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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Having a Keane time in Cork

As I was sitting in the dark, happily watching three films in one day, an alarming thought occurred to me. You have heard of “economy class syndrome,” otherwise known as deep vein thrombosis. This is a life-threatening condition that can occur from sitting too long in a cramped seat, as typically happens on a long-haul flight. Well, I started to wonder if a person could get this from attending a film festival. Maybe, it could just as well be called “film festival syndrome”!

If that’s the case, then I know a few guys in Seattle who should have dropped dead a long time ago. In any event, I am willing to take the risk because no danger is too great to stop me from going out and reporting back from the frontiers of cinema for the benefit of both of my readers.

This year, not only did my dreams of going to Cannes and/or Toronto again not materialize, but I didn’t even make it to the Seattle International Film Festival, because I was in Ireland. I would have gone to the Dublin Film Festival, but they cancelled it. Thank God for Cork.

Cork has had a film festival for 47 years, which I find impressive. They invariably get a good collection of feature films from around the world, as well as a fine assortment of new Irish and international short films. The shorts programs are so popular that they had largely sold out by the time I decided I was coming, so I have to content myself with catching up with a few films I missed in the States (like Possession and Tadpole) as well as seeing a few new European films like 8 femmes and Le Souffle. (And, before I get any angry email from French people, both those films are not only European but also French.) The icing on the cake is archival screenings of classics like The African Queen and Black Narcissus (both part of a tribute to cinematographer Jack Cardiff) and the seldom seen Irish film Home Is the Hero.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about coming back to Cork—and not just because every news report you hear about Cork seems to involve a murder or the confiscation of someone’s private collection of assault rifles. No, it has to do with that giant face that keeps staring at me from bus stop kiosks and bookstore windows. The poster is everywhere here. That giant face is Roy Keane’s. His autobiography is in the shops and you can’t escape it anywhere. Keane, who many believe is the best soccer player Ireland has ever produced, was born and bred here. People’s opinions of him here basically fall into one of two categories: those who think that he is God, and those who think that he is better than God. I just pray that no one here connects me with my web site, since I may have been a little rough on the local hero a few months ago.

Keane’s book actually got him into a spot of trouble, since it gives his own self-incriminating version of an incident that has since resulted in his temporary suspension from the Manchester United football club. A further irony is that the book, which seems to be titled simply Keane, has two subtitles: The Truth and An Autobiography. We get no further than this and already we have a contradiction, since the truth is that, strictly speaking, this is not an autobiography. Everyone and his dog knew well before the book came out that it was actually written by former soccer player/current TV sports commentator Eamon Dunphy, who was Keane’s most rabid (and I do mean, rabid) defender during his row with the Ireland team during the recent World Cup. Anyway, when you have to call your biography The Truth, it sure sounds like someone is being a bit defensive.

The best commentary on/by Roy Keane was actually on a tee shirt that I happened to spot in a shop this morning. It read “Roy Keane’s apology in Japanese,” followed by some characters that looked to the untrained Western eye to be Japanese. Below was a helpful tip which read: “To translate, tilt your head right.” I tilted, and magically the ersatz Japanese characters were transformed into the words (I’m paraphrasing here): Go love yourself. I think that sums up Keane perfectly. The strange thing is that I’m sure that the people who made the shirt and the people who are buying it probably think that this is a great tribute to him.

Oops. I’ve done it again. Just kidding, Roy and everyone in Cork!

In any event, I will be hiding in the dark recesses of cinema for the rest of the week. And, if anybody asks me about the guy who does this web page, well, I’ll just say that I don’t know what they’re talking about.

-S.L., 10 October 2002

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