Irish Film Review: Dublin OldSchool

DIR: Dave Tynan • WRI: Emmet Kirwan, Dave Tynan • PRO: Michael Donnelly, Dave Leahy • DOP: Jj Rolfe • ED: John O’Connor • MUS: Gareth Averill • DES: Mark Kelly • CAST: Emmet Kirwan, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Seána Kerslake

Dublin OldSchool is an evocative, poetic film set in modern-day Dublin. As the name suggests, it’s dripping in nostalgia; there’s stylistic nods to ’90s/Naughties classics Trainspotting and Disco Pigs that will have you sucking on your soother necklace.

Jason (Emmet Kirwan), a charismatic, wannabe DJ, has two conflicting goals for his bank holiday weekend: to man the decks and spend each waking moment in a chemical-induced haze. With a hearty band of sessioners in tow, and a rake of cans, the party begins. Jason flits from venue to venue, dodging the pigs, clashing with his ex, crashing gaff parties, raving in Wicklow – but the revelries are hindered when Jason encounters his brother. Daniel, a homeless heroin addict, forces Jason to reevaluate his past.

The theatrical origins of the story are evident in the weighty dialogue/lyrical voiceover, and elevated with a steady beat of trance and striking visuals. While this delivers the distinct style, not all supporting characters can handle the verbosity. The leads’ performances are outstanding, however. Although a little too old for that particular peer group, Emmet brings believability and charisma to Jason. This makes his terrible choices a lot easier to squirm through. While Ian Lloyd Anderson, who plays Daniel, is just perfect.

If you haven’t watched the short film Heartbreak, do so now. Director Dave Tynan brings that same well of emotional depth and empathy to all of his characters. Interestingly enough, Tynan also walks the tentative line of neither glamourising drug use, nor demonising it. The negative repercussions are there, but the parties also look like excellent craic. Meanwhile, cinematographer JJ Rolfe adds to the shifting atmosphere with his aesthetics. Depending on which scenes you’re watching, Dublin can look like Baltimore a la The Wire, or an ad for The Gathering.

Dublin OldSchool has the potential to be one of those classic films people return to. The duality is there across the board. It’s fun and heavy; fast and slow; a comedy and a commentary – but mostly, this is something best experienced on a big screen.

Gemma Creagh

16 (See IFCO for details)

95 minutes
Dublin OldSchool is released 29th June 2018

 

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Interview: Dave Tynan, writer/director of ‘The Cherishing’

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Steve Gunn talked to Dave Tynan about his short film The Cherishing, which is screening at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival as part of After ’16, a once-off shorts initiative to commemorate, celebrate and ruminate on 1916.

Commissioned by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, nine short films went into production in the summer of 2015. ADIFF is hosting the World Premieres of these nine new films.

 

Last year the Film Board said that instead of the usual short film funding scheme, they invited filmmakers to give their response to 1916.

Signatures is the normal scheme and last year’s signatures was After ’16 – it happened really fast. Obviously, I didn’t have Rising scripts lying about. The brief came out in February 2015. I went to Chapters and bought a lot of books on the subject to set things in motion. The fact that I didn’t know that much about the Rising was never going to stop me putting in for the scheme. You’ve got to make things. You are only as good as your momentum.

 

So you went off and read about 1916, wrote a script and then sent it to the Film Board, who gave you the green light. And you went and shot it.

That was basically within a year.

 

Tell us a bit about your take on the Rising.

It’s a story that hasn’t been told before. The idea for the film came from my research. I came across something that mentioned that the local sweet shops were the first to be looted when the Rising started – there was a lot of looting. I thought that was interesting.

There is a great book called Dublin Tenement Life by Kevin C. Kearns. It’s the most interesting non-fiction book I have read. It’s not an academic book. It’s interviews with survivors of the old Dublin tenements. Reading where people came from to where the Rising came into their lives was fascinating. These were hard times. Your average family might have 10 people in a room the size of a small bedroom. They were already at war. The husband could well be away fighting for the Brits in the Somme or wherever – it was a better paying job than working on the docks. Every mother lost at least one child. Mothers and kids were just left there to rot. One in three people in Dublin lived in a tenement. They became the subject of the film.

In the film, there’s a close-up of a sheep’s head boiling in a pot that I’m really happy we got in this film because that is what the diet was – dripping, stale bread and the like. So if you are used to all of that, of course, you go for the sweets.

 

It’s almost like a glorious coincidence in your life that your interest in history has met with an opportunity in film.

And very quickly because that script got written at the end of February last year. That is the quickest turnaround I’ve ever had. My previous short Rockmount took 3 years to put together from thinking about to making.

We’ve tried not to repeat ourselves from previous work. There’s not much dialogue in it. It’s trying to tell pictures. It’s made for cinemas.

 

 

The Cherishing screens as part of the  IFB After ’16 Shorts at the Light House Cinema, Sunday 21st February 2016 at 3:30PM

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The 2016 Audi Dublin International Film Festival takes place 18th and 28th February 2016. 

Click here for a preview of Irish Film at ADIFF 2016

Click here for all films

 

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