76 minutes, Ireland, 2008, Colour, Digi-beta

Pat Collins’ acclaimed portrait of the working-class Walkinstown lad turned international film actor largely eschews in-depth examination of Gabriel Byrne’s screen career, instead offering something far more profound, soulful, and deeply engaging.

Collins digs deeper, then deeper still, to get to the essence of the man: Byrne, accordingly, rises to the occasion, recounting the events that have defined his life (and the demons that have haunted him) with unstinting candour and a wry sense of humour: recounting his five years spent living in L.A., he describes the city as “Tír na nÓg – a place where people think if they get successful and wealthy, they’re not going to die.”

Deftly utilising candid home movie footage, Stories… captures a protagonist who perfectly fits into Collins’ extended gallery of iconoclastic loners following their own path: he may have been directed by a who’s who of world cinema, but here, as himself, Gabriel Byrne gives the performance of a lifetime.

This film is screening as part of the IFI’s season, Poetic Truths: The Cinema of Pat Collins (August 4th – 21st).


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