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01/03/2007

Irish Films To Mark St. Patrick's Day In London

As part of London's activities to mark St Patrick's Day, a series of films is being screened at the Barbican and the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, illustrating Irish history and Irish experience in the British capital.
Curated by director-producer David P Kelly, a partner at the European Co-Production Bureau in London, the Irish Film Festival includes 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' and silent classic 'Irish Destiny', plus documentary and Irish language short films. It is being supported by the Mayor of London, in partnership with the Irish Film Institute, the Irish Film Board and Culture Ireland.
On Tuesday 13 March, to launch the festival, the Barbican has a special showing of Irish Destiny, one of Ireland's greatest and most historically significant silent films. Produced to mark the tenth anniversary of the Easter Rising and believed lost for decades, Irish Destiny was rediscovered in the early 1990s. The film is a love story set against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence and includes actual newsreel footage of the Black and Tans, the burning of Cork and the burning of Dublin's Customs House. Michael O'Suilleabhain, who wrote the music, will introduce the film, with a welcome by Mayor Ken Livingstone.
The other films in the festival are being shown from 2.30pm until 5.45pm on Sunday 18 March at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square. The afternoon will be introduced by M. Hickman and T. Murray from the Irish Studies Department, London Metropolitan University.
Films include Ken Wardrop's 'Undressing My Mother', winner of the best short film at the European Film Awards, which explores an Irish woman’s perspective on her fading looks and ageing body.
'An diog is faide' tell the real life tale of Sonnie Murphy, who got the chance to represent Ireland in the steeplechase in the Los Angeles 1932 Olympics. Hugh Farley's film won the best Irish language award at the Cork film festival.
David P. Kelly's 'I Only Came Over For A While' is an evocative film that merges together a host of interviews with elderly Irish women and men, who share their memories of coming to London during the 1940s to 1960s. The film has been acclaimed as a moving and valuable record of an often forgotten but important section of London's population.
Closing the festival will be Ken Loach's award winning ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’. The Cannes Film Festival winner is set during the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Irish Civil Warand tells the story of two brothers who become part of a small group of Irish Republican Army activists.
The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "We wanted Londoners to have the opportunity to find out more about Irish history and to glimpse a part of the Irish story in London. The Irish community is a big part of London's cultural life and hope the Irish Film Festival will become an annual event as part of the capital's St Patrick's Day celebrations."
The Irish Film Festival is one of many events taking place across the city to mark St Patrick's Day, including the annual parade and festival, also on Sunday 18 March. All the screenings at the Prince Charles Cinema are free and everyone is welcome to attend.
(DS/SP)
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