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Eight Irish films to see after Easter

After Cillian Murphy and Poor Things‘ big night at the Oscars, 2024 has already been a great year for Irish screen talent – and there’s more to come. Here are some of the homegrown movies coming your way in the weeks and months ahead.

One Night in Millstreet – 5 April

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The story of Steve Collins’ legendary victory over WBO Super-Middleweight Champion Chris Eubank in Co Cork in March 1995 finally reaches the big screen, with the Audience Award at the Cork International Film Festival and the Best Documentary award at the Irish Film Festival London already in the bag. The trailer’s mix of heart, humour, and, of course, heavy hits says we’re in for some night all over again – one where you know what’s going to happen, but you’re still on the edge of your seat. “For younger audiences, it’s a glimpse into Ireland’s not-so-distant past with a cast who capture that ‘anything is possible’ spirit of the time,” promises director and co-writer Andrew Gallimore. Fighting talk worthy of front-row seats.

That They May Face the Rising Sun – 25 April

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We also haven’t long to wait for the film adaptation of the late John McGahern’s final novel. Directed by Pat Collins (Song of Granite, Silence, John McGahern: A Private World), That They May Face the Rising Sun stars Barry Ward and Anna Bederke as Joe and Kate Ruttledge, who leave 1970s London for the rural Ireland of Joe’s childhood. “It was my favourite of McGahern’s novels,” says director Collins. “I’ve met many people over the years who re-read it every year. Some re-read it just to remind themselves of Ireland at that particular time, and others re-read it just to step back into McGahern’s world. It’s almost like a place you go to.” And if ever a film trailer evoked the magic of a stretch in the evenings, it’s this one.

Eat/Sleep/Cheer/Repeat – 17 May

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There was a standing ovation at the recent Dublin International Film Festival for Eat/Sleep/Cheer/Repeat, and the trailer says plenty of people will have something in their eye when the documentary reaches Irish screens in May. It’s the story of the cheerleaders of Team Ireland and the victories, big and small, that happen on and off stage. Director Tanya Doyle (The House) promises we’re in for a coming-of-age charmer as young hearts run free. “Spending time with the members of Team Ireland was truly fantastic, and their openness and positivity made the whole process enjoyable,” she says. “They’re like a burst of energy, always living for the moment. Even after a 10-hour shooting day, I would come away feeling energised!”

TWIG – release date TBC

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Kin fans take note. Writer-director Marian Quinn relocates the Greek tragedy Antigone to inner city Dublin with rising star Sade Malone in the title role of the young hero who stands up to the local crime lord, played by the great Brían F O’Byrne. “This is a tale of a girl who dares to speak truth to power,” says director Quinn. “At the heart of TWIG, there is a fierce performance by a startling new talent, Sade Malone, in a breakout role. One of the joys of TWIG was discovering the young cast, whose chemistry was evident from the start, both on and off the screen. It’s a delight to witness the next generation of Irish talent debut here.”

The Flats – release date TBC

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This Belfast-set documentary has already taken the main honour, the Dox:Award, at the CPH:DOX festival in Copenhagen, marking the first time an Irish-produced film has won the top prize at the festival, one of the key documentary showcases in the world. Expect to hear a lot more about it in the months ahead. The Flats sees Italian director Alessandra Celesia sharing the lives of the nationalist community of New Lodge, with the film hailed by the CPH:DOX jury as “witty, multi-layered, profound, and provocative”. It’s all that and more. “I must admit, it was very difficult to pull it together,” says director Celesia. “I mean, the people are fantastic, but, obviously, it’s a process that they don’t know. I had to be patient to give them the time to be involved at the right time.” And how that patience has paid off.

King Frankie – release date TBC

No trailer/clips yet for this Peter Coonan-starring drama, which received its world premiere at the Dublin International Film Festival in February. Described as a “Celtic Tiger tale you have not seen”, it tells the story of a Dublin taxi driver who must face up to his past on the day of his father’s removal. “I hope people find a connection with Frankie and can take from his story,” says writer-director Dermot Malone, who is making his feature debut here. “Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Kneecap – release date TBC

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Billed as the biggest Irish film of 2024, this “origin story of the riotous and ground-breaking” Belfast rap trio of the same name is already a winner and then some. It scooped the much-coveted Audience Award at the world-famous Sundance Film Festival in January, where Sony Pictures Classics also ponied up for a worldwide deal as Irish-language cinema builds on the breakout success of An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl). “When I first set out to make a film in a language I didn’t speak, set in a place I’m not from, little could I have imagined four years later we would be introducing Kneecap the movie to the world at the Mecca of Independent cinema,” says writer-director Rich Peppiatt. “Ever since we arrived at Sundance, the sun has kept shining on this film.” And with Kneecap’s debut album Fine Art due in June, the brightest of days are still to come.

Small Things Like These – release date TBC

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With the Best Actor Oscar on the mantlepiece, the anticipation for Cillian Murphy’s next film – a reunion with Peaky Blinders director Tim Mielants – has gone into overdrive. This adaptation of Claire Keegan’s masterpiece of a bestseller sees Murphy in the role of New Ross coal merchant Bill Furlong, a man pondering past, present, and future as the Christmas bells chime in 1985. Small Things Like These – the first outing from Murphy’s production company Big Things Films with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Artists Equity also on board – had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. On the festival’s closing night, Murphy’s co-star Emily Watson won Best Supporting Performance. Whisper it: the Cork man could be facing into another awards season to remember…

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