Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The Irina Palm d’Or

First a confession. A few years back, I was asked to interview Marianne Faithfull after a screening of Irina Palm, the old trooper’s latest film, at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. I was happy to oblige. Ms Faithfull, though …

Sun, Nov 28, 2010, 22:58

   

First a confession. A few years back, I was asked to interview Marianne Faithfull after a screening of Irina Palm, the old trooper’s latest film, at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. I was happy to oblige. Ms Faithfull, though not exactly jolly, was much less fearsome than reports had suggested and the audience asked reasonably sensible questions. It was nice to stand behind an icon and, in honour of her stature, I made no mention of apocryphal (that means made-up, m’lud) stories involving caramel-nougat confectionary.

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Yes… The problem — and here comes my confession — was to do with the film itself. I may have imagined it, but I felt the audience had, by the time we emerged on stage, fully sunk into the same gape-mouthed horror that, at the interval, struck attendees of Springtime for Hitler. I’ve just managed to dig up my capsule review of the subsequent DVD release. Here it is:

IRINA PALM

Directed by Sam Garbarski. Starring Marianne Faithfull, Miki Manojlovic, Jenny Agutter 15 cert *

Stunningly misconceived drama, starring a comatose Faithful as a middle-class woman who begins offering manual relief in a Soho sex shop to help pay for her grandson’s operation. This clumsy Europudding thinks itself dangerous, but it’s really just Calendar Girls with added lubricant.

Did I say any of this to Ms Faithfull? I did not. I hope that I used one of those nicely ambiguous constructions. You know that sort of thing. “I don’t know how you do it” or “I have never seen anything quite like that before” or “That was a very brave piece of work.”

At any rate, awful as the wretched thing was, I thought it was sufficiently obscure that it would never be heard of again. Not so. It was on telly the other night and now we learn that the film has inspired a “blog” devoted to notable terrible British films. The site’s nominal award is called… wait for it, wait for it … The ┬áIrina Palm d’Or. You have to hand it to the chaps behind the “blog” — The Independent’s Nicholas Barber is among them — for their sharp-wittedness. Let’s be honest. The site’s main reason for existence is to propagate that rather good joke in the title.

For what’s it’s worth, my nomination among recent British releases has to be Gurinder Chadha’s breathtakingly awful It’s a Wonderful Afterlife.

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