72 minutes| Ireland| 2011| Colour| D-Cinema

Observing the lead-up to the release of the home-grown EP ‘Ballymun Lullaby’, Frank Berry’s documentary is as inspired as the musical undertaking that it tracks. Opening with a prelude of archive material tracing Ballymun’s turbulent yet largely misrepresented history, the film reveals a community keen to dispel its undeserved and oversimplified reputation as one dominated by crime and violence.

While eloquent contributions from locals such as former Ballymun resident Glen Hansard (from Oscar-winning Once) draw out the complex identity of the only high rise estate in Ireland, at the centre of this film is ebullient music teacher Ron Cooney and three of his students, each of whom plays an integral role in the EP’s production. Ron’s jokes provide much comic relief, but they also disclose his serious intent: to use music as a means of teaching his charges the skills and confidence necessary to challenge preconceived notions of what Ballymun represents. This is a timely reminder of the look and sound of real regeneration. (Notes by Alice Butler.)

The Ballymun Children’s Choir will sing Christmas carols in the IFI before the screenings on December 16th and 18th. There will be a post-screening Q&A with director Frank Berry on December 16th.

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