THE IRISH PUB | MOVIE REVIEW

THE IRISH PUB was made for Kernel Andrew to review. If you have a wine movie you send me, if you have a beer movie, you send the beer obsessed connoisseur, and Andrew is this man. I RSVPd for him to review this film without even asking, just knew he would squeal like a teenager (or me) at a 1D concert at the chance to be closer to beer, oddly he reviewed this at home while I was at a boutique beer bowling club sampling a huge bunch of different beers and getting slaughtered, great day Sunday was :). THE IRISH PUB, is screening as part of the WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL that is screening in Sydney from today, November 17th to the 23rd at Dendy Opera Quays and in Canberra from 24th to 30th November at Dendy Canberra. The lineup is awesome and we have five reviews coming for you that started yesterday with our review of DOMESTIC. Suss their website, grab some tickets and see some amazing European films that will most likely not make the cinema circuit in Australia. THE IRISH PUB is made by Atom Films, has a festival exemption rating and runs for 75mins, if you see it at the festival you also get a free Guinness, it is nearly worth it for that alone :). Enjoy Andrew’s review……all the best…..JK.

 

THE IRISH PUB MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE IRISH PUB | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

Most cultures at some point have celebrated the social celebration of inebriation (ooh I like how that sounded). Russians, Germans and our Australian culture not only celebrate drinking but also houses where this occurs socially. But no culture on the planet has this social experience as ingrained in their culture as the Irish. There are many novels, plays and songs that celebrate the Irish experience with the “public house” or “pub”. THE IRISH PUB is a documentary that celebrates this fact. The pub is such a vital part of the Irish psyche that no matter where the Irish have travelled, to England, Europe, the Americas and down here to Australia and New Zealand this part of their culture has travelled with them. It is as sure as their love of a laugh and their genius for music. For this reason I believe THE IRISH PUB is an important documentary to understand such a vital part of the culture.

The reason is pretty obvious. With much of the World becoming homogenised, borders growing ever more flexible and geography and distance shrinking, the traditional Irish pub is an important remnant and link back to culture. Such an important link back that it seems that drinking is incidental. Most of the dozens of pubs featured in this documentary are old (many are 200+ years old). But it’s not a documentary about the bricks and mortar. It’s about the village, the society that is created and the characters that create them. It’s also about the publican who owns them and the music and conversation which effortlessly flows through them, much like the Guiness.

 

THE IRISH PUB MOVIE IMAGE
THE IRISH PUB | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | IRISH PUB PEOPLE

 

The public houses biggest draw card is lively conversation — known on the Emerald Isle as “the craic”. Director Alex Fegan fits in perfectly with this concept. He has a very easy going style about him. There is no flash or tricks here. Rather much like the long meandering conversations you can have over a jar (the Irish slang for a pint) the movie moves just as hypnotically from interview to interview. His approach to THE IRISH PUB is very low touch. He allows the publicans and customers time to tell their stories. In fact you can’t ever hear the question being asked. There are pauses and silences which never seem too overlong but rather like a conversation with an old friend over a beer seem just right.

Paul Gartlan who runs Gartlans in Kingscourt underlines this point. He really is the strong silent type. Often times he says a few words and then stands with his arms folded thinking almost giving you time to respond through the screen or perhaps to think about what has just been said. Another highlight is former Republic of Ireland player and manager Eoin Hand singing a traditional Irish song which is quite haunting in John B Keane’s a pub in Listowel.

 

THE IRISH PUB MOVIE IMAGE
THE IRISH PUB | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | IRISH PUB PEOPLE

 

But it seems every public house has something unique going on inside its walls. The pubs all have great names, my two favourites being “Dingle” and “Newbliss”. They all seem to be a focal point in the small villages and towns in which they reside, but we also are shown pubs in Dublin which seem to replicate that village town centre feel as well. Fegan presents the viewer with a kind of travelogue typically seen on Lifestyle or Travel Channel shows. But there is more substance in it. There is a deep vein of ethnography mixed in with the gorgeous locations and characters. You may soon realise that THE IRISH PUB isn’t just about pubs but really about the rich soul of the Irish people. A people who are prone to long conversation filled with humour than they are to drinking or so it seems. Every pub has their characters and we are treated to many funny and occasionally tall tales about the local barflies which have frequented their walls. A favourite tale is the story of one old barfly now long dead who asked the publican to place his hat over his barstool on the ceiling. This would allow him to share the pint with every person that would sit in his chair. There is a kind of magic to that which is hard to place.

 

THE IRISH PUB MOVIE IMAGE
THE IRISH PUB | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | IRISH PUB PEOPLE

 

Perhaps the best summary is given by Billy Keane. He is the proprietor of a pub in Listowel that bears the name of his father, literary legend John B. Keane. His summary hits to the heart of the role of the pub in Irish society as a place to unburden oneself.

“It’s like a safety valve for the population of Ireland,” Keane says. “We probably have less psychologists than any other country in the world. But there’s probably no country in the world who needs them more.”

THE IRISH PUB strays a little in the middle but it is a joy to watch from start to finish. It tells its story effortlessly – which obviously took a lot of hard work – and it’s a hugely engaging piece of people-watching.

If you have ever enjoyed a jar in a public house go and watch this. And if you haven’t what on earth is wrong with you? THE IRISH PUB is a solid film about the real Ireland that we all know and love. I have never been to Ireland but when I do, I am booking a bus and travelling around the country stopping at every pub. You never know what wisdom, people, music or entertainment you will find.

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

 

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