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A Tribute to Jim Mulkerns

A Tribute to Jim Mulkerns July 17 (6.30)
In celebration of the life and work of filmmaker Jim Mulkerns (1927-2003), the Irish Film Archive will screen a selection of films in a programme introduced by his family and friends.
Born in Dublin in 1927, Jim Mulkerns was involved in the production of documentary and informational films from 1952, working on over 400 productions in the capacity of producer, director, writer and cameraman. He started his career as a stills photographer and then, in the late 1950s, began work as director and cinematographer on the weekly Amharc Eireann newsreel series produced by Colm ‘ Laoghaire for Gael Linn. Examples of the series, which was shown in Irish cinemas during 1959-1964, will be featured in this tribute programme.
In 1969 Jim wrote, produced and directed an Irish-language documentary, An tOileanach a d’Fhill, which is at once a tribute to one of his cinematic heroes, Robert Flaherty (Man of Aran), and a bid to depict the changing contemporary lives of the island’s people. It was critically acclaimed and earned a special Certificate of Merit at the Cork Film Festival. One of his most striking works is Dublin Capital City 1974-75, a short film commissioned by the Labour Party for use in their general election campaign of 1974. It features relentless scenes of dilapidation and neglect and provides a uniquely bleak record of Dublin of that time.
Throughout the 1970s Jim wrote, produced and directed a series of short films sponsored by various government departments, from road safety pieces to documentaries profiling native Irish culture and the development of industry in Gaeltacht areas. Examples of this work will be included in the programme. Jim lectured in film at the National College of Art in the 1980s and was a guest lecturer at the Flaherty Film School in Brattleboro, Vermont. He was a Corporate Member of the British Kinematograph Society and a member of the Association of Cinematographic Technicians (London). He was a founder member of the Irish Film Producers Association and the Irish Film and Television Guild.
Broth of a Boy (The Big Birthday)
A forgotten comic gem from Emmet Dalton Productions, Broth of a Boy was filmed at Ardmore Studios and surrounding locations in 1959. Based on an Abbey Theatre play by Hugh Leonard, it begins with the arrival of British television producer Tony Randall (Tony Wright) in the village of Ballymorrissey, where birthday celebrations are underway for the irascible Patrick Farrell (Barry Fitzgerald). At the age of 110, Patrick is considered the oldest man in the world. Randall proposes a TV programme on the birthday party and enlists the help of Patrick’s niece, Silin (June Thorburn). Soon, however, he encounters the opposition of both Patrick (who wants to hide the fact that he falsified his date of birth to claim an early pension) and Phillips (Godfrey Quigley), a gombeen man who is annoyed by Patrick and his 80-year-old son Willie (Harry Brogan) for poaching on his property. Featuring a hilarious two-hander by Fitzgerald as the wily, porter-quaffing Patrick and the ever-excellent Brogan as his long-suffering son, the film also features strong support from many Abbey Players. Directed by George Pollock, the British filmmaker who also made the Irish-set Rooney and The Poacher’s Wife, Broth of a Boy was described by the Monthly Film Bulletin on its release as ‘a guileless little comedy, simple and charming and quite unsophisticated.’ This rarely-seen 16mm print was donated to the Archive by film collector Paul Balbirnie.. (U.K.-Ireland, 1959. Black and white. 77 mins.)

The price of admission to Irish Film Archive screenings is €4.

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