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JDIFF: CHILD OF THE DEAD END

Director: DESMOND BELL

83 minutes| Ireland| 2010


This film screened 25th February 2010.

With his customary grace and skill, acclaimed Irish documentary maker Desmond Bell has mixed early cinema archive film and new material to retrace the story of navvy poet, novelist, dramatist and screenwriter Patrick?MacGill. Born in 1889 into crushing poverty in Donegal in the west of Ireland, MacGill went on to become one of Ireland’s most successful authors.
His autobiographical novels, penned in Scotland and hugely popular at the time, paint a vibrant picture of the life of the navvy, the labourer and the whore, ‘the outcasts of a mighty industrial society’. MacGill lived the life of a navvy in the Scottish highlands and in his writing fact ?and fiction, social report and love story mingle. Director Bell, alongside his?collaborator Stephen Rea, has fashioned ?an elegant and engaging portrait whilealso interrogating the basic principles by which biographies are told and retold.

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