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IFI Celebrates One Of Ireland’s Greatest Filmmakers

A pre-eminent figure in Irish film, Neil Jordan’s expansive career has provided some of the key moments in modern Irish film as well as engaging an international following that stretches far beyond Irish shores. The IFI is celebrating Jordan’s enormous contribution to cinema with a complete cinematic retrospective that runs from 1st-30th May. Jordan will be interviewed by his friend and frequent collaborator Pat McCabe in a free afternoon talk on May 25th at 14.10.
Already an established writer of fiction, Jordan started to gravitate towards the film world in the early 1980s. Films such as Angel (1982), The Company of Wolves (1984) and Mona Lisa (1986) found critical success and together introduced a range of themes that would make recurrent appearances in Jordan’s films such as violent conflict (particularly in the context of the Troubles), sexual transgressions and an ability to bring worlds of fantasy and mythology to life on screen. Next came The Miracle (1991),his most auto-biographical film which is a low-key, coming of age gem set on the Bray seafront.
Hinging on perhaps one of the most memorable plot-twists in cinema history, The Crying Game (1992) was also a turning point in Jordan’s career. An ingenious U.S marketing campaign swept this sensitive portrait of an IRA gunman embracing his humanity in unexpected circumstances all the way to Oscar night, where the film won Best Original Screenplay from its six nominations.
With the recognition provided by an Academy Award, Jordan entered a productive decade that yields many career highlights including the dark, brooding and brilliant Interview with The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and a standout 12-year-old Kirsten Dunst; his inevitably controversial but magnificent historical portrait Michael Collins (1996); his unforgettable adaptation of Pat McCabe’s novel of mayhem and madness in 1950s provincial Ireland in The Butcher Boy (1997); and a restrained, melancholic accomplishment in The End of the Affair (1999) starring Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore.
In the 21st Century Jordan has shown no signs of slowing down and more recent highlights include another McCabe adaptation Breakfast on Pluto (2005), which recreates Ireland’s turbulent 1970s as a stylized odyssey of gender-bending possibility with Cillian Murphy triumphing in the central role; The Brave One (2007), an unsettling and underrated thriller starring Jodie Foster; and the ethereal Celtic myth of the selkie colliding with the modern world in Ondine(2009).
The Neil Jordan Retrospective concludes with the release of Byzantium, his latest darkly captivating saga starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton that premieres at the IFI on April 28th and which is on release from the 31st May. The Retrospective is a splendid opportunity to be challenged by Jordan’s consistently bracing insight into the best and worst of ourselves, to savour his bitter humour, admire his visionary craft, and thrill to some magnificent performances. Visit some old friends. Make some new ones. Reassess. And marvel.
For tickets and more information go to
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