Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The world premiere of Glassland at the Fleadh

Gerard Barrett’s latest won over a side-swiped audience in Galway.

Sat, Jul 12, 2014, 00:03


Two years ago, Jimmy Deenihan, then  Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, was at the Galway Film Fleadh to introduce the first screening of Gerard Barrett’s Pilgrim Hill. That film went on to become a critical sensation and transformed young Gerard into a director to watch. Somewhat poignantly, having just lost his job in a Night of the Long Knives, Mr Deenihan turned up to present Barrett’s extraordinary follow up. Glassland delivers on the promise and then some. The picture stars Jack Reynor as a harassed young Dubliner doing his best to cope with an alcoholic mum. Toni Collette is harrowing as the beaten-down parent. Will Poulter is astonishingly good as the hero’s best pal. Reynor and Poulter joined the director on stage after the screening to soak up much deserved applause. Speaking to Will afterwards on the Town Hall steps, I got the sense that he is still enormously chuffed to experience such swells of warmth. He is a very polite young man. Keep your eyes open for a more complete review in our summary of the Irish scene in Tuesday’s paper.

Hats off to Miriam Allen, CEO, and Gar O’Brien, festival programmer, for another storming event. I met Gar early this evening and he admitted to nervous relief — let’s not tempt fate — that nothing too awful had yet gone wrong. Among the highlights was a gathering of veterans from the Dunnes Stores workers who refused to serve South African goods nearly (gulp) 30 years ago. The story is the subject of a documentary called Blood Fruit which played to great celebrations on Thursday afternoon. Keep an eye open for another outing.