Older than Ireland – Film Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Alex Fegan
Starring: Thirty of Irelands oldest citizens
In cinemas September 25th
With the Anniversary of the 1916 Rising almost upon us we are somewhat bombarded with documentaries about Ireland’s history but none of them have the unique take that this offering does. Thirty of Ireland’s centenarians recall 100 years of life in this country as witnessed by themselves. Pretty much the only thing they all have in common is their age as all have lived wildly different lives which is what makes this such a fascinating watch. Although they all lived through the same period of history they all have their own take on it so you get a broad overview of 100 years of change rather than just one person’s interpretation of events.
While living to 100 is in itself a remarkable achievement some of these people’s accomplishments will leave you amazed. All of them have interesting stories to tell and you will find yourself laughing, crying and everything in between as they recall the events of their lives. The entire social spectrum is covered and it’s fascinating to see how differently they all lived.
Beginning with them recalling their first pair of shoes we are taken on a journey through our civil war, Bloody Sunday, the troubles and many other significant moments of Ireland’s history. Although some of the participants are quite frail they are still as sharp as a tack and it is fascinating to hear their experiences of events that most of us have only read about. Obviously with such longevity comes some loss and many of the most poignant moments of this documentary are when the subjects discuss their now departed loved ones and spouses.
While all are wonderful my personal favourite was Bessie Nolan from Drimnagh who is 103 and who may well be my new hero. Still a glamourpuss she tells it like it is about the youth of today and is matter of fact about her ups and downs. I guarantee you will want her to be your best friend after seeing this.
Director Fegan’s debut offering The Irish Pub gave us a wry snapshot of Irish life and here he has once again managed to convey our culture and history in a charming and accessible way. The subjects all really opened up to him and the result is a refreshingly honest and heartfelt look at some remarkable people and times. This beautiful film that gives some wonderful insights into Irish life while tugging at your heartstrings and it’s sure to find a lot of fans.