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9th irish film festival australia: gems from the emerald isle

The huge global demand for Irish storytelling, from The Banshees of Inisherin to Derry Girls, demonstrates the power of local stories with universal themes.

With 16 films, including 15 Australian Premieres, the 9th Irish Film Festival Australia showcases engaging dramas, compelling documentaries and blarney comedy.

Among the highlights this year is opening night premiere, LAKELANDS, an exploration of masculinity, loneliness and loss, and the role of sport in rural communities.

When local football leading light Cian is beaten up outside a nightclub, he starts experiencing headaches, mood swings and general disease. Diagnosed with concussion and ordered to rest for up to three months, it has a major impact on his self esteem, not only not being able to play football but to help his father on the family farm.

At the same time, a local girl, Grace, returns home after a five year absence to see her ailing father. The two form a friendship, a spark short of romance, but in effect a much stronger relationship through sharing of personal feelings.

LAKELANDS is one of those mature “the whole is much more than the sum of its parts” movies, bringing character, themes, and narrative into sharp focus through a number of plot prisms. Incidents and patterns echo off each other –

familial foundations, community, male attitude to medical advice, and a whole lot more is explained in this marvellously realised film.

Champion directing duo, Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney also wrote the screenplay and have cast an excellent ensemble.

Eanna Hardwick is Cian, Danielle Galligan as Grace, Lorcan Cranitch as Cian’s dad and Dara Devaney as the local cop are all in splendid form.

Lorcan Cranitch pops up in the heart warming shaggy dog story, Róise & Frank, in which a widow believes that a stray dog is inhabited by the spirit of her late husband.

Róise & Frank, is a gentle Gaelic-language story set in a small coastal village. Full of characters we care about, even those who do dastardly selfish and vengeful acts, Writer/Directors Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy have fleshed out a fable to help cope with grief, to understand its myriad forms, processes and outcomes.

Deliciously played by Brid Ni Neachtain, Róise is a force to be reckoned with, as is the pooch that may well be the canine reincarnation of the love of her life.

The dog has a mostly beneficial influence on other members of the community, not the least being a shy young chap who wants to be part of the local hurling team.

Oscar and BAFTA winning short film, An Irish Goodbye explores themes of tradition, loss and family, whilst also addressing the issue of caring for someone with special needs. The self-deprecating Northern Irish gallows humour adds lightness to the story that could drenched in despair.

Known by many as the birthplace of Pierce Brosnan, Navan takes centre stage in the documentary, Pray for Our Sinners, telling the story of the Irish campaigners who took on brutal church abuse of young pregnant women and school children in the Catholic education system.

It’s a “lest we forget” document of the evils perpetrated under the guise of spiritual guidance.

FESTIVAL DETAILS

When:

Online across Australia: October 5th – 15th

Where:

Sydney | 5-8 Oct | Dendy Cinema, Newtown

Tickets:

Ticket sales: www.irishfilmfestival.com.au

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