Issue 131 – The Irish New Wave

Photos: Stills from 'His & Hers', 'Swansong', 'Zonad', 'Savage', 'The Mill', 'The Man Inside', 'One Hundred Mornings' (left to right, top to bottom).

Guest editor Hugh O’Conor revels in the current abundance of excellent Irish film.

It was a strange feeling. A strange, spooky, unqualifiable feeling. I was on my way to the Galway Film Fleadh to see the premieres of six new Irish features, as well as a whole slew of new Irish shorts, and I was genuinely, palpably excited. What the hell was going on? Maybe it’s just gas, I thought. But I was wrong. It wasn’t gas. For here’s the twist – advance word on the six films in question, as well as the shorts, was really, really good.

Okay – that’s happened before, you say, and they’ve still mostly turned out to be rubbish. But this was different. These filmmakers were part of a new wave of Irish talent and had notched up great work already. We were all waiting to see what they had come up with, and we were pretty sure that this time we weren’t going to be disappointed. When has that ever happened before?

It’s long been an easy target, the Irish film industry, and for much of the time the spirit of weary disappointment in its criticism has been largely justified. But it seems that things really have begun to change. And it may sound strange in the current climate, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that our film industry is in the most exciting state it’s ever been. The record number of Irish films selected to screen in the recent Toronto Film Festival is just one example. That a small film like Eamon, made under the Film Board’s Catalyst Project scheme, can earn a rave review in Variety can only be a good, exciting thing.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 131.


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