‘Guests of the Nation’ at The National Concert Hall

| August 4, 2011 | Comments (0)

The Irish Film Institute, RTÉ Concert Orchestra and The National Concert Hall have collaborated to give one of the most impressive Irish films from the silent era new life with a specially commissioned score from composer Niall Byrne, to be performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra under its principal conductor David Brophy. The programme will have its world premiere at the National Concert Hall at 8pm on Sunday, 11th September, and will then travel to the prestigious Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center, New York for a performance on Thursday, 22nd September as part of Imagine Ireland: Culture Ireland’s year of Irish arts in America 2011.

Guests of the Nation (1935) is a classic of the Irish silent movie canon. Directed by playwright Denis Johnston, this moving anti-war film is based on Frank O’Connor’s story of friendship between British soldiers and their IRA captors. Featuring early screen performances from Cyril Cusack and Barry Fitzgerald (who would go on to win an Oscar ten years later) as well as a cameo from Frank O’Connor himself, this is a sober and compassionate critique of Republicanism in post-Independence Ireland.

The film is a remarkable record of Irish cinematic, literary and theatrical talent that has influenced many contemporary filmmakers, including Neil Jordan, who has acknowledged the original story’s influence on The Crying Game. At the time of the Guests of the Nation release in 1935, the author Frank O’Connor simply said ‘it tells the story better than literature could ever draw it. It is a piece of film work that the Irish can be really proud of.’

Filmed in Dublin and Wicklow during the summers of 1933 and 1934, Guests of the Nation was made as a silent feature film due to budget constraints despite the increasing dominance of the ‘talkies’ at the box office. Though it arrived at the end of the silent era, it is considered to be one of the most effective and successful Irish silent films. Preserved and restored by the IFI Irish Film Archive, the film now has the original dramatic score it deserves, giving it new life for public performance well into the future.

The programme also features Andrew Legge’s experimental silent film The Lactating Automaton starring Dominic West, with a live orchestral score by Liam Bates and live foley performance.

Tickets are available from the National Concert Hall Box Office 01 417 0000 or www.nch.ie (no booking fee). Tickets €25 (concessions €20). 10% Group Discount. 20% Discount for Friends of The National Concert Hall and 20% Discount for IFI Members.



Category: News

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