Fairfield’s “Irish in Film” Series Returns, Sept. 28
"The Irish in Film," a free movie series presented by the Irish Studies Committee at Fairfield University, premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 28, with the first of five diverse and critically-acclaimed films that celebrate the richness of Irish culture. The popular series, now in its seventh year, is part of Fairfield’s "Arts and Minds" season of cultural and intellectual programs and is open to the public.
The films will be screened in the Multimedia Room of the University's DiMenna-Nyselius Library on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. Members of the Irish Studies faculty will introduce each film and field questions from the audience following the screening. Light refreshments will be served.
The series begins on Wednesday, Sept. 28, with "Pilgrim Hill" (2013), the award-winning debut film by Gerard Barrett that imparts a compassionate view of a withdrawn, bachelor farmer living in the west of Ireland while caring for his sickly father. Through a number of documentary style sequences in which the main character speaks directly to the camera, the film explores the themes of loneliness, isolation and caregiving, as the protagonist is confronted by a series of crises beyond his control. This special screening has been made possible by the Irish Film Institute and will be introduced by Adjunct Professor John E. Feeney.
On October 5, Dr. Kevin Cassidy, associate professor of politics, will introduce director Neil Jordan’s “Michael Collins” (1996). The historical biopic stars Liam Neeson as the charismatic leader of the Irish Volunteers whose guerilla warfare against the British proved very effective in the struggle for Irish independence. The film also stars Irish actor Stephen Rea as Ned Broy, an Ulster Protestant and government employee, who sympathizes with the Republican cause.
The series continues on October 12 with “August Rush” (2013) a modern, musical fairytale directed by Kirsten Sheridan. The film follows a teenage musical prodigy (Freddie Highmore), who has been separated from his musician parents, (Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Keri Russell), who in turn have been separated from each other. Like Mozart, the boy hears music in his head and believing in its magical powers, sets out on a quest to find his parents in New York City. Dr. Robert Epstein, associate professor of English, will introduce the film.
On October 19, Dr. William Abbott, associate professor of history and co-director of Irish studies, will present the film “71” (2014). Written by Gregory Burke and directed by Yann Demange, this fast-paced British thriller stars Jack O’Connell as Gary, a British soldier from Derbyshire, who is caught behind enemy lines during an ugly riot in west Belfast.
The series concludes on October 26, with “Brooklyn” (2015), the 2016 Academy Award-nominated film for “Best Picture” based on Colm Toibin’s best-selling novel. Directed by Jack Crowley, the film features Saoirse Roan as Eilis Lacey, a young, intelligent immigrant who makes a new life for herself in 1950s Brooklyn with the help of an Irish-American priest from home (Jim Broadbent). The film addresses both the gains and losses of women’s emigration in post-World War II America and will be introduced by Dr. Nels Pearson, professor of English.