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What Irish Eyes Are Watching

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 8, 2005 4:33PM

Chicagoist stumbled into its local tavern recently and noticed a whole lot of green tinsel and merry little top hats—the American cultural shorthand for St. Patrick’s Day (or Amateur Hour as it’s known around these offices). While you might be tempted to “celebrate” the rich cultural heritage of Ireland with a pint of green Bud Light, why not spend some time this week at the Beverly Arts Center during the 6th Annual Irish Film Festival for some of the stories and people behind the pints.

Many of the features explore the less flashy but still formative events in Ireland’s history such as the Irish lottery, the “Harvest Army,” and the creation of the new republic. But diversity is the order of the day here so expect a film highlighting socialist labor movements and zombies, too.

In addition, Wednesday evening is the first of two nights of short films at the BAC, which includes News of the Church, the writing and directorial debut of Andrew McCarthy. Yes, THAT Andrew McCarthy. Consider the post-screening reception at Cork and Kerry your invitation to get just drunk enough to tell him that you think Fresh Horses “is totally underrated.” Another of the shot-on-video shorts is Ouch!, You were expecting a picture of Michael Collins, perhaps?a film where three men discuss how they were circumcised later in life. The film can’t possibly be short enough.

Speaking of video, if you’d rather get in a green mood courtesy of your local video retailer, here’s a list of films that feature the Emerald Isle as a backdrop for stories both fictional and true. We’ve helpfully lumped them into three categories for your viewing pleasure:

Those Violent Irish!
Michael Collins
In The Name of the Father
Bloody Sunday
The Molly Maguires
One Man’s Hero
The Magdalene Sisters

Leprechaun (with a pre-nose job Jennifer Aniston!)

Those Inspirational Irish!
Far and Away
Veronica Guerin
Dancing at Lughnasa
Angela’s Ashes/The McCourts of New York/The McCourts of Limerick

(After watching these films, you will know more about Frank McCourt than his mama does)
My Left Foot/The Boxer/In America (The Jim Sheridan Irish Trilogy!)
The Crying Game (We’re not sure what it would inspire you to do but we weren’t sure where else to put this one)

Those Merry And So Full-Of-Life Irish!
American Women
Waking Ned Devine
The Matchmaker
The Commitments
The Snapper

Darby O’Gill and the Little People (Sean Connery--not actually Irish--Sings!)

Image: Trimark Pictures