First Irish Film Festival in L.A.

Should we dare admit it to ourselves? We are not heroes, we have flaws, we are ugly in some ways, beautiful in others, we are sometimes weak, sometimes strong, and we may be complex but so common… only human.

The Irish Film Festival brings us films that are unpretentious, that do not seek to glamorize human life, but rather show it the way it is, without make-up, without spotlights, without all the fads; plain and… not so simple. Whether it is Billy and Breda of “Eden” by Declan Recks going through a marriage crisis, confronting the issue of the lack of desire, whether it is strong-willed Sarah in “The Pride” by Gerard Hurley facing abuse, love and forgiveness, Jackie’s friends in “Kings”, celebrating old bonds, bringing up old resentments, here are films which take an honest look at people and draw compelling, naturalistic portraits. There is what is said and all the rest, that remains unsaid, too awkward, too uncomfortable, too grave…

The Irish Film Festival launched its first edition in Los Angeles, directed by Lisa McLaughlin-Strassman, and ran from October 2nd to the 5th at the Clarity Theater in Beverly Hills, gathering many of the film makers.

The festival brought other surprises: two films about the little-well-known Jewish community in Ireland: “Shalom Ireland” by Louis Lentin and “Grandpa Speak to me in Russian” by Valerie Lapin Ganley. Both these shows sold out. They were followed by a performance by a klezmer band, Klez Encounters. The IFF also featured screenings of rare “The Luck of Ginger Coffey” and of silent era “The Iron Horse” by John Ford, as well as two classics: “The Lad from Old Ireland” by Sidney Olcott and “In the Days of St Patrick” by Norman Whitten, accompanied by a live orchestra.

The whole event was led in a convivial and welcoming manner and also presented Irish artwork, music and dancing.


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