Pauline and I watched Ken Loach’s film Jimmy’s Hall on Friday night. It was very emotional: we were both in tears at the end, and Pauline said to me ‘Think how great Ireland could have been!’ The film is based on the true story of Jim Gralton, the only Irish person ever to be deported from Ireland.
It is set in a small rural community much like our own, in the 1920s and 1930s. Gralton, a socialist, returns to Ireland from the US, having left in the aftermath of the 1919–21 war here. His friends and neighbours ask him to reopen a hall for use as a community centre, where people can meet for cultural, social and educational activities. He duly opens the hall, with assistance from the friends and neighbours, but the local parish priest resents its existence, believing that the Roman Catholic Church should control everything. Continue reading
Pauline and I have watched all five seasons (63 episodes) of Six Feet Under in the past few months, having seen the series first when it came out in 2001–2005. Susanna watched many of the episodes with us; I think Sean would have loved it (he was too young to watch when it was first aired).
To me, it’s the best TV show I have ever seen (Pauline feels the same way). Admittedly the various blockbuster series of the past few years passed us by, but I very much doubt that any of them would surpass Six Feet Under in my mind. The writing and acting are superb; the complexity and humanity of the characters come across believably and often beautifully, and the fact that death is ever present only accentuates the value and vividness of life, in all its imperfection. Music (such as the highly evocative main theme), dreams and fantasy offset or accentuate the grittiness. Continue reading
Sean’s favourite Irish rock band … he particularly liked the tracks ‘Revelate’ and ‘Fake’, and used to play them a lot on his computer … also one or two others that I can’t now find. He enjoyed the Once movie as well … Hansard and Irglova received an Oscar for the ‘Falling Slowly’ song. Continue reading
Sean liked film. He hadn’t gone to the cinema all that often since he was a child, but he watched a lot of films on television, often with his mum and me, or on the computer. He liked to discuss them afterwards (or sometimes while they were on – a practice that had to be curbed). He often drew attention to technical aspects, such as very long tracking shots; he noticed things that most people wouldn’t (without being taught them in a media class). I think he could have had a career in film-making – he had a great eye.
Sean was an enthusiastic admirer of certain actors, such as Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Daniel Day Lewis, and would watch anything with one of them in it. Conversely, he had a deep and abiding loathing of Clint Eastwood. He wasn’t very keen on rom-coms either. Continue reading