The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)
Matt Micucci checks out 2 of the Irish films that screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival – Maurice O’Callaghan’s The Lord’s Burning Rain and Michelle Deignan’s Breaking Ground: the Story of the London Irish Women’s Centre.
Modern independent Irish cinema just keeps shining, and Maurice O’Callaghan’s latest film is one of its most challenging and meditative entries. Shot in a rough and rugged guerrilla filmmaking style, The Lord’s Burning Rain is about the journey of a 16-year-old boy as he rides the new family horse to his house on his own.
During the journey, the young male experiences a series of encounters that help him uncover a side of his father and his struggles for Irish independence he was not aware of.
Far from the comfort zone of the vast majority of films that have dealt with the subject in the past, O’Callaghan’s film is quite demanding and many will find its art-house energy alienating. Nevertheless, anyone willing to let themselves be taken by the film’s poignancy and melancholia – as well as the deeply personal nature of the filmmaker’s vision, will find it quite a unique, poetic and exceptionally gratifying experience.
Breaking Ground: the Story of the London Irish Women’s Centre (Michelle Deignan)
A feminist documentary made with an all-female crew, Breaking Ground is a documentary about the London Irish Women’s Centre, which was founded in the early eighties to represent and support generations of Irish women in London. Despite hints at radicalism, Michelle Deignan’s film is far from being a sort of aggressive manifesto.
Breaking Ground comes across as warm and soft-spoken. Deignan interviews the people who were actively involved in the group and makes full use of the primary source archive footage to offer great intimate insight that helps highlight the importance of such support groups and their effect on society.
As a documentary, it doesn’t come across as the kind of powerful work that takes a stance and it’s highly unlikely that it will start any type of revolt – but then again, that is not the kind of film it wants to be.
Breaking Ground feels more like a simple and sincere tribute to the ordinary people of any kind who rise up against discrimination and represent solidarity by having an impact on their community through kindness, harmony and tolerance.