Irish Film Institute -Poitín


Director: Bob Quinn

Bob Quinn’s firebrand response to pastoral visions of rural Ireland, this grim depiction of rural living generated outrage when it first appeared in 1979. The story concerns two layabouts, Labhrás (Donal McCann) and Sleamhnan (Niall Tóibín), and the poitín-brewer Micíl (Cyril Cusack) they work for. Against a stony, desolate background the pair distribute Micíl’s produce, struggling to avoid the attentions of the police as they do so. A piece of chance gives the pair the opportunity to steal Micíl’s poitín and sell it as their own; the success of this scheme turns the callous animosity between employees and employers into a more dangerous conflict. Images of stupidity and cruelty dominate this defiantly unsentimental film that, even today, retains its power to act as a riposte to idealisations of Ireland.

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