As is sometimes the
case, there has been a name change in this film's title prior to release. This
time it's to include the role of the character played by Andrea Corr of
the Corrs. It's now "The
Boys and Girl of County Clare." Click on the thumbnail on the
right to see the 2005 official movie poster.
There is an official site for
the film! BoysAndGirlFromCountyClare.com
Celtic Cafe community is thrilled that we can finally get to see the film in the
theaters, at least here in the U.S. Mark March 11th, 2005 on your calendar for
its "limited release," and expect to hear a LOT of that great traditional
Irish music that we so love around here! Word has it that the DVD will release
in North America this July -- surely a must-have in any Celtic music lover's collection!
the film review below to see why we are so excited about the soundtrack, and check
back here for news and information in the coming weeks.
The following is
our original feature, done at the time that the film premiered at the Toronto
International Film Festival in September of 2003.
Toronto International Film Festival
12 06:30 PM ROY THOMSON HALL
Saturday, September 13 09:30 AM UPTOWN 1
music festivals are very popular among fans here in the Celtic Cafe community,
and now we are fortunate to actually get a major film showcasing the "All-Ireland"
traditional music finals! Originally entitled "The Great Ceili War,"
the film, directed by John Irvin, produced by Evzen Kolar, and starring
Andrea Corr, has a new name: "The Boys From County Clare."
Andrea (tin whistle, lead vocals) and her siblings form the hugely popular group
"Set against a backdrop of traditional Irish music
in 1970s rural Ireland, this ensemble comedy drama centres around two brothers,
both fiddle players, who meet up again for the first time in twenty-five years
as band leaders and arch rivals in the finals of the All Ireland Ceili Band Competition,
the strict time music of jigs, reels and hornpipes played for set dancers.
both in their fifties, and with an old score to settle concerning their estrangement,
their story -- and that of those around them -- is a story of music, sabotage,
love and eventual forgiveness, of Montagues versus Capulets, and a pair of young
star-crossed lovers, both musicians in the rival bands."
player" character of Anne is Andrea Corr's first time as a lead in a film,
although we admire her work in previous, and much smaller roles, such as in "The
Commitments" (which also featured Ronan
Hardiman in a bit part with very long hair!) and opposite Madonna
in "Evita." Other leads in The Boys From County Clare include
Colm Meaney (Star Trek), Eamonn Owens (Angela's Ashes, Magdalene
Sisters, Butcher Boy) and Bernard Hill (Lord of the Rings).
following information comes by way of the Toronto
International Film Festival:
"The All-Ireland Traditional Music Competition is attracting the best musicians
from all over the country and a few from beyond the shores of the Emerald
Isle. As John Joe (Bernard Hill) and his band prepare to capture the ceilidh (pronounced
kay-lee) band trophy with their County Clare jigs and reels, ex-pat Irishman Jimmy
(Colm Meaney) bends his Liverpudlians away from jazz toward the time-honoured
strains of Celtic music. The Boys from County Clare salutes the spirit of this
musical tradition in a touching, gently comical tale foregrounding the family
feuds that wreak havoc behind the scenes of this battle of the bands.
the musicians make their way towards the competition, trouble rears its head for
both sets of challengers: the Liverpool Shamrock Ceilidh Band and the defending
champions from Clare. But there is more at work here than fate. At the heart of
this adversity lie the vengeful interventions of two estranged brothers, Jimmy
and John Joe; when they set eyes on each other for the first time in twenty years,
ancient rivalries are inflamed and the contest for the trophy develops a very
personal edge. Meanwhile, Clares star fiddler, Anne (the radiant music icon
Andrea Corr of The Corrs family band), chafes under her mothers strictures
against dating especially when her eye lands on Teddy (Shaun Evans), Liverpools
prodigious flute player. They are Eires answer to Romeo and Juliet: the
attraction is resoundingly mutual.
The film weaves these timeless themes
of discord star-crossed lovers, feuding brothers, narrow-minded parents
and rebellious children with the passion all the characters share for the
music they play. And, against a backdrop of amber-lit pubs, narrow streets and
sandy shores, the visuals keep pace with the melodious soundtrack and reflect
the honour and traditions at stake in the competition. This trophy stands for
more than just musical prowess."
Production Company: Studio
Hamburg WorldWide Pictures
Executive Producer: Martyn Auty, Steve Christian,
Anthony Rufus Isaacs, David Korda, Ellen Little, Jim Reeve, Dieter Stempnierwsky
Evzen Kolar, Wolfgang Esenwein, Ellen Dinerman Little
Cinematography: Thomas Burstyn
Editor: Ian Crafford
Designer: Tom McCullagh
Sound: John Warhurst
Principal Cast: Andrea Corr, Bernard Hill, Colm Meaney, Philip
Barantini, Shaun Evans, Charlotte Bradley
John Irvin was born in
Newcastle, England. He began his directing career with the BBC, where he made
the much-praised miniseries Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (79). Other
television work includes Robin Hood (91) and When Trumpets Fade
(98). Selected feature filmography: The Dogs of War (80), Ghost Story (81), Champions
(83), Turtle Diary (85), Raw Deal (86), Hamburger Hill (87), Next of Kin (89),
Eminent Domain (90), Free Fall (93), Widows Peak (94), the 1995 Festival
presentation A Month By the Lake (95), City of Industry (97), Shiner (00) and
The Boys from County Clare (03).
The Boys From County Clare is a
presentation of First Look Media
and Studio Hamburg WWP in association with the Isle Of Man Film Commission
and TPC Film Productions. Now a division of First Look Media, Overseas
Filmgroup will handle worldwide licensing for the film, and is one of the
few truly independent worldwide film distribution companies specializing in the
acquisition, financing, packaging and distribution of independently-produced feature
films of all genres.
One of their past films of special interest to the
Celtic Cafe is the very entertaining Waking Ned Devine -- if you haven't
yet seen it, do so!
Naturally we are extremely curious
about the MUSIC in this film! So far we know that the Corr's manager John Hughes
is involved, and Fiachra Trench, the composer whose bio at the Contemporary
Music Centre of Ireland reads as follows:
Fiachra Trench was born
in Dublin in 1941. He studied science at Trinity College, Dublin and composition
and organ at the Royal Irish Academy of Music with A. J. Potter and George Hewson.
He pursued further musical studies at the Universities of Georgia and Cincinnati
(where he gained an MMus degree) and, having been awarded the Macaulay Fellowship
by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, at the Guildhall School of Music
and Drama in London. From 1969 until 1991 he worked in London as composer, arranger,
musical director and record producer. Since returning to live in Ireland he has
worked principally in the area of music for film and television. His scores include
those for Dear Sarah, A Love Divided and the major BBC documentary series, Peoples
Century. He has collaborated with Shaun Davey, Michael Kamen, Hans Zimmer and
others on many film scores including Twelfth Night, Die Hard and Pearl Harbor.
Two of his orchestral works, MM: Symphonic Movement and Overture for Brass and
Percussion, have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland,
and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra has performed his Summer Suite (Five Pastiches
for Orchestra). As arranger/musical director he has worked with rock, pop and
folk performers including Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, The Corrs and The Chieftains.
He is musical director and pianist with the Carmel McCreagh Band.
MUSIC IN THE FILM:
Philip Begley - Engineer
Caitriona Walsh - Contracted
Paddy Glackin - Band leader/fiddle
Seamus Glackin - Fiddle
McGrattan - Flute/Whistles
Harry Bradley - Flute/Whistles
John Regan - Button Accordion
Seamus Meehan - Piano Accordion
Bridgeman - Drums
Pádraic Mac Mathúna - Pipes
Hugh Webb - Celtic Harp
Fiachra Trench - Solo Piano
Recorded at Beechpark Studios, Rathcoole, County Dublin
We had a Celtic Cafe
representative at the Toronto Film Festival to give us a first look at the film.
Here is the "report back," thanks to Pat
Simmonds of Toronto (www.spraoi.ca):
Boys From the County Clare.
This unassuming film landed at the Toronto
Film Festival utterly bereft of the hype associated with the much-lauded Hollywood
blockbusters that swagger their way into town but after its Gala performance with
a standing ovation that one jaded hack described as "the most spontaneous
reaction to a film that I've seen this year," this little film was dancing
jigs and reels around the competition. Certainly the press conference the following
day was one of the more lively and interesting engagements in the festival --
everyone wanted to know about this thing called "Irish Traditional Music."
And Irish Traditional Music they got. From the opening to the closing,
the film revolved around music. A film where Irish Music was not the evocative
mood setter in the background (see shot of rolling green hills with pipes playing
slowly) but was presented up front and centre in its rightful place, in yer
face. We had a series of tune sets linked together by the plot. Two estranged
brothers, one in Ireland and one in England who are both maintaining the traditional
music of their youth, go head-to-head in the Ceilidh Band Competition. The prestige
associated with leading a successful band may be lost to some viewers, but believe
me, the prize is huge so there's all to play for. Wrapped up in the skulduggery
and shenanigans are the subplots, a slighted woman and her daughter of undetermined
parentage, a couple of American hippies distributing a bit of free love around
Ireland, an affair of the heart between rival band members and a vague sense that
all is not what it seems but running through the whole piece is the central theme
of music, music and more music with musicians' insatiable appetites for tunes,
tunes and more tunes.
The film can best be described as a gentle comedy
although some of the comedic moments were far from gentle, I was creasing myself
laughing at one point. Be prepared to brush up on English football in the 1960s,
the art of uilleann piping, the application of the word "feck" and a
whole raft of other wonderfully subtle references. The acting is animated and
the script is tight. Colm Meaney is great in his portrayal of the cynical and
acerbic Irish construction magnate and perfectly matched by Bernard Hill as the
quietly unassuming brother who stayed at home on the farm. Charlotte Bradley's
"pinched look" as the love interest that never was between the rival
brothers is a gloriously maintained effort and Andrea Corr acquits herself well
as the daughter looking to come out from under her mother's wings. Philip Barantini
and Shaun Evans put in great work as a couple of Jack-the-lad Liverpuddlian musicians
coming of age in a most unlikely place.
One could be picky and tackle
the film on some issues. Clearly none of the lead actors could play an instrument
so some of the continuity aspects were lacking and the music was obviously tinged
with a Donegal flavour, quite different from Clare's lightly swinging lilt but
enough of that. It's theatre.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable theatre-going
experience and I would be surprised if this film doesn't become the sleeper hit
that it deserves to be both on the big screen and in the home entertainment market.
Fans of Irish Traditional Music will have a field day spotting the cameo roles
in the sessions and on the competition stage but you don't have to be fan to get
the film. The theme of sibling rivalry and love's ability to transcend it is a
universal story and that is what binds this film but be warned, you will find
yourself humming tunes in odd places for the next month.
We'll have much more about The Boys From County Clare
later, so please check back!
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