How It’s New York: This 1922 film is partly set in New York, where the Irish emigrant protagonists make their new home in Amerikay; and what is more New York than that? The film has recently been acquired by the IFI Irish Film Archive from the Film Department of the Museum of Modern Art, which screened it in New York earlier this year, as part of Gabriel Byrne’s Revisiting the Quiet Man series (check out our report on that here, and you can listen to Gabriel talking about it here).

How It’s Irish: Shane and Moyna must depart dear old Lisdoonvarna before starting afresh in New York. Needless to say, hijinks ensue. This screening took place as part of the 56th Corona Cork Film Festival, and the film is a recent addition to the Irish Film Institute’s Archive, which acquires, preserves and makes available Ireland’s moving image heritage.

Lucy Healy-Kelly reports on a fascinating silent film she caught in Cork:

For all that Come On Over is as fake-Irish-twee as a bowl of leprechauns, it does this knowingly, and what it has in heart and spirit more than make up for it.

Come On Over! charts the tale of Moyna Killea, left behind in Ireland when her sweetheart emigrates to the U.S. Poor Moyna pines away but despite her laments of Shane darlin’, you’re makin’ me your widdy before you make me your wife!” she is resolute in her belief of Shane’s devotion.
 Things become a little muddled along the way, but by the time the narrative shifts from Ireland to New York, Irish eyes start smiling again, as she discovers that he has not forgotten their love.

It’s very funny, and intentionally so. The language of the intertitles is unabashedly Oirish, featuring such choice dialogue as I’m a black-hearted murtherer for lavin’ me mother all by her lone these many years. I ought to take the first boat goin’ that way!”. Joyousness is best represented by people urgently requiring a door laid on the floor to dance on, and they hoist up their skirts and hop and jig with cheery abandon (as indeed do all Irish people) should the situation demand it. For all that Come On Over is as fake-Irish-twee as a bowl of leprechauns, it does so knowingly, and what it has in heart and spirit more than make up for it. With whole new generations of Shanes and Moynas continuing to leave Irish shores, it is no bad thing to be reminded of our privilege to be emigrants in these days of low cost airlines – as someone with draws on both sides of the Atlantic, I for one am going to try to grumble less the next time Aer Lingus charge me for my inflight drink.

Cork’s Triskel Arts Center has been an annual venue for the Film Festival for many years, but recent refurbishment meant that screenings couldn’t take place there since 2009. Now it’s back, with an excellent screening space in the old Christchurch, a beautiful 18th Century building recently restored by Cork City Council and now home to exhibitions, concerts, and an art house cinema (with a current film series presented in partnership with the IFI).

The screening had live musical accompaniment courtesy of the talented Morgan Cooke, on Christchurch’s recently restored TC Lewis organ (originally installed in 1878). In what was doubtless a cinema first, Cooke was joined by Cork uileann piper, Flaithrí Neff. The live music brought the house down, and added such pleasure and amusement to an already enjoyable film. Between the rich tones of organ filling the high ceilings and wooden pews of the old church space, and the warm laughter often erupting from the audience, this film seemed anything if silent.  An opportunity like this to see an old gem in such a lovely setting is testimony to the efforts of all the organisations who make it possible. The preservation, restoration, screening and publicizing of a screening like this is no mean feat, and the efforts on both sides of the Atlantic mean it can be be enjoyed anew by a modern audience.

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