Heartbreak: Emmet Kirwan's dazzling short film shows pressures on young Irish women

The writer’s latest short film, developed from a stage show, follows one girl’s journey through young motherhood

Viewed over 400,000 times online, Heartbreak, a spoken-word short film written and performed by Emmet Kirwan has gone viral. Video: Emmet Kirwan/Warrior Films/MDV

 

Emmet Kirwan latest dazzling take on the state of our nation takes the form of a short film called Heartbreak.

The film was made by director Dave Tynan and producer Michael Donnelly V, the same team responsible for We Face This Land, a short film made for the Repeal project last year, and filmed on Greystones beach.

Heartbreak started life on the stage, having been commissioned and developed as part of Riot!, a Thisispopbaby production at this year’s Tiger Dublin Fringe festival.

Theatre critic for The Irish Times Peter Crawley said of that production: “Driven by rebellious passion, Kirwan’s flow is dazzling (when he rhymes, you don’t draw breath), supplying both the wattage and conscience to Phillip McMahon and Jenny Jennings’s meticulously composed cabaret.”

Those who made it to last year’s Drop Everything cultural biennial on Inisheer island in May will have got a sneak preview of the work. Kirwan delivered it from atop a rock beside the wreck of the Plassey, as part of a storytelling programme organised by Dave Tynan. The film traces one young girl’s journey from her early teenage years through pregnancy to raising her son in modern Ireland. It deals with the pressures and sexism that women have to handle on an everyday basis, and ends with the lines: “I’ll treat and respect and help to create an Ireland that will stand in awe of all mná.” Kirwan wrote and narrates the film, which stars Jordanne Jones.

Kirwan is one of the finest writers and performers in Ireland today. His play Dublin Oldschool, which draws on his own experiences of growing up in Tallaght and features frank depictions of homelessness and drug addiction, is currently touring Ireland, ahead of dates at the National Theatre in London. Speaking to this writer last year, Kirwan said “It shows bravery of a democracy and a culture that can fund an arts community that may speak out against government or help shows like Dublin Oldschool that may show an unflattering aspect of Ireland.”

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