Starting tonight and continuing through June 3rd, the Museum of Modern Art here in aamchi NY is launching Revisiting The Quiet Man: Ireland on Film, a festival curated by Ireland’s cultural ambassador and fellow New Yorker Gabriel Byrne, with the intention of examining how Irish identity has been presented on film. (If you caught him on today’s Leonard Lopate show on WNYC, you will have heard him express the same sentiment oft-repeated by Mira Nair (who directed him in Vanity Fair): “If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will“, though I think the star of HBO’s acclaimed In Treatment would add words to the effect of “…, or someone else will tell them badly.”)
The fourteen films from and about Ireland to be shown over the next two weeks have been selected by Byrne to further the discussion of themes such as the immigrant’s sense of home, politics, religion, the role of women and Irish identity, all which the actor and writer observed to be present in the opening film - which he will introduce tonight – The Quiet Man. Yes, that movie with John Wayne and that “fiery redhead” Maureen O’Hara shot in Ireland that you may have caught on one St. Patrick’s Day or another, as that’s usually when it’s aired in the U.S.
Right after, on Saturday and Sunday (May 21st & 22nd) there will be a screening of Dreaming the Quiet Man, a documentary exploring the legacy of the John Ford film.
It’s a great line-up, a mix of titles from the past 30 years or so that you may recognize – The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Into the West, In the Name of the Father, The Dead - and older and perhaps lesser known films from before then - The Informer, This Other Eden.
We’re so fortunate to have a chance to view and discuss them all for the next fortnight. (I’ve seen and own Into the West, The Dead and In the Name of the Father, but I would still happily watch them again on the big screen.)