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Essential Cinema


November 21 - December 19, 2013
Thursday Nights at 7:30 PM

AFS at the Marchesa (6226 Middle Fiskville Rd)

$8 General Admission
$5 for AFS Make and Watch members // Students with valid ID
Free admission for AFS Love and Premiere members

For many American viewers, knowledge of the Irish cinema that began emerging in the 1980s is restricted to the works of Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. Sheridan’s films as a director and producer – MY LEFT FOOT, THE FIELD, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE BOXER, SOME MOTHER’S SON, BLOODY SUNDAY, IN AMERICA – are rooted in a traditional and rather conservative view of Ireland and Irish themes which in no way diminishes their power. He is also widely known as the director most closely associated with the early career of Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis, widely considered the greatest film thespian of his generation. By contrast, Jordan’s Irish films – THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, THE CRYING GAME, MICHAEL COLLINS, THE BUTCHER BOY, BREAKFAST ON PLUTO, ONDINE – come out of a more (post)modernist tradition (he was in fact a novelist before moving into cinema) that trades in the revision, subversion, deconstruction, and outright “queering” of traditional notions of Ireland and “Irishness.” Despite their differences, both directors have demonstrated an ability to couch their Irish themes in forms that have international appeal and translate easily to American audiences, earning Jordan an Academy Award and the underappreciated Sheridan six Oscar nominations. Subsequently, they have each carved out second careers as mainstream directors of Hollywood fare.

This Essential Cinema series presents a selection of contemporary Irish films that have no such worldly aspirations, including Jordan’s debut ANGEL (1982), the first film financed by the nascent Irish Film Board, created to promote an indigenous national cinema. The films featured demonstrate that the brilliant crossover hits of Jordan and Sheridan grew out of an indigenous national cinema that was forged in Ireland beginning in the 1980s which took a Latin American-style “Third Cinema” as its model. Rather than being aimed at international arthouse audiences, such films were often state-funded and were produced with only Irish audiences in mind, addressing distinctly Irish themes, social issues, and national concerns. As a result, too little truly authentic “Irish cinema” has been seen in American cinemas or released on home video formats. The five films in this series will hopefully play a minor role in correcting this deficiency. Like the great cinemas of other nations, Irish films are beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, and their stories are imbued with universal themes of love, war, passion, loss, and a unique sense of time and place. As the Irish have widely been considered the best writers within the English language tradition and have provided some of our greatest screen actors, film lovers would be remiss in overlooking the inherent mastery of cinematic storytelling by the Irish on their own terms. – Philip Fagan, Austin Community College RTF Department, Guest Curator

Thursday, November 21, 7:30 PM

A willful young woman, very much an outsider within a repressive rural Protestant community in colonial Ireland, enters into a soulful if nontraditional marriage with two brothers who are equally as iconoclastic in their flouting of local customs and traditional norms.  More Info & Tickets>>

Thursday, December 5, 7:30 PM 

A controversial film that deals head-on with a notorious Loyalist group who preyed on the Catholic community of Belfast during “The Troubles” of the 1970s. More Info & Tickets>>

Thursday, December 12, 7:30 PM

Seemingly the only two people in Dublin not greeting the Pope on the day of his historic visit in 1978, two young punks forge an alliance, fall in love and start a band.

Second Feature:
IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE is a candid portrait and artistic overview of Ireland’s “punk poet laureate” that traces the singer-songwriter’s life from his childhood in Ireland, through his troubled teenage years in London, on into his explosion on the punk music scene fronting the Pogues and beyond.
More Info & Tickets>>

Thursday, December 19, 7:30 PM

An atmospheric film noir centered around a moody performance by legendary Irish actor Stephen Rea, who portrays a Northern Ireland musician increasingly drawn into a mysterious and violent underworld after witnessing two murders.
More Info & Tickets>>