65th Cork International Film Festival

Irish Destiny + Newsreel Cine Concert (1920 Commemoration Gala)

Expired November 18, 2020 9:00 PM
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Cork City Council, Cork International Film Festival and the Irish Film Institute present

Made soon after the events it depicted, Irish Destiny was the first fiction film dealing with the War of Independence in Ireland. Denis O'Hara (Paddy Dunne Cullinan) joins the IRA after witnessing British aggression in the village of Clonmore. He is shot, wounded and imprisoned, but escapes from the Curragh Camp in time to save fiancée Moira (Frances MacNamara) from the clutches of villainous poitín distillers. The drama is seamlessly punctuated with newsreel footage depicting real events such as the sacking of Cork in December 1920 and the burning of Dublin’s Customs House in May 1921.

A 35mm print of the film was restored and repatriated from the US by the IFI in the early 1990s. World-renowned composer, the late Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, created an orchestral score which breathed new life into this silent film. This is a work of majesty which elevates our understanding of the forging of the modern Irish state.

Newsreel Cine Concert: a short selection of British and Irish newsreels relating to Cork in the 1920 period - including the funeral of the Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney (October 1920) and the burning of Cork (December 1920) - will be shown with musical accompaniment by Cork violinist Brendan Garde.

(Copy written by Sunniva O'Flynn)


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  • Year
  • Runtime
    78 + 15
  • Country
  • Note
    Silent with recorded score, Black and White
  • Director
    George Dewhurst
  • Screenwriter
    I J Eppel
  • Producer
    I J Eppel
  • Cinematographer
    Joe Rosenthal