‘Barbaric Genius’ now on VOD and DVD

barbaric

Paul Duane’s  feature documentary Barbaric Genius is now available to buy worldwide on DVD and VOD at the film’s website, www.barbaricgenius.com.

The Grierson-nominated documentary tells the remarkable story of London Irishman John Healy and his journey from alcoholic and homeless criminal to chess prodigy and bestselling author.

Barbaric Genius was produced by Duane and Mary Carson for Screenworks with funding from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and RTÉ. It is being distributed by Wildcard Distribution.

 

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Summer Screenings at The Model Cinema Sligo

(Barbaric Genius)

The final Summer screenings will take place at The Model Cinema, Sligo from June 13th to July 8th with a programme of outstanding cinematic experiences, jam-packed with Oscar winners, touching documentaries, cult thrillers and visually stunning slices of world cinema.

On Sunday June 17th and 24th, The Model will be treating film lovers to a free screening of the Oscar winning The Shore, recipient of the 2012 Academy Award for the Best Live-Action Short Film. A simultaneously moving and hilarious story of two boyhood best friends, Joe (Ciarán Hinds) and Paddy (Conleth Hill), the film details a friendship divided by years of misunderstanding and shattered by conflict in Northern Ireland.

Moonrise Kingdom opened this year’s Cannnes Film Festival and is Wes Anderson’s seventh feature and his return to live-action, following Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Widely considered the director’s definitive film to date, it is warm and witty and set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960’s. The story follows two troubled 12-year olds, who fall in love and run away together, sparking a manhunt involving his scoutmaster (Edward Norton), parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), local law enforcement (Bruce Willis), and another exceptional performance from Tilda Swinton as the social services authority.

Barbaric Genius, Paul Duane’s stimulating documentary on award winning author, chess prodigy and somewhat forgotten, unpredictable and elusive John Healy can be described as a sensitive yet enthralling portrait of a man born in London to Sligo parents. The film provides an overview of the crucial lowlights of The Grass Arena, Healy’s breakthrough autobiography published in 1988 and universally acknowledged as a masterpiece. An exclusive Q&A with director, Paul Duane will take place after the 6.15pm screening on Sunday 24 June.

Martin Sheen makes a welcome return to the big screen, this time in a film written and directed by his own son, Emilio Estevez.  The Way will screen on Friday June 15 at 8.15pm. With a wonderful cast this is the story of the famous pilgrimage walk on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela.  Also on the night will be a raffle to raise funds for the Dip in the Nip Charity. On June 24th, there will be four dips taking place around the country including Sligo. The money raised this year will benefit the Sligo Hospital Oncology Unit Trust, Mid- West Cancer Foundation, Mercy University Foundation and Drogheda Cancer Education & Research Trust.

The Model Cinema will be taking a brief hiatus for the summer from July 8th and will re-open in September.

Full cinema listings are available at www.themodel.ie

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Cinema Review: Barbaric Genius – Film of the Week

DIR: Paul Duane • PRO: Paul Duane, Mary Carson  ED: Ian de Brí, Colm O’Brien • CAST: Frank Boyle, Dick Fitzgerald,  John Healy

Bloody Hell. That’s quite a documentary to watch when you are still recovering from the night before.

John Healy, whose parents were from Sligo, was a homeless alcoholic living in London who only stopped drinking when he was introduced to chess in prison by his cell mate, a notorious burgler nicknamed ‘The Brighton Fox’. He went on to play chess to international level before writing an award-winning autobiography, The Grass Arena ,which went out of print for a number years due to him threatening to kill his publisher.

Now that’s an interesting subject for a documentary. After the screening I went out and bought The Grass Arena. I can’t really critique the filmmaking aspect of this documentary as from about two minutes in I was glued to it. I guess when you pick such a fascinating person to make a documentary on you are most of the way there.

The ‘row’ he had with is publisher, almost 20 years on, is water under the bridge and the publisher appears on camera to give an unintentionally hilarious recollection of events containing quite possibly the highest number of contradictions in the fewest words spoken.

Director Paul Duane and Healy himself took part in a Q&A at JDIFF 2011 chaired by Dr Harvey O’Brien of UCD. Healy recalled that when The Grass Arena was published he thought he was getting away from the psychopaths that he was hanging around with when he was drinking, only to discover that the real psychopaths were in the middle class, who he discovered, ‘don’t like listening to problems unless they are their own’.

Paul Duane described Healy as vulnerable and open and the two became friends over the long period of filming. Norman Brock, who wrote the screenplay for Bronson, and does some of the voiceover on Barbaric Genius is scripting another adaptation of the book, the first one made in 1992 was directed by Gilles McKinnon and starred Mark Rylance as Healy.

Talking about alcoholism and the use of the term ‘wino’, Healy said there are many types of alcoholic, those in the drawing room, those in the pub, and the ‘wino’ ‘who would attack another human being if it furthered them to drink’. When he discovered chess he said that’ drink dropped out of his mind’ and that he didn’t give up the drink, drink gave up him.

When Paul Duane was asked why he made the documentary he said he wondered ‘why is this man being ignored for so long, why is he being surpressed?’, after watching Barbaric Genius I was thinking the same thing myself.

Gordon Gaffney

Barbaric Genius is released on 25th May 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGfrAzs5rms

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‘Barbaric Genius’ doc on the life of John Healy, writer of ‘The Grass Arena’, released exclusively at the IFI May 25-29

 

Barbaric Genius a new documentary on the life of John Healy, writer of ‘The Grass Arena’ is released exclusively at the IFI from 25th-29th May 2012.

Paul Duane’s feature documentary Barbaric Genius tells the story of John Healy – wino, chess prodigy, author of a classic memoir, and forgotten man. Once a media darling for his charisma and aura of violence, he’s spent the past twenty years living in extraordinary isolation, embittered and angry.

Healy was born into a London-Irish family during World War 2. Hounded by violence at home and on the streets, he took refuge in drink and spent the ’60s as a street wino and a mugger. Then, learning to play chess in jail, he became aware of his own potential.

Sobering up, he went on the tournament chess circuit and caused controversy and sensation not only with his unbelievable ability, but also his volatile and sometimes belligerent personality.

As he began to realise his own formidable intelligence, he entered the world of literature with his 1989 memoir, The Grass Arena, and became a celebrity – and that’s when things started to go wrong…

Filmmaker Paul Duane says: ‘I had been a fan of the book on its initial publication, and had tried to buy the film rights in 1991. When John Healy re-surfaced after fifteen years of total obscurity, he agreed to take part in a film that would try to explain how he managed to go from the gutters of Camden to Hollywood, then back again, and what happened? How did he destroy his career, why were his books removed from the shops and destroyed?.’

This is a story that encompasses almost every aspect of the human spirit, from violent intoxication to transcendent spirituality. It also provides a remarkable picture of the hidden tensions in British life around class, privilege and education.

Barbaric Genius is presented by Screenworks in association with the Irish Film Board/ Bord Scannán na hÉireann and RTÉ . Its cinema release has been supported by Bord Scannán na hÉireann.

John Healy and Paul Duane will attend the opening night screening at 19.20 and will take part in a post-screening Q+A session.

Tickets for this limited run are available now at the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or www.ifi.ie

Read Gordon Gaffney’s review of Barbaric Genius from JDIFF 2011 here 

 

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JDIFF: John Healy – 'Barbaric Genius'

john-healy

DIR: Paul Duane PRO: Paul Duane and Mary Carson ED: Ian de Brí and Colm O’Brien

Light House Cinema, Smithfield, Saturday 19th February 2pm

Bloody Hell. That’s quite a documentary to watch when you are still recovering from the night before.

John Healy, whose parents were from Sligo, was a homeless alcoholic living in London who only stopped drinking when he was introduced to chess in prison by his cell mate, a notorious burgler nicknamed ‘The Brighton Fox’. He went on to play chess to international level before writing an award-winning autobiography, ‘The Grass Arena’ ,which went out of print for a number years due to him threatening to kill his publisher.

Now that’s an interesting subject for a documentary. After the screening I went out and bought ‘The Grass Arena’. I can’t really critique the filmmaking aspect of this documentary as from about two minutes in I was glued to it. I guess when you pick such a fascinating person to make a documentary on you are most of the way there.

The ‘row’ he had with is publisher, almost 20 years on, is water under the bridge and the publisher appears on camera to give an unintentionally hilarious recollection of events containing quite possibly the highest number of contradictions in the fewest words spoken.

Director Paul Duane and Healy himself took part in a Q&A chaired by Dr Harvey O’Brien of UCD. Healy recalled that when ‘The Grass Arena’ was published he thought he was getting away from the psychopaths that he was hanging around with when he was drinking, only to discover that the real psychopaths were in the middle class, who he discovered, ‘don’t like listening to problems unless they are their own’.

Paul Duane described Healy as vulnerable and open and the two became friends over the long period of filming. Norman Brock, who wrote the screenplay for ‘Bronson’, and does some of the voiceover on ‘Barbaric Genius’ is scripting another adaptation of the book, the first one made in 1992 was directed by Gilles McKinnon and starred Mark Rylance as Healy.

Talking about alcoholism and the use of the term ‘wino’, Healy said there are many types of alcoholic, those in the drawing room, those in the pub, and the ‘wino’ ‘who would attack another human being if it furthered them to drink’. When he discovered chess he said that’ drink dropped out of his mind’ and that he didn’t give up the drink, drink gave up him.

When Paul Duane was asked why he made the documentary he said he wondered ‘why is this man being ignored for so long, why is he being surpressed?’, after watching ‘Barbaric Genius’ I was thinking the same thing myself.

Gordon Gaffney

‘The First Movie’ Report

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