Literature

Ireland is internationally renowned for producing great writers. A varied slate of films includes adaptations of literary works, profiles of literary figures, and cinematic responses to poetry and other literary forms. The list of celebrated writers whose work is represented here – from James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Elizabeth Bowen to Roddy Doyle and John Banville, via Edna O’Brien and John McGahern – is far-reaching, with the films displaying a stylistic diversity bringing audiences from animated features to radical experimental works.

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A Second of June

Frank Stapleton, 40 minutes, 1984

Frank Stapleton’s Ulyssean, richly textured day in the life of two young people wandering through the streets of Dublin set against a backdrop of street traders, amusement arcades and protests during the visit of President Ronald Reagan to Ireland in…

A Vision: A Life of W.B. Yeats

Alan Gilsenan, 75 minutes, 2013

The life and work of W.B. Yeats holds a particular place in hearts and imaginations across the world. This film is a response to that vast body of work – a visual and avowedly experimental ‘film-poem’. Using solely the words…

The Ballroom of Romance

Pat O'Connor, 65 minutes, 1982

This perfectly rendered naturalist feature, adapted from writer William Trevor’s short story The Ballroom of Romance, explores the deadening atmosphere of 1950s Ireland through the figure of the unmarried Bridie (Brenda Fricker).  “Spinster” Bridie goes to the country ballroom, where…

Beckett’s Film

Alan Schneider , 20 minutes , 1965

In 1969 Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in recognition of his development of a circular form of reasoning that implies entrapment in circumstances of one’s own design. Film, directed by Alan Schneider in New York and…

Bloom

Sean Walsh, 113 minutes, 2003

A vivid adaptation of Joyce’s celebrated Ulysses, Bloom is a rich costume drama about Leopold Bloom (Stephen Rea), his ribald wife, Molly (Angeline Ball), and the young intellectual Stephen Dedalus (Hugh O’Conor) going about their daily business. In a bold…

Borstal Boy

Peter Sheridan, 93 minutes, 2000

A stirring drama adapted from Brendan Behan’s autobiographical novel, Borstal Boy depicts Behan’s (Shawn Hatosy) time spent in a British reform school for young men– a borstal – during World War II. Imprisoned for smuggling dynamite to England as part…

Breakfast on Pluto

Neil Jordan, 128 minutes, 2005

Returning to the boundless imagination of The Butcher Boy novelist Pat McCabe, Jordan here recreates Ireland’s turbulent 1970s as an odyssey of gender-bending possibility, courtesy of the irrepressible, cross-dressing Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden (Cillian Murphy). Abandoned on a doorstep as a…

The Butcher Boy

Neil Jordan, 110 minutes, 1997

Neil Jordan's twisted version of a coming of age story, The Butcher Boy brings the viewer into the bizarre world of Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens). With an alcoholic father (Stephen Rea) and suicidal mother (Aisling O’Sullivan) at home, Francie lives…

Circle of Friends

Pat O'Connor, 103 minutes, 1995

Set in an austere 1950s Ireland, Circle of Friends is the empowering story of three young women fighting to have decent lives in a difficult country. Childhood friends Bernadette (Minnie Driver), Nan (Saffron Burrows), and Eve (Geraldine O’Rawe), escape the…
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