Lynn Larkin checked in on the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival’s selection of  Irish short films.

Friday the 14th was all SHORT of romantic. Valentine’s day started with a selection of short films at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and I was romanced by not one, but eight fantastic Irish short films. Each short film had a wonderful scene of something much bigger than the tiny clip-it we were lucky to catch a glimpse of. They all left me intrigued and longing for more, perhaps a feature film in the making? Playing to a full house in the Light House cinema, filled with a sense of anticipation, the lights dimmed and a soft russell of popcorn munching began. Our Valentine’s treat was a quick romp with comedy and drama filled with a foray of emotion.


Breakfast Wine
Director: Ian Fitzgibbon
Writer: Kevin Barry
Running Time: 11 minutes
Starring Ruth Bradley, Dylan Moran and David Pearse. A young woman makes an appearance into a country town pub much to the pleasant surprise of two alcoholics who are solely responsible for keeping the small bar running. Boozing and chatting the night away revels her past is coloured with lifetime of experiences. This short feels like it was taken from a feature film and placed into the line-up. It’s an interesting place to start and finish a short and it definitely makes you wonder what happened next?

Director: Mairtín de Barra
Writer: Matthew Roche
Running Time: 13 minutes
Atrophy examines the sacrifices made in the name of development, and the effect they have upon people. A tale of old versus new, loss, friendship and an old farmer and his dog. I have to admit I had a lump in my throat while watching this film, meaning it was successful in tackling the topic at hand. This little film will pull at your heart strings and make you want to call your granddad more often, which makes things a little difficult for me, considering, they’re both dead.

Director: Louise Ni Fhiannachta
Writer: Anton Beag Ó Colla
Running Time: 11 minutes
The First Holy Communion is fast approaching but as an atheist, eight-year-old Rúbaí refuses to be a part of it. Rúbaí faces emotional blackmail, religious and philosophical debate and out and out intolerance in today’s supposedly diverse and modern Ireland. Rúbaí is a super funny Irish short that deals with some real drama. Oh to be an eight-year-old atheist fuelled with wit and knowledge and a blunt tongue. I really enjoyed this film. I don’t know what else to say, other then go see this film, you’ll love it.

Director: Cathy Brady
Writer: Cathy Brady, Sarah Woolner
Running Time: 20 minutes
Mary wakes up on the sofa with a banging headache. Her morning routine is interrupted by a persistent reporter. She is a broken lost soul that has suffered a devastating life tragedy. But this morning is the morning she decides to deal with what has happened. Morning is a truly gripping drama. Brady has managed to give a sneak peek into a world no one would ever wish to experience.

Uisce Beatha
Director: Shaun O’Connor
Writer: Tadhg Hickey
Running Time: 8 minutes
Set in 1912, Uisce Beatha is the true story of Tom, a young man who leaves his home in rural Ireland to cross the ocean on the ill-fated Titanic. But a night of celebration beforehand results in a twist that will affect Tom’s fate drastically. Does everything in life happen for a reason?

The Ledge End of Phil (From Accounting)
Writer-director: Paul Ó Muiris
Running Time: 6 minutes
An animation about a man called Phil who is forced to take a look at the life that he has been ignoring and neglected for so long. With nowhere left to turn he has no choice but to take a giant leap into the unknown. It’s fly or die.

Writer-directors: Tom Sullivan, Feidlim Cannon
Running Time: 15 minutes
A heartfelt story about a mechanic fed up with what life has dealt him but finds consolation and peace in ageing gracefully.

4 Bhanríon
Director: Vittoria Colonna
Writers: Vittoria Colonna, Eoin Rogers
Running Time: 15 minutes
4 Bhanríon (4 Queens) is a black comedy about four elderly sisters who play a game of poker to decide who will take care of their elderly mother. Proving that blood isn’t always necessarily thicker than water, not while one sister might get stuck looking after their wheelchair-ridden mother. However, sometimes life doesn’t work out the way it’s planned.


A couple of the short films that stood out for me were Louise Ni Fhiannachta’s Rúbaí and Mairtín de Barra’s Atrophy.

Rúbaí had an exceedingly good storyline entwined with some comedy and heartfelt drama. The acting was fantastic and the dialogue was very well thought-out. A definite must see for all age groups.

Mairtín de Barra’s Atrophy storyline is very current and one that I’m sure will resonate with a lot of people. The acting from Pat Deery is so expressive and endearing, proving the strength and talent of Deerly’s ability as an actor. De Barra made a fantastic choice in casting him.  The set captures the life of the old man perfectly. Everything about this short film was very well executed.  Another short to add to the list of must sees.

All in all it’s apparent that the Irish film industry is safe in the hands of the new and emerging Irish talent that are storming through the film festival circuits. And of course, they made my Valentine’s super pleasant and even managed to give my heart a little flutter.


Click here for further coverage from the 12th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

JDIFF’s selection of  Irish shorts screened on Friday, 14th February 2014 as part of the 12th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (13 – 23 February 2014).