Dingle International Film Festival (Dingle IFF) is proud to present Jim Sheridan’s latest and greatest film, THE SECRET SCRIPTURE (2016), which will be screening in The Phoenix Cinema on Sunday 26th March. The film showcases a fantastic, internationally-renowned cast and an exceptional script from Sheridan and the late Johnny Ferguson. THE SECRET SCRIPTURE is the perfect film to close this year’s festival, and a brilliant return to Irish storytelling for Jim Sheridan.

The film is adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name by Sebastian Barry (who was recently awarded the Costa Book of the Year prize for Days Without End, becoming the first novelist to win this prestigious prize twice.) THE SECRET SCRIPTURE tells the story of an elderly woman, Rose, who keeps a diary of her extended stay at a psychiatric institution. Rose is convicted of murdering her newborn child, but proclaims her innocence. She recounts the story of her life during the events of Irish religious and political upheaval during the first half of the 20th century, which leads to her incarceration.

THE SECRET SCRIPTURE is a deeply moving story in an environment where female sexuality and independence unsettles the patriarchies of church and nationalist politics. The cultural context of the time brings much contemporary social relevance—one of the film’s stars, Vanessa Redgrave, comments on the film’s dark appraisal of Irish history: “Governments  have  been  mainly  responsible,  Churches have been responsible; I wonder who spoke out and protested against these crimes during the 30s, 40s, and 50s for instance? A tragic story, but it’s true. Truth should be told.”

The cast of SECRET SCRIPTURE are all immediately recognizable from the world of cinema, and they deliver authentic portrayals in this harrowing tale of injustice and deceit:

  • Rooney Mara plays the younger Rose. Mara has been nominated for two Academy Awards: for CAROL (2015), and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011). Mara has also appeared in many box-office and critical hits, such as THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010), SIDE EFFECTS (2013), and HER (2013).
  • Vanessa Redgrave plays the older Rose. Redgrave is a six-time Academy Award nominee, winning ‘Best Actress in a Supporting Role’ for JULIA (1977). Her other memorable credits include: HOWARD’S END (1992), MORGAN: A SUITABLE CASE OF TREATMENT (1966), ISADORA (1968), MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (1971), THE BOSTONIANS (1974), MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974), ATONEMENT (2007), THE BUTLER (2013), and the television films BELLA MAFIA (1997) and THE GATHERING STORM (2002).
  • Jack Reynor plays Michael Eneas, a local air force pilot who forms a relationship with Rose. Reynor, a rising Irish star, won an IFTA in 2016 for ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film’ for SING STREET (2016), and won an IFTA  for ‘Best Actor – Film’ for WHAT RICHARD DID (2012). His other screen credits include MACBETH (2015), TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (2014), and GRASSLAND (2014).
  • Theo James plays Father Gaunt, a young priest who struggles to keep his vows. James achieved international attention with his role in THE DIVERGENT SERIES (2014-2016). He has also starred in the UNDERWORLD FILM SERIES (2012-2016), and the television series GOLDEN BOY (2013).
  • Eric Bana plays Dr. William Grene, a sympathetic psychiatrist. Bana has worked on numerous Hollywood productions since his spectacular breakthrough role in CHOPPER (2000). These films include: MUNICH (2005), STAR TREK (2009), BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001), HULK (2003), TROY (2004), and THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE (2009).
  • Aidan Turner plays Jack McNulty. Turner is a popular Irish character actor, who starred in the films: THE HOBBIT SERIES (2012-2014), and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES (2013). He is also prolific in television, playing lead roles in THE CLINIC (2008-2009), BEING HUMAN (2009-2011), and POLDARK (2015—), for which he was nominated for an IFTA in 2016 for ‘Best Actor in a Lead Role in Drama’.
  • Susan Lynch plays a nurse at the institution. Her commendable catalogue of film performances include: WAKING NED (1998), FROM HELL (2000), NORA (2000), and 16 YEARS OF ALCOHOL (2003), for which she won an IFTA for ‘Best Supporting Actress’, and a British Independent Film Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’
  • Tom Vaughn-Lawlor plays a local IRA leader. His latest film performance is in Bryan Cranston’s THE INFILTRATOR (2016). His memorable Irish television roles are LOVE/HATE (2010-2014) as Nidge, for which he won an IFTA in 2013 for ‘Best Television Actor’; and CHARLIE (2015), as former Taoiseach Charles Haughey’s political advisor, P.J. Mara.

THE SECRET SCRIPTURE marks a triumphant return to Jim Sheridan’s list of strong Irish narratives. Following a distinguished career in the theatre between the 1960s and the 1980s, Sheridan wrote and directed many films that have achieved acclaim all over the world. His films have garnered sixteen Academy Award nominations, winning two—‘Best Actor’ for Daniel Day Lewis in MY LEFT FOOT (1989), and ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for Brenda Fricker in MY LEFT FOOT (1989). Sheridan himself has been nominated for six Academy Awards:

  • ‘Best Director’ for MY LEFT FOOT (1989)
  • ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for MY LEFT FOOT (1989)
  • ‘Best Picture’ for IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (1993)
  • ‘Best Director’ for IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (1993)
  • ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (1993)
  • ‘Best Original Screenplay’ for IN AMERICA (2003)

Jim was interested in directing THE SECRET SCRIPTURE because it brought him back to the traditional Irish roots of many of his older films, as well as his own upbringing—“I was impressed with the mother/child relationship, the fact that the mother would never let the child go and at the same time the child could be dead, which reflected things in my own life.” He was also delighted at the opportunity of working with an incredible screen presence like Vanessa Redgrave—“Vanessa is a force of nature and, strong-willed and knows what she wants … Everything she says is true. She’s amazing on screen.”

THE SECRET SCRIPTURE efficiently captures the spectacular rural Irish landscape of Sligo, Kilkenny, and Dublin, where the film was shot by acclaimed cinematographer Mikhail Krichman. “Mikhail  is  just amazing. He’s  a true artist  and  brings  a  fantastic  visual  sense  but  also  a  sense  of  grandeur”, says Jim Sheridan.

Early reviews of THE SECRET SCRIPTURE show that Jim Sheridan is continuing to make strong films, and this one is sure to be hailed a classic in Irish film history:

  • Rooney Mara and Theo James deliver their most richly nuanced screen work to date in this drama … the director and his behind-the-camera collaborators evoke Yeats Country with a strong sense of place (the film was shot partly in Sligo, but also in Dublin and Kilkenny) … Sheridan, reuniting with producer Noel Pearson (My Left Foot, The Field), shapes the drama with a sure grasp of the injustice that courses through Rose’s story.”  The Hollywood Reporter
  • “…showcases Mikhail Krichman’s breathtaking cinematography”
  • “Sheridan directs with the confident touch of an old pro, and he couldn’t have asked for a better cast.”

This film is sure to be a brilliant close to this year’s festival. So be sure to come to Dingle and see inside THE SECRET SCRIPTURE.

There is also much more on offer during this screening to help make our closing night as special as possible. A ticket to this screening will also include:

  • A Dingle Distillery reception
  • The screening of the exceptional short film An Mhallacht, the winner of our 2016 Físín competition for scriptwriting in the Irish language.
  • One of the most promising young Irish actors in the international film and television industry, Art Parkinson (GAME OF THRONES, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, SAN ANDREAS), will present the Físín award for this year’s competition before the screening.
  • The Festival Awards for ‘Best Feature’ and ‘Best Short’ will be announced before the screening.

The Dingle International Film Festival will run March 23-26, 2017. Housed within a Gaeltacht area, Dingle IFF is proud to promote the Irish language and is the only festival offering an award for Irish Script writing with its Físín event. Dingle is home to many filmmakers, one of Ireland’s only independent cinemas, is a known film location (Star Wars, Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away) and a major tourist destination making it the perfect home for our festival.

For information click HERE 

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