IFTA Celebrates 20th Anniversary of ‘The Crying Game’

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) will present the 20th Anniversary Celebration of seminal Irish feature film The Crying Game on Tuesday 4th September in Dublin. The evening welcomes Neil Jordan, The Crying Game’s Oscar winning writer/director, who will participate in an on-stage discussion following the screening. Jordan will look back upon his film that, 20 years later, still remains among cinema’s most iconic motion pictures.

Released in 1992, The Crying Game was much more than an Irish movie about ‘The Troubles’. Jordan’s film dexterously explored themes of politics, sexuality, gender and race, capturing the world’s attention and inspiring feverous debate amongst audiences and critics alike.

Propelled by a shrewd marketing campaign by distributors Miramax (who famously asked movie reviewers and audiences to keep the gender plot a secret, and they did), The Crying Game was a standout hit of the year. The film won 26 international awards including the Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay for Neil Jordan – one of six Academy Award® nominations for the film in 1993, which also picked up honours at BAFTA, PGA and European Film Awards.

Contacting IFTA to send their best wishes to Neil Jordan ahead of Tuesday’s celebration, BOB & HARVEY WEINSTEIN today recalled their time working on the film, saying:

“We will forever feel honored to be associated with The Crying Game. Bringing a film to audiences that artfully explores in equal measure themes of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality is a rarity, and we are happy to see that people are just as moved by the film 20 years later.”

Many contemporary Irish filmmakers believe The Crying Game triggered a change of tide in the indigenous film industry and the film was a ground-breaking production on numerous levels. Speaking about re-visiting The Crying Game in Dublin next week, the film’s writer/director NEIL JORDAN remembers the struggles he faced bringing his controversial story to the screen.

The Crying Game was one of those films nobody wanted to make, because of the disturbing combination of themes – terrorism, politics, race, sexuality, gender. I was asked to have the central character Dil changed to a woman, played by a woman, I was asked to change the ending to make it more of a pleasing fantasy, not to kill the character Jody in the first thirty minutes. The more people objected to the themes, the more it seemed necessary to see on the screen.

‘Stephen Woolley, my producer, managed to put together the funding, with the help of Channel 4 films. And although the budget was miniscule, and led to a bare bones, stripped down level of production, the strength of ideas behind the story drove it forwards and through some strange alchemy, communicated to audiences worldwide.”

The Crying Game sees Irish actor Stephen Rea as Fergus, an IRA volunteer who strikes up an unlikely friendship when a kidnapped British Army soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker) is brought under his watch. When the hostage situation goes horribly wrong Fergus flees to London, seeking out Jody’s lover Dil (Jaye Davidson). The burgeoning relationship between the two Fergus and Dil holds many secrets, and when Fergus is summoned again by his IRA associate Jude (Miranda Richardson), his loyalties are tested with thrilling results.

ÁINE MORIARTY, Chief Executive of the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) said:

‘The Crying Game was a milestone for Irish film. IFTA is delighted to host this special event, exploring an iconic film that broke the rules, divided opinion, and defined the career of its writer/director Neil Jordan. The Academy looks forward to an evening of insightful discussion with Neil, ahead of his trip to the Toronto Film Festival for the premiere of his new film Byzantium.’

The Crying Game  20th Anniversary Celebration takes place on Tuesday, 4th of September 2012 in Dublin’s Light House Cinema.

 

Read Ciara O’Brien’s piece on The Crying Game, which features in our We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film series

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – The Crying Game

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

The Crying Game

(Neil Jordan)

‘… not only keeps the audience guessing amidst twists and turns, but also engages our emotions and makes us care about each character…’

Ciara O’Brien

We in Ireland, we have a lot to be proud of. From our rich food and drink culture, to the proud ownership of the uncoordinated one from One Direction, we have it all. Yet somehow our rich literature and film history is often overlooked. So, being Film Ireland’s 25th anniversary, we have taken it upon ourselves to celebrate what we feel are the very best examples of Irish filmmaking of the last 25 years.

I should confess early on here to being a bit of a Neil Jordan fan-girl. Upon hearing he was filming Byzantine in my hometown recently, I may or may not have taken to driving the long way home every night just in case they needed a battered Opel Corsa for their next scene. For me, there is something both transformative and recognizably Irish about the way in which Jordan presents film. From Anne Rice’s vampiric duo to a recovering alcoholic fisherman regaling his ailing daughter with fairytales, there is something quintessentially Irish about each of his works. Jordan regularly takes an Irish tale and transforms it into something that can translate anywhere. He makes the local tale a universal one. My choice for ‘We Love…’, The Crying Game, is a prime example of this gift.

The Crying Game follows the twists and turns of Fergus, played by the ever-present Stephen Rea. Fergus, an IRA volunteer who inadvertently strikes up an unlikely friendship with captured British Army giant Jody, played by Forest Whitaker. A hostage situation gone horribly wrong in every way causes Fergus to flee, changing his name to ‘Jimmy’ and seeking out Jody’s lover, Dil. Fergus is immediately taken with Dil, and begins seeing her under his new identity, revealing nothing about his IRA past. Unfortunately for Fergus, he is not the only one carrying a secret. There is something about Dil that Fergus doesn’t know, and the reveal is as jarring to the audience as it is to Fergus himself (unless a certain infamous line from Father Ted gave it away).

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Released in 1992 amidst a flurry of controversy, The Crying Game is Irish filmmaking at its finest, engaging both Irish and worldwide audiences. The Crying Game is a rare example of a movie that not only keeps the audience guessing amidst twists and turns, but also engages our emotions and makes us care about each character. This ability to never quite reveal all until the last possible moment is something Jordan has perfected, and we saw him utilize it more recently in Ondine. Jordan is a master at having his audience engaged in one story for 90 minutes, only to later reveal that the story is about something else entirely. Somehow, we are positioned alongside our protagonist, Fergus and by ensuring our identification with him, the twist manages to never alienate the audience. We follow Fergus throughout his struggles, and we experience as much of his existential crisis as possible. For 108 minutes, we are Fergus.

The Crying Game deserves to be heralded as one of the finest Irish films of the last 25 years. It is the kind of film that leaves moviegoers talking amongst themselves for days. This, for me, is what cinema is all about, and what positions Neil Jordan in my list of favorite directors and writers.

I’ll leave you with the infamous words:
‘Careful now’.

Ciara O’Brien

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