EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN (director/writer: Peter Lennon; cinematographer: Raoul Coutard; editors: Lila Biro/Philippe Delesalle/Guy Delooz; music: the Dubliners with Luke Kelly; cast: Sean O'Faolain, Conor Cruise O'Brien, Father Michael Cleary, John Huston; Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Victor Herbert; Icarus Films; 1968)|
idealistic Peter Lennon, a
Paris-based Guardian journalist, films a deeply affectionate look at his
homeland on his return home."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
lively Chris Marker-like doc captures the changing social landscape of
Dublin, as it tells how after 700 years under rule by Great Britain the
small country now has to deal with being a republic and with the
political manipulations by the regressive Catholic Church--who find
politicos who ally with them. After a brief history lesson about the
failed 1916 Irish uprising against their occupiers, that was led by
poets and socialists, and the unsatisfactory results from the treaty of
the 1922 Civil War, that left northern Ireland still under British
rule, Lennon tells of Ireland's neutrality during WW I I, the depression in the 1950s, and then
takes us on a tour of the city while interviewing politicians,
conservative older types, outspoken writers (like Sean O'Faoláin), the new
Irish citizen John Huston (filmmaker) while he's making a foreign
picture (Sinful Davey), and school kids. Lennon further tells us about
the changing times of the 1960s, as we witness the lively pub scene--with the folk
group the Dubliners providing some rousing songs; a horse show for the
Protestant landed gentry and the growing bourgeois Catholic crowd; an approved
tennis club dance where guys can meet gals in an orderly fashion, an
unsuccessful attempt to get the populace to speak Gaelic, a
questionable policy of tax breaks for foreign investment in industry,
and a look at a modern priest, Father Michael Cleary, trying to
connect with jokes and songs with a younger audience.
magnificent black-and-white photography is by Raoul
Coutard, French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard's regular one.
Despite being banned upon its release in Ireland, the documentary was feted at Cannes. It was
the last film shown at the truncated 1968 Cannes Film Festival (a
protest caused by filmmakers (like Godard & Truffaut) in sympathy
with the student and worker protests of
May '68 in Paris) and, thereby, this film has remained nearly forgotten
until it was restored by the Irish Film
Board in 2004.
It ends on a hopeful note, as
Lennon observes the young are changing the country's attitudes and that
change is inevitable as the more daring youths strive to gain more
REVIEWED ON 3/25/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ