Screening | Cinegael Buffalo 2013 Hidden Ireland: A celebration of Ireland in documentary film 1927-2012
Presented by riverrun and the Irish Film Institute
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 11 am–9 pm
Will Rogers in Dublin (USA)
1927, b&w, 3 minutes
Comedian Will Rogers stops off in Dublin during a European tour and comments on Irish history, society, and architecture with his signature irreverent humor.
The Irish Riviera (Ireland)
1936, b&w, 15 minutes
This early example of a state-sponsored promotional film made to entice visitors to the sunny south coast briefly visits Cork City and lingers at the remote outposts of Mizen Head, Garnish, the Blasket Islands (then inhabited), and Dunquin.
Produced by the Irish Tourist Association
The Columbans: President Kennedy in Ireland (Ireland)
1963, color, 26 minutes
This is the only professional color film of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in the summer of 1963. Kennedy was the first American president to visit an independent Ireland and his visit was seen both as an endorsement of Ireland’s success and as a national celebration of homecoming. The film follows the President on his tours to Dublin, Wexford, Cork, and Galway, capturing the excitement and joy of a nation from spectators on the rooftops of Wexford to Irish dancers by the beaches in Salthill.
Produced by the Columban Fathers
Introduction by Vincent O’Neill, Irish Classical Theater
Rocky Road to Dublin (Ireland)
1968, b&w, 69 minutes
This is the first independent Irish documentary to critically investigate Irish society and, as the director’s voiceover states, “to reconstruct, in images, the plight of a community which survived nearly 700 years of English occupation and then nearly sank under the weight of its own heroes and clergy.” In this polemical film, made by returned émigré and journalist Peter Lennon, the aspirations of the founders of the Irish State are contrasted with the social and economic malaise afflicting Ireland in the 1960s. According to the film, the Irish exchanged one form of oppression (British rule) for another (the Catholic Church and the weight of tradition). This thesis is illustrated through a series of interviews with Ireland’s patriotic sportsmen, priests, censors, and schoolchildren, who unwittingly convey the truth about a repressed, suppressed, and massively censored Republic.
Directed by Peter Lennon
The Making of “Rocky Road to Dublin” (Ireland)
2004, color, 30 minutes
The production, distribution, and restoration history of Rocky Road to Dublin proved worthy of a documentary itself. This film reunites director Peter Lennon and cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who recount the making of their then-controversial and now-classic documentary.
Directed by Paul Duane
Flea Ceoil (Ireland)
1967, b&w, 23 minutes
Louis Marcus’ film was made in the town of Kilrush in Co. Clare in 1967, at the peak of the 1960s resurgence of traditional Irish music. This intimately observed film records Irish and international folk musicians coming together to listen to and play music, to sing, dance, and drink, and to enjoy the craic.
In Irish with English subtitles.
Directed by Louis Marcus
From Shore to Shore (USA)
1993, color, 57 minutes
From Shore to Shore examines both the continuity and the changes that have affected Irish traditional music since the turn of the last century. Vibrantly mixing historic photographs and film footage with contemporary interviews and musical performances, the film focuses particularly on Irish immigrant musicians and their descendants, tracing the influences of family and community, ethnic identity, and American popular culture on the traditional music played in contemporary New York City.
Directed by Patrick Mullins
Glimpses of Erin (USA)
1934, b&w, 8 minutes
One of the much-loved series of James A. Fitzpatrick’s cinema travelogues, this film follows the standard style of a breezy postcard sent from an exotic location. While featuring some geographic and historical inaccuracies, the film espouses the quality of life in rural Ireland. Much emphasis is placed on quaint rural practices, stone walls, and unhurried lifestyles. A fleeting visit to Dublin shows the hustle and bustle of city life.
Produced by James A. Fitzpatrick
Three Short Films by Ken Wardrop (Ireland):
Undressing My Mother
Directed by Ken Wardrop
His and Hers (Ireland)
2009, color, 80 minutes
Ken Wardrop’s award-winning documentary tells a 90-year love story in 70 different female voices. Presented in order of age, interviewees from the midlands speak with affection, humor, and occasional bemusement about the men in their lives. Luminous and beautifully framed, the film works as a generative collage: what may seem trivial in some of the early interviews acquires depth when echoed in the stories of the older speakers. Each woman offers her own hopes, plans, recollections, or regrets, but it is Wardrop’s considerable achievement that, through deft repetitions in color and composition, the film leaves the viewer with the impression that one has spent 90 years in the presence of a single soul.
Directed by Ken Wardrop