Irish Film Institute -International Film Directory – Film Listing

The Dead

    • Director

      John Huston

  • Category


John Huston's film, The Dead, is an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English- language literature by one of Huston's favourite authors, James Joyce. It has been described as a love letter to the land of his ancestors and the country where his children grew up.

The film is delicate and unhurried, detailing a Christmas dinner at the house of two spinster musician sisters and their niece in turn-of-the-century Ireland, attended by friends and family. Among the visiting attendees are the sister's nephew Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta. The evening's reminiscences bring up melancholy memories for Gretta concerning her first, long-lost love when she was a girl in rural Galway. Her recounting of this tragic love to Gabriel brings him to an epiphany: he learns the difference between mere existence and living.

The all Irish cast and careful period detail give the piece richness and gravity, and Donal McCann and Anjelica Huston are unforgettable as the Conroy's.

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