In this Film Ireland podcast, Gemma Creagh talks to Alan Gilsenan, Director of Ghosts of Baggotonia.

Ghosts of Baggotonia is a haunting and visually captivating film-poem exploring the literary and other ghosts of the bohemian quarter bordering Dublin’s Baggot Street during the mid-20th century.  “Baggotonia” as it has become known – was both a permeable geographic area and a cultural movement, populated by writers, artists and other intellectuals living an anarchic life at odds with the over-arching drabness and the conservative mores of the time.

Inspired by a rare collection of photographs from artist Nevill Johnson, the film is shot in starkly beautiful Leica monotone and draws upon writings from the period, including Patrick Kavanagh, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, Blanaid Salkeld, John Montague, Eavan Boland, Paul Durcan, Ethna McCarthy, Thomas Kinsella amongst many others.

This stunning film is also an act of psycho-geography as well as a personal meditation on Alan Gilsenan’s childhood, where he grew up amidst the ghosts on the mythical Raglan Road. His own poetic script frames the film – voiced by Gilsenan himself and Camille O’Sullivan – and features a remarkable original soundtrack from composer Brian Crosby (formerly of Juniper, The Cake Sale & Bell XI).

Ghosts of Baggotonia is in cinemas from 9th December 2022.

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