Irish Film Institute -International Film Directory – Category


This selection features films defined, sometimes loosely, as experimental – films characterised by attempts to redefine the proscribed limits and potentials of cinema. The work of early pioneers and remarkable, unique talents such as Samuel Beckett is represented as is the work of contemporary experimental film makers such as Maximillian Cain, Rouzbeh Rashidi and Jesse Jones. The bulk of the work listed here features in the Absences and (Im)possibilities programme - commissioned by IFI International and curated by Experimental Film Club – which attempts to trace a tradition of Irish experimental film-making. The full programme is listed here with this essay offering more information on the history of Experimental Film-making here. Also featured here are a series of films by independent filmmaker Joe Comerford, who has worked from painting into narrative, to develop a form of film language he describes as action/abstraction. His experimental work features in this category (with other less overtly experimental work featuring in the First Wave and Features categories). An essay by Eugene Finn, providing insights into Comerford’s work, along with listings of five of the experimental films, can be found here.

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A Pint of Plain

Thaddeus O'Sullivan, Derrick O'Connor, 30 minutes, 1975

This second of O’Sullivan’s extant films was his graduation piece for his Master’s degree. Taking its title from a parodic ballad by Flann O’Brien about the supposed comfort to be found in drink, A Pint of Plain was filmed on…

Amanda Coogan: Long Now

Paddy Cahill, 60 minutes, 2016

Amanda Coogan: Long Now is an exploration of Coogan’s durational performance art practice. The film follows Coogan during a grueling six week live durational exhibition; I’ll sing you a song from around the town. Hosted in Dublin’s RHA Gallery, the exhibition became…

American Dreams #3 : Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Moira Tierney , 5 minutes , 2002

Based in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2001, Moira Tierney caught the aftermath of September 11th on 16mm film and subsequently set it to the poem ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the music of Charlemagne Palestine. For much of the film…

Animal Kingdom

Dean Kavanagh, 120 minutes, 2017

Experimental filmmaker Dean Kavanagh’s latest work is a genre-defying exploration of the cinematic apparatus. The film concerns a character (played with corporeal intensity by Cillian Roche) who happens upon a group undergoing bestial metamorphosis. Narrative is not at the forefront…

Beckett’s Film

Alan Schneider , 20 minutes , 1965

In 1969 Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in recognition of his development of a circular form of reasoning that implies entrapment in circumstances of one’s own design. Film, directed by Alan Schneider in New York and…

By Accident

Norris Davidson, 20 minutes, 1930

By Accident, a film by Norris Davidson, is one of few independent films produced in the early years of the Irish state, and one of the first films to emerge from the group Irish Amateur Films. Only an estimated one…

Declarations 25

Donal Foreman, 2 minutes, 2010

From 2009, Donal Foreman completed 25 short films using personal video footage shot over the previous five years, uploading one on the Internet every two weeks. This final film in the series consists of the disjointed image and sound of…

El Hor

Dianne Lucille Campbell, 14 minutes, 2018

Through the interspecies gaze we observe the of the most ancient and highly honoured dog breeds, the Saluki. Guiding us in love, preparing us in death and transforming us in life.


Joe Comerford, 10mins, 1971

Joe Comerford’s first film involves a process that informs all of his other work.  The combination of “elements of narrative with abstraction”. A pitch-black Beckett-like vaudeville of impotence and aggression, Emtigon tragicomically details a homeless old man’s covert intrusion on a…

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