How It’s New York: Part of the 14th annual Craicfest, a New York festival of Irish movies and music, this segment featured some award-winning shorts (Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals) by Irish and Irish American filmmakers.
How It’s Irish: As we said above, this was a craic off the old block.
Orla O’Sullivan reports on the short films shown at the Craic, finding them “the most uplifting cinema I’ve seen in a long time.” Rent them now!
The films presented well lived up to name of the festival: ‘craic’ which is Irish (‘Gaelic’) slang for ‘fun’. Put another way, “The craic was ninety,” as they say, on March 9.
All six films were delightful in their own way. Two longer films, with very familiar lead actors, served as bookmarks for the other four.
In The Shore, which won an Academy Award for short films (Director Terry George’s remarks here!) Ciaran Hind plays an emigree who didn’t return to Northern Ireland for decades. We learn that this is largely because his closest friend married his former fiancee, an unresolved issue. The resolution invovles a hilarious scene where he and his videotaping daughter are mistaken as spies from the unemployment office investigating the old friend. The moonlighting pal runs for it. The scene almost descends to Waking Ned Divine kitsch, but rights itself just at the end.
Concluding the series Peter Coonan plays a wonderfully sly tramp who subverts a would-be suicide in The Shoe. The reference is to the pivotal scene when Coonan’s character throws from the bridge one of the intended jumper’s shoes. Meanwhile, he has the guy rehearse his life flashing before his eyes. It feels so long before the shoe hits the water, the suggestion is that there’s still lots of ‘tape’ or, as Coonan says, “memories to make”. Not that it’s preachy. The irritating way the bum requests one item of value after another from the suicidal man before it’s “wasted” in the river is very funny.
In between there’s a spoof, Je T’Aime John Wayne. The British protagonist under siege from his mother and sister fancies himself as moody star of French film.
Give Up Yer Aul Sins is an animation created to accompany the audio from a 1960s documentary. In it a schoolgirl gives an unwittingly hilarious account of John The Baptist’s demise.
Next was Useless Dog, which proved Jerry Seinfeld’s theorem (you can make a funny show about nothing). The opening scene so perfectly pairs to music the eponymous dog’s wagging wiggle that it may as well be Chaplin. You know you are in good hands.
And the inventiveness prize goes to Signs, a sweet, whimsical imagining of symbols from traffic signs coming to life. These images alone are used to tell the story of a girl being kidnapped and heroically rescued by her friend.
From one through six: the most uplifting cinema I’ve seen in a long time.