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Home / News / Berlinale’s red carpet goes green for Cillian Murphy

Berlinale’s red carpet goes green for Cillian Murphy

On the Berlinale’s red carpet last night, songs from U2, The Dubliners, The Pogues and Thin Lizzy blared from the loudspeakers.

It was a nice gesture from the organisers to mark the first-ever Irish film to open the prestigious festival.

Teenage Kicks by The Undertones accompanied guests as they arrived in exclusive Uber taxis.

Perhaps the German producer running the playlist had a love of 1980s Irish rock and trad.

The beautifully dressed had come to see Small Things Like These, an adaptation of Claire Keegan’s novella of the same name, starring and co-produced by Oscar-nominee Cillian Murphy.

Cillian Murphy, Clare Dunne, Tim Mielants, Eileen Walsh, Emily Watson, Liadan Dunlea and Zara Devlin on the red carpet at the 74th Berlin Film Festival

For two hours, the stars and auteurs of world cinema posed for teams of press photographers.

It was all very uber cool.

But there was a political hue to this year’s opening night of the festival too.

In a planned demonstration, coordinated with the festival, about 40 representatives from the film industry formed a human chain across the length of the red carpet, shouting “defend democracy”.

Filmmakers join a protest for democracy, diversity and peaceful togetherness during the Small Things Like These

Earlier in the day, at the festival’s opening conference, journalists had quizzed the festival’s organisers for their recent decision, and subsequent u-turn, to invite elected representatives of Germany’s far-right AfD party.

In recent weeks, mass demonstrations have taken place in German cities to protest against the AfD after a report by German investigative outlet Correctiv revealed the party’s secret plan to mass deport people of non-German origin, should it ever come to power.

The planned “defend demonstration” on last night’s red carpet was clearly an effort by the festival’s organisers to make amends for inviting the AfD to attend in the first place.

Politics aside, people had come to the Berlinale for a good time.

And to watch some great films.

Irish cinema is appreciated here.


Watch: Cillian Murphy says there is “an incredible amount of talent” in Ireland

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Two years ago, An Cailín Ciúin made its world premiere at the festival and won the top prize in the Generation category.

Speaking to RTÉ, the Berlinale’s Artistic Director, Carlo Chatrian, said: “Small Things Like These is a quiet film that goes deep into our hearts. There is a great actor as its lead, but also a very strong cast ensemble.”

He added: “It brings a little colour of your country, which I think is dear to everyone.”

As is customary, the cast and filmmakers behind Small Things Like These were the last to arrive.

Cillian Murphy posed for a few shots in a long, sleek brown jacket, reminiscent of Thomas Shelby’s wardrobe, the iconic character he played in Peaky Blinders.

Murphy, who stars as Billy Furlong in the movie, told RTÉ earlier in the day that he was “emotionally knocked out” by the story of a Magdalene Laundry in smalltown Ireland in the 1980s.


Watch: Cillian Murphy ’emotionally knocked out’ by new film

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The Cork native, who will go head-to-head with Barry Keoghan in the Best Actor category at this Sunday’s BAFTAs, added: “It’s a lot to take on, it’s certainly a collective trauma we’re all processing. My generation and an older generation, it is still something we are trying to figure out.

“Books and art and film can be a balm to that wound more than government reports or academic papers.”

Emily Watson, who plays Sister Mary in the film, told RTÉ that Small Things Like These was a “moment of reckoning” and that it was a “generational thing of people turning around and saying no, we are not doing that any more”.

She went on to say that she “loves working in Ireland” and was very excited about starring alongside Murphy.

Also on the red carpet were Clare Dunne and Liadan Dunlea who play Sister Carmel and Kathleen in the big-screen adaptation of Keegan’s 2021 Booker Prize-nominated novel.

Dunne told RTÉ that the movie “tells a very important story but in a very unusual way”. Dunlea added that it was a “tragic story, but that you come away feeling hopeful about what it is trying to say”.

Small Things Like These will hopefully be in Irish cinemas later this year.

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