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A Pint of Plain

A rare screening of Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s 1975 British Film Institute-funded ‘mockumentary’ A Pint of Plain, which anticipates Nicola Bruce’s I Could Read the Sky in its focus on the Irish in Britain. The scant ‘narrative’ concerns two Irishmen who visit London for a few days and encounter several British characters that are equally bereft of a sense of ‘community’oa soccer-obsessed Londoner, an English ‘detective’ who speaks code over the ‘phone, the participants in a striptease pub, and a desperate man who prophesises Armageddon from Hampstead Heath. O’Sullivan’s film uses a loose styleoimprovised acting, no scriptowithin a formal structure based on uninterrupted shots and preordained camera movements. Improvisation techniques were employed in the actors’ workshops. As the production notes put it: ‘The film allows the performers the freedom to portray a character, while at the same time creating a narrative which is not dependent on the development of these characters.’ An illuminating glimpse into a leading Irish filmmaker’s beginnings.

U.K., 1975. Black and white. 40 mins.

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