by Bertille de Lestrade
As part of the 2013 St Patrick’s Day Festival, Eat My Shorts took over the beautiful Trinity College Exams Hall last night for a very special event. Film makers and artists had been invited to submit their work on the theme ‘I Love My City’, and the best 10 short films were picked by a jury for the showcase. Animation, documentary or drama, they all conveyed a unique, although familiar sense of Irishness. Some shared a certain nostalgia of the old days, others a craving for a simple, raw life. But coming together in all sorts of ways, now that’s Dublin for you.
“Dublin. Dublin is like a woman. She’s large-breasted, she drinks a lot. Has two pairs of shoes : high heels and flat. (…) She does my head in, but I love her” says photographer Aiden in his his interview for ‘ We Are Dublin’. Rings a bell or what? Aiden is only one of the many brilliant, moving, witty characters I met throughout the 10 films last night. They all had great things to express about Dublin, or Ireland as a whole. In the animated ‘After You’, a nice little doorman witnesses the city changing decade after decade, welcoming revolving doors and lifts, heavy smoke and neon lights. A life in a few minutes where the streets of Dublin are beautifully rendered and the friendships at their every corner overcome sadness and hard times. The friendships, the community, omnipresent features of the Irish lifestyle that could not be missed. It’s all there, in Co. Kerry, where a bunch of turf cutters share post-war stories, a steaming kettle of ‘the mighty stuff ‘ and wise words on life. The philosophy of seasons, the ‘craic with the lads’, the importance of not being idle… and a nice warm house for the night. ‘That’s the story’, as ‘Home Turf ‘ concludes, and not a small one.
Dublin. Who hasn’t heard a million stories about people leaving, coming back, staying, wondering ‘what is it about this place?’ A question better asked by the already famous ‘Just Saying’, a wonderful piece of slam poetry wandering the streets of a deserted Dublin by night. Dublin in blue, Dublin in blur, reflecting in the Liffey, in shop windows, Dublin in yellow at dawn. ‘I’m just saying, you might get sick of it all but you might miss it too and there’s ten good reasons to go but a thousand tiny ones not to and I don’t know which is which anymore.’
Dublin in green too, invaded by nature when the animated character of ‘Origin’ fails to fly away from menacing recession headlines and runs back through town, leaving plants and flowers in his trail. A fresh start, a new determination. ‘Creative people are blossoming in Dublin’, said Morgan, another artist featured in ‘We Are Dublin’ . He speaks the truth. There’s an energy here. Optimistic, bold, generous people. The people make the city’, they opened and closed the film in clever, beautiful video montages. The people do come together, right here, and from everywhere else. French entrepreneur Anne, founder of ‘Rothar’, (a bike repair&recycle company) also featured in ‘We Are Dublin’ is living proof of it. Volunteers are the core piece of her project, she says. Without them, nothing would be happening. All together, they create work opportunities, a ‘space to socialize’ for people who had it rough, and a healthy urban perspective.
Dublin was once celebrated by a sweet little movie that went big and far. ‘Rhinos’ is reminiscent of it in the best of ways. Dublin in several languages, struggling to communicate, communicating anyway. Irish boy meets German girl. They argue, laugh, go to the zoo, dance and confide in each other with headphones on in Towers Records (scenes of genuinely touching romance that remind but need not envy any bit of the disastrously happy Silver Linings Playbook). Leaving or staying, still and always.
Dublin in love again, in what could be an episode of a successful series around here : ‘No Messages’ introduces the barman next door, his boss, his crush, his heartaches. Knackers and pints, toilet wall philosophy, the delightfully familiar banter. It has to make one smile and get a rush of good old Dublin love right to the heart. Same thing for ‘Ten Thousand of Hours’ where cage contenders Paddy and Roddy speak their minds about life and fights. The adrenaline, the emotions and will power it all brings and takes. ‘If you spend ten thousand hours at something, you can’ suck at it’, Paddy asserts in his warm, thick accent. That’s also why we love’em Irish lads, innit ? I always say the Irish accent(s) resembles the Irish themselves. Fierce, bold, funny. Honest with a cheeky twist. ‘Horse In a Hole’was one of these twists, a very, VERY short glimpse of the Irish down-to-earth sense of humor. Old footage, nice doodling and a play on word that I won’t ruin for you, involving a horse and a hole.
Dublin the randomly endearingly,weird as we know it too, was well represented by the candy-colored ‘Happy Birthday, Dear Universe’ the last film showcased at the event. The monologue of a strange lonely fellow at a birthday party that I could only understand to be both his and the world’s, the latter coming to its end. A motivational speech if you will, about what one should do of their last day on earth, and the longing of not going through it alone. ‘RSVP, ASAP’ I hope many of you did last night or that you will take a look at all these short movies, some of which are already online. They will undoubtedly make you want to stay and embrace Dublin in all its glorious loudness and bright color, just sayin’.
After You (Written by Damien O’Connor / Produced by Steve Woods)
Home Turf (Produced by True Films)
Just Saying (Written & Directed by Dave Tynan)
No Messages (Written & Directed by Cian Mc Garrigle/ Produced by Eoin Lynch)
Ten Thousand Hours (Produced by CutStone Productions)
Horse in The Hole (Written & Directed by Denis McArdle / Illustrations by Alan Lambert Sound&Animation by Ben Keenan)
Rhinos (Written & Directed by Shimmy Marcus / Produced by Shimmy Marcus and Ciara Gillan)
We Are Dublin (Directed and Edited by Wissame Cherifi / Interviews by Saurya Cherifi)
Origin (Written by Matthew Darragh & James Stacey)
Happy Birthday, Dear Universe (Directed by Daniel Fieldhouse and Lauren Hatchard /
Screenplay by Lauren Hatchard / Produced by Olivia