Fairfield University's Irish Studies program presents free five-week film series beginning October 4


Building on the success of its debut film series last spring, the Fairfield University Irish Studies program will sponsor "The Irish in Film," a five-week series presented on Thursdays at 7 p.m. beginning Oct. 4. The five contemporary films, some award winning, will be shown on the Fairfield campus in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library Multimedia Room. Fairfield University professors who teach in the Irish Studies minor and are members of the Irish Studies Committee will introduce the films. The American Studies Program and The College of Arts and Sciences fund the series. Admission is free and the public is welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

The series was designed to "bring an awareness of the variety and richness of Ireland and the Irish culture to students and to the Fairfield community," said Professor Marion White, a member of the Irish Studies Committee and lecturer in English. As a result, each film provides a different aspect of Ireland, its culture and its people.

The first film, "Some Mother's Son" directed by Terry George (1996) will be screened Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Set in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, it stars the Academy Award-winning actress, Helen Mirren and Aidan Gillen and is based on the story of a young IRA member and follower of Bobby Sands, the well-known radical who staged a hunger strike in a Belfast prison. Dr. Kevin Cassidy, director of Irish Studies recently explained, "The hunger strike, in which ten men died, was the pivotal event in the struggle for justice and equality in the North providing for the first time worldwide attention for this struggle and starting the electoral ascent of Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams. The hunger strike was really a rebirth of Irish Republicanism and the nationalist cause." Dr. Cassidy, who teaches "Northern Ireland: Politics of War and Peace," introduces the film.

On Oct. 11, Dr. Leo O'Connor, director of American Studies, will introduce the Academy-Award nominated "In America," directed by Jim Sheridan (2002). The moving story of an Irish immigrant family mirrors Sheridan's own experience as an impoverished actor, with a wife and two daughters, who arrived in New York in the 1980s. Samantha Morton stars with Paddy Considine as her husband and the delightful real-life sisters, 10-year-old Sarah and 7-year-old Emma Bolger as their daughters. Sheridan's own two daughters collaborated on the script for this unforgettable film. Dr. O'Connor teaches the film course, "Images of the Irish in American Film."

On Oct. 18, Dr. Donald Greenberg, chairman of the Politics Department introduces director Ken Loach's film, "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" (2006). Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, the film is set in County Cork during the revolutionary period of the 1920s and stars Cillian Murphy as Damien, a young, idealistic doctor, who with his brother, Teddy (Padraic Delaney) join the IRA and end up on opposite sides of the Irish Civil War.

"Run of the Country," directed by Peter Yates (1995) is slated for Oct. 25 and will be introduced by Dr. William Abbott, associate professor of history, who described the film's essence as, "showing the impact that the North-South, Protestant-Catholic divide had upon the lives of ordinary Irish people. It is a poignant story of love and tragedy, set against beautiful Irish countryside in County Cavan."

The last film in the series, Nov. 1, is "My Left Foot," a double-Academy-Award-winner, directed by Jim Sheridan (1989), starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Dublin writer Christy Brown with Brenda Fricker as his tenacious mother. Professor White, who will introduce the film, says it is, "inspirational to see Christy Brown who was born with cerebral palsy take strength from his undaunted mother as he struggles to find the will to overcome his severe disabilities. Mary Brown is the force that propels Christy's heroic determination."

For more information, please contact Dr. Kevin Cassidy at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2862 or by e-mail at kjcassidy@mail.fairfield.edu.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 11, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 35