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MONTHLY MUST-SEE CINEMA: THIS IS MY FATHER

Director: Paul Quinn

120 minutes, 1998, Colour, 35mm


This feature debut of Irish-American film director Paul Quinn tells the tragic tale of a diffident, lowly farm-worker (Aidan Quinn) who falls for a beautiful young lass (Moya Farrelly), a girl far above his station, and the subsequent search decades later by her lonely Chicagoan widower (James Caan) son to uncover the story of his roots. 

Though dealing in familiar tropes (alcoholism, the church, the struggle for land), Quinn avoids the pitfalls of cliché to produce a film that is polished, economically written and featuring a series of outstanding performances from leads and supporting actors (Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rhea, Gina Moxley and Colm Meaney) that are at times incandescent, uninhibited, deeply moving and hilarious. 

As our thoughts turn to The Gathering, here is a depiction of 1930s Ireland, of exile and of home-coming that is credible, sentimental and funny.

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