Tributes to Michael Dwyer


Stars from the world of film pay tribute to Michael Dwyer


I AM DEEPLY SADDENED by news of Michael’s death. For the most part, those whose work it is to make films and those whose job it is to judge them occupy two separate landscapes, an almost uncrossable divide between them.

Michael was a rare exception. And the reason for it, I think, was love. Since first as a child the love of films blossomed in him and became his life’s work, until the day he died, he has remained faithful to that love. Full of understanding for the demands of the work and the good intentions of those that undertake it, he was a compassionate and empathetic writer. His criticism was not cruel or self-serving, but always honest, fair-minded, and guided by his essential love of the form itself.

I shall miss him. We all shall. He was a gentle man, a gentleman.


I THINK [producer] Steve Woolley introduced us first around the time of Angel, my first film. Here was this young red-haired guy from Tralee. I encountered him so often afterwards, it’s hard to remember if that was the first time.

He was the most delightful man imaginable. He was almost too kind at times. His support for emerging Irish film was such that he was incredibly praiseworthy all the time. What really impressed me when I met him at Cannes or wherever was that he had this incredibly efficient way of covering the world. He very rapidly tapped into the whole global network of filmmaking.


AS A CRITIC, Michael was perceptive and objective, magnanimous and uncynical. He retained a passion and love of cinema from childhood which was contagious. That love and wonder became his work and our gift. His commitment as an activist for Irish film is hugely influential and will continue to be and we have lost a champion.

On a personal level, I am deeply saddened and will miss his gentle, modest soul. I remember at Cannes once asking him if hed seen an obscure Scandinavian film. He’d seen it of course and interviewed the director. Jokingly, I asked him who did the catering on the film. Michael was someone who might have known the answer. I extend my deepest sympathies to Brian his partner of 24 years and to his family.


HE HAD an amazing love of movies and he was a sweet, kind guy. I would have met him first in the Project [Arts Centre] in 1974 or 1975. We ran a cinema for a while and I remember him bringing in all these movies by Fassbinder, Herzog and Wim Wenders.

Then, later, he was the first to recognise My Left Foot. That coincided with him arriving at The Irish Timesand he was big up for it from the start. But he was always a great promoter of Irish film, not least in the Dublin Film Festival, which he started and then brought back after it folded. I know Daniel Day-Lewis would put something in that festival simply because he trusted Michael. He didn’t have two sides to him.


MICHAEL DWYER was a genuine film enthusiast. Cinephile, movie buff, film fanatic: whatever description you choose, the man had a passion for cinema. He was wonderfully warm company and had that lovely knack of turning every interview into a genuine chat, one that was so stimulating and pleasant that you didnt want it to end.

I remember with great affection the encouragement he showed to me early in my career. The film industry in this country will miss his energy and his passion.


I WAS 18 when I first met Michael Dwyer. We were in a hotel in Leicester Square before the screening of my first film, The Disappearance of Finbar. He really put me at ease. Such a nice guy. Then, when it was shown in Ireland, he gave me a great write-up. It really meant something to get a write-up like that from somebody so respected.

He was personally supportive and he was supportive of Irish film. You know, it’s actually hard to be supportive when you have that power. You can sell more newspapers by saying bad things about people .


IT IS TRULY awful to hear of the death of Michael Dwyer. He was one of Irish film’s great friends – insightful, lucid, always positive. He loved his cinema, gloried in it. Michael embraced the possibilities and triumphs of the silver screen with a full heart. He often playfully poked fun at its foibles and failures, but never descended into cynicism. He was parental in his nurturing of native talent, child-like in his wonder at the beautiful. On top of that he was a lovely man. We can ill-afford his loss.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.