News Column

Movie Passnotes

May 24, 2013



Cal Director: Pat O'Connor (1984) Who's in it? Helen Mirren, John Lynch, Donal McCann What's it about? A young Catholic man involved with the IRA in Troubles-era Belfast struggles with guilt over his part in the murder of an RUC officer whose widow he subsequently falls for. Based on the novel by Belfast writer Bernard MacLaverty, the film featured at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival where a young Helen Mirren won best actress for her role as the lonely widow.

Relatively tame by today's standards but edgy stuff in 1984.

Memorable Moments? The opening scene plays out from the driver's perspective as a car pulls up to a house through the rain; the crunch of gravel underfoot; a knock at the unsuspecting officer's door; gunshots in the dark; a scream pierces the silence ...

roll credits.

It's all very cinema verite -- intimate, intense, setting the tone for the film's moody reflections on passion and guilt.

Look who's talking: "Cal tells a story that has been told many times before, but tells it quietly and powerfully about a particular time and place: Northern Ireland in the 1980s."

- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times Like that? Try this: Directed by Dublin-born filmmaker Jim Sheridan (The Boxer, My Left Foot), In the Name of the Father (1993) stars Daniel Day Lewis as an Irishman coerced into confessing to an IRA bombing he didn't commit. Also starring late British acting icon Pete Postlethwaite (The Usual Suspects) the film is an emotional account of the ruthless brutality symptomatic of civil war and a damning indictment of the utilitarian tactics reportedly employed by the British forces during the Troubles.

Trivia Pursuit: The film has been picked by Belfast author Lucy Caldwell, as part of a mini film festival for the One City One Book 2013 initiative.

The idea is that as many people as possible will read the same book during the month of May, with this year's title being Lucy's All the Beggars Riding.

Cal is showing at the QFT on Tuesday, May 28, 6.40pm.


Originally published by RONAN WRIGHT.

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