IFI Local Films for Local People - Carlow on camera


VISUAL / Fri 9 June 2017 / 6:30pm 

Irish Film Institute 

Select the Friday Movie & Music Pass when booking, and for just €30 you get a ticket that gets you access to Carlow on Camera, Rusangano Family with support from Emmet Kirwin, the Mystery Movie and Kelly-Anne Byrne's DJ Set

Carlow on Camera presents an exciting, programme of films about Carlow which are preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. Dating from the 1930s to the present day the programme creates a vibrant social history of the county and a colourful kaleidoscope of years gone by.

It includes Activities of Carlow Town, made by PP Fr Jackie Moran (1935 – ’58); Radharc’s documentary about Pattern Day in St Mullins (1966); Gael Linn’s Amharc Éireann newsreels of the county (1960s); Journeys down the Barrow (1960s) and the elegiac What Remains (2013) co-directed by Carlow filmmaker Tadhg O’ Sullivan and Pat Collins. 

The programme highlight will be presentation with live musical accompaniment of Some Say Chance (1934) a modern-day Irish premiere of this lost amateur, silent film. The film, which includes Maureen O’Hara in her screen debut, was directed by Carlovian author Michael Farrell, best known for “Thy Tears Might Cease” (pub 1963).

The film does not survive in its entirety but has been painstakingly rebuilt from surviving elements by Dean Kavanagh and colleagues in the IFI Irish Film Archive.

The film itself tells the story of a young girl who is sent to a harsh and repressive boarding school believing her mother to be dead and while her father is away working in Australia. However, her mother is in fact alive and working in London as a penniless prostitute, ‘Irish Moll’. When Moll’s pimp discovers letters from her estranged husband he sees the prospect of making money from this knowledge. Unfortunately, this is where the surviving footage runs out. According to Dean Kavanagh “In the end the mother actually dies, the father returns and kills the pimp, and finally reunites with his daughter, freeing her from the oppressive boarding school. Unfortunately none of this happy ending has survived, and so I took delectation in wallowing in the grim, frightened and naive fragments of the film that remained. Naturally”.

Although shot on a shoestring budget and with a very amateur feel to it, Some Say Chance does have a couple of specific points of interest. Writer/Director Farrell would go on in 1935 to be co-cinematographer of the much better and better known Irish silent Guests of the Nation  In addition, actress Rita FitzSimons who played Irish Moll managed to get her daughter Maureen an un-credited minor role in the film. Some years later, Maureen FitzSimons would change her name to Maureen O’Hara and her career never looked back!