to find his long lost mother. This is one of the greatest achievements of prolific director Jordan, whose name is synonymous with Irish film. The picture touts a brilliant soundtrack of period music and some amazing visuals. Cillian Murphy is amazing and completely becomes his character, one of those few actors I do forget is in there when he is performing.
I Sell the Dead (2008, dir. Glenn McQuaid)
Starring Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman, Larry Fessenden, Angus Scrimm
A very overlooked picture that is both a comedy and mix of horror and sci-fi all wrapped up in an Irish package. Dominic Monaghan is a grave robber in the late 19th century whose partner finds a body they believe is a circus freak’s. To the modern audience we recognize it as an space alien. The alien body has the effect of resurrecting the dead and soon there are reports of zombies plaguing the countryside. This is not just a horror-comedy in name only, but a legitimately funny film that shows a real love for classic cult horror like Evil Dead.