Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson





Building façade in Cannes, France

Short Films from the 2000 Irish Reels Film & Video Festival…

Blessed Fruit lets us eavesdrop on a desperate conversation between a 33-year-old woman and God. It is the sort of tense negotiation that can only go on in the sanctity of a church when a woman thinks she might be pregnant and can’t be sure who the father is. In wickedly humorous fashion, the film plays out every possible scenario of the woman’s future, and we even get to find out how things might have gone if Mary and Joseph had been Irish. (Seen 28 February 2000)

The Case of Majella McGinty evokes the guilt and mortal fears of childhood in a way that Carlos Saura’s films used to before they became obsessed with flamenco. Since the setting is Northern Ireland, young Majella’s fears and misunderstandings take on an even deeper resonance. Kudos to the filmmakers (Kirsten Sheridan directed) for coming up with an unexpected double meaning in the title. (Seen 28 February 2000)

Comm-Raid on The Potemkin, directed by Lionel Mill, is a real hoot. At three minutes’ length, this one has more laughs per second than most any other film you are liable to see. The premise: if today’s action movies lend themselves to video games, well, why not a time-honored Russian classic? (Seen 6 February 2000)

Dream Kitchen demonstrates one reason why a lot of straight guys are uncomfortable with gay guys. If gay guys had their way, we’d all have to speak in iambic pentameter all the time. Okay, maybe not. Anyway, this improbable little fantasy is a bit amusing and a touch sad. The setting may be uniquely Ireland, but it really could have taken place most anywhere. (Seen 28 February 2000)

Elsewhere gives the impression that it could have been a nifty full-length thriller. As it is, it crams a fair amount of plot and ideas into its 15-minute running time, but there’s really too much too fast. What seems to be a family drama turns political then supernatural, leaving us finally to decide what it was all about. (Seen 6 February 2000)

The Farmer’s Wife amounts to a wry, sardonic comment on the state of marriage. What seems to be a slice of Irish rural life actually turns out to be a bit of a gag or, depending on your point of view, a wistful commentary. Either way, you will probably laugh, but a bit uncomfortably, at Robert Taylor’s tale. (Seen 6 February 2000)

Flush explores a number of aspects of modern Irish society, everything from differences in generational attitudes to the state of rural plumbing. But mostly it is a mildly amusing and touching story of a couple of sons dealing with their stubborn father and each other. Frankie McCafferty directed. (Seen 8 January 2000)

Half Full, Half Empty crams a wealth of emotions into three minutes. In a situation that might lend itself to a stage play, two hostages pass the time as best they can. We don’t know who they are or why they are being held captive, but that doesn’t matter. The word game that they play speaks volumes about what they are feeling and, more importantly, what they long for. (Seen 28 February 2000)

In Loving Memory is an extremely simple little film, but it manages to be quite touching and moving. Spanning many years in the space of 12 minutes, Audrey O’Reilly’s story is an eloquent testament to bonds that love makes in both life and death. (Seen 15 January 2000)

Last Mango in Dublin lives up to its clever title by providing an amusing quarter-hour story about a frantic search for tropical fruit one evening in the Irish capital. The setup, execution and punch line are all equally good. (Seen 15 January 2000)

Lover’s Leap by Jason Forde seems to be a straightforward (and a bit pedestrian) story of a modern relationship. But it has something much more mischievous in mind. To say any more (other than that it is definitely worth sitting through until the end) would be wrong. (Seen 6 February 2000)

A Soldier’s Song by Kevin Liddy is a bit murky to me. The production values are those of a feature film, but the story never quite comes together. Set in an annual military camp of Ireland’s army reserve, the film follows an introspective young man who sees some serious bullying going on around him. (The perpetrator is, shockingly, that nice Father Aidan from Ballykissangel.) We learn from flashbacks, that our hero’s father was also something of a bully, but what that means to the story’s resolution is never quite made clear. (Seen 8 March 2000)