Kieran Hickey (1936–93) was one of Ireland’s most sophisticated and versatile ?lm-makers, as accomplished in his production of elegant literary documentaries as he was in his direction of a series of exceptional short ?ction ?lms, literary adaptations and dramas which, for the ?rst time in Irish cinema, explored sexuality, in?delity, and middle-class angst and challenged notions of nationalism, sectarianism and the glori? cation of the past. These ?ne works were produced with his collaborators Pat Duffner and Sean Corcoran at BAC ?lms, alongside an extensive catalogue of commissioned ?lms – travelogues, health & safety and corporate ?lms – which today provide colourful snapshots of Irish society in the 1970s and 80s. “I had the good fortune to co-write with Kieran Hickey. Kieran was intent on bringing to the screen a true picture of Irish society. There is nothing cozy about his ?lms. There is, instead, an honesty and an exactitude, a desire to sweep aside a divisive self-consciousness in favour of a mature exploration of ourselves. His ambition for the work was never thwarted by budget restrictions. Kieran was a private man with strong friendships, ever prepared to get in the ?ght. His deep love of literature and extensive knowledge of cinema was brought to bear in the face of any challenge. All who knew him will recall the steady ?ow of newspaper cuttings gathered on his desk. These he would present with incredulity, sharp wit and a healthy anger. A glance at our national newspapers today tells us there is a great need of his kind.”
Adapted from William Trevor’s short story, this complex, sparely beautiful ? lm about redemption and forgiveness follows the descent into madness of Attracta (Wendy Hiller), a retired protestant school teacher whose parents were killed when she was a child by the old IRA and who now, in old age, identi? es with a the young wife of a murdered British soldier.
The Rockingham Shoot
Scripted as an original work for screen by John McGahern, this drama is set a small village in the 1950s where schoolteacher Reilly (Bosco Hogan) is a ? erce nationalist with a deep loathing for British society, a loathing that erupts into violence when he learns that some of his pupils have absented themselves from school to work at a pheasant shoot at the local big house where the British Ambassador is a guest.
Sunniva O’Flynn, IFI Curator