With the end in sight for those sitting this year’s Leaving Certificate, the Irish Film Archive presents a reminder of its horrors for those who survived the experience. The question posed by tens of thousands of school students every year provides the premise at the heart of Graham Jones’ amusing feature debut. Shot in black and white and featuring cameo appearances by sixteen famous Irish faces, the film details the elaborate master-plan of a group of pupils who scheme to beat the system and top the points race. Probing issues that are at the heart of Irish society, How to Cheat is an iconoclastic tale of high ambition, misdirected energies and educational anarchy. (Ireland, 1997. Black and white. Dolby stereo. 80 mins.) Plus Lipservice, which captures the terrors of the Oral Irish exam as students in a North Dublin community school practise their set phrases in a language they don’t use for communication.
The cigire’s growing despondency at the students’ ineptitude is perfectly captured by director and former teacher Paul Mercier. Ireland, 1999. Colour. 18 mins.