Explorations and Curiosities | Curiosities
This year’s Irish Film Festival at the Somerville Theatre features Gold, about an estranged father who returns to his family and nearly wrecks all of their lives. It’s a roaring good comedy, at least to many Irish moviegoers and others who enjoy the country’s traditional brew of offbeat, dark, or piercing works. “When you’re done with your shamrocks and shillelaghs,” suggests festival director Dawn Morrissey, “come see the real Ireland.” Held March 19-22 in Davis Square, the festival offers about 45 titles, including two Oscar nominees: An Bronntanas, a thriller, and Boogaloo and Graham, a short from Northern Ireland.(The latter also highlights parents’ life choices, as in threats to baby chicks that two young brothers have vowed to keep and raise themselves.) The volunteer-run festival is in its fifteenth year, and gives out awards, such as best “Global Vision Documentary,” thus some of the directors and actors are also on hand and gladly discuss their work. Musicals, or movies that showcase Irish music, are always on the program, too, typically as the grand finale on Sunday afternoon—followed by a reception at The Burren, a traditional Irish pub down the street. Upward of 3,000 people turn out for the four-day event, many of them Irish-born, or close to it. “We have parties after the shows every night, open to everyone,” says Morrissey, who is from County Kildare; most patrons don’t wait until Sunday “to go out for the craic, or a hooley.” That was especially evident last year when the charming and poignant documentary, The Irish Pub, was paired with Handing Down The Tunes, about the late, legendary musician Tommy McCarthy (whose son, Tommy McCarthy Jr., owns The Burren). Celebrants leaving the shows brought Davis Square the closest it may ever come to Dublin.