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On the 17th of March all around the world people celebrate St Patrick’s Day. At Beamafilm, we have handpicked a few great films that highlight Ireland, its people and its contribution to the history books.
The day commemorates the patron saint of Ireland, and is traditionally celebrated by wearing green attire, with parades and revelries in towns and pubs around the world.
There is no film that better captures the heart and soul of Ireland than Alex Fegan’s The Irish Pub. The film is a celebration of one of the country’s oldest social institutions and the charismatic people who run them. These pubs have often been in the characters’ families for generations, so there is a great sense of warmth and fondness as they reminisce about childhood stories and local tall tales. Interwoven in the film is the true essence of classic Irish culture and nostalgia. The Irish Pub is a beautiful, laid-back documentary that provides a snapshot of a fading way of life.
Acclaimed director Ken Loach has established himself in the pantheon of great European directors; with his most recent film Jimmy’s Hall no exception to his expansive list of ‘Kitchen Sink‘ dramas. Set in 1932 Ireland, 10 years after the countries Civil War, Jimmy Gralton returns home to County Leitrim to help his mother run the family farm. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens. Jimmy looks to re-open the dance hall, a young people’s centre, free and open to all, for locals to learn, to argue, to dream…but above all to dance and have fun. Success comes quickly, but the growing influence of his radical ideas are not to the taste of everyone in the village. With a great Irish cast and the spectacular imagery of Ireland’s rolling hills and rustic Celtic townships, Jimmy’s Hall is an affectionate realist portrait of individuals fighting against state and religious oppression.
Nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2013, and 2014 Irish Film and Television Award winner for Best Feature Documentary, The Summit is a harrowing story of survival on the most dangerous mountain on earth. In August 2008, 22 climbers from several international expeditions converged on High Camp of K2, the last stop before the summit. 48 hours later, eleven had been killed or simply vanished. Ger McDonnell was part of the group, an Irish mountaineer and engineer: the first Irishman to reach the summit of this perilous mountain. Suffering from the extreme and fearsome power of nature, McDonnell is faced with a moral dilemma after finding three climbers tangled and struggling in K2’s perilous “death zone”. His choice to help them descend goes against the climber’s code and puts his own safety at risk. Director Nick Ryan uses key pieces of archival footage as well as dramatic re-enactments to portray McDonnell’s story on the mountain, and the worst single accident in the history of K2 mountaineering.
Finally, a great film that features the picturesque Irish countryside and its proud racing heritage is Road, narrated by cinema icon and Ireland’s own Liam Neeson. Only a few circuits remain that accommodate for the sport of Motorcycle Road Racing, including Ireland and the Isle of Man. The film follows two sets of brothers from Northern Ireland, who have dominated road racing for over thirty years. They share terrible, exciting and tragic stories that rattle the spine, all in an effort to be the best and continue their family legacy.
Each year, in February, the Dublin International Film Festival takes place. It is the largest film festival in Ireland and presents around 120 films from around the globe. The festival is an important event for the cinema of Ireland, showcasing the best of their local talent as well as securing the crème de la crème of international cinema. During its time, the festival has acknowledged and screened works from visionaries such as Paolo Sorrentino, Yorgos Lanthimos, Paweł Pawlikowski and Brett Morgen. In past years, Beamafilm has been pleased to showcase a few films that were selected in and out of the official competition. These include Wim Wenders’ The Salt of the Earth, which received an Audience Award in 2015 and Good Ol’ Freda, which was part of the 2014 Programme.
Make sure you check out these great films portraying Ireland’s rich history and culture, and representing some of their great cinematic achievements. Celebrate St Patrick’s Day on Thursday with a pint of Guinness and a fabulous film from Beamafilm.