100 minutes, Ireland, 2011, Colour, D-Cinema

Following the spiritual course that was 2010’s The Way, Martin Sheen revisits similar themes, albeit in a very different role, with this pastoral drama about a scholar priest struggling to maintain authority in small-town 1950s Ireland. Sheen plays forward-thinking Father Barry, whose hopes of reappointment to Rome are dashed by tenacious Bishop Hegarty (Tom Hickey with vim), whose sole objective is to control the ‘hearts and minds’ of the dwindling population by building modernist churches designed to dominate horizons around the country. Roped into raising funds for a venture he views with scepticism, cinephile Barry seizes the opportunity to open the Stella Cinema, which will hopefully have a civilising influence while hastily generating necessary profits. Effectively conveying the parochial mind-set of the locals, epitomised by Stephen Rea’s Brendan McSweeney, director Thaddeus O’Sullivan humorously captures the Ireland of not that long ago while contemplating the historically tense but not irreconcilable relationship between spirituality and technology. (Notes by Alice Butler.)

Please follow the link [here]  for a new series of FREE talks starting on March 13th, the first of which will be about filmmaking and film exhibition by the clergy. 

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