Ireland’s Foreign Language Oscar Entry, Song of Granite, Released in Irish Cinemas Friday, 8 December
Following a string of stellar reviews, Pat Collins' Song of Granite, based on the life of the traditional Irish sean-nós singer, Joe Heaney, is released in Irish cinemas this Friday, 8 December.
Directed by Collins (Silence), Song of Granite was co-written by Pat Collins, Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde and Sharon Whooley, and produced by Alan Maher, Jessie Fisk and Martin Paul-Hus. The film, which premiered to critical acclaim at the SXSW Film Festival in US earlier this year, is Ireland’s submission to the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
Enigmatic and complex, Joe Heaney was one of the greats of traditional Irish singing. Shaped by the myths, fables and songs of his upbringing in the west of Ireland, his emergence as a gifted artist came at a personal cost. Featuring performances from Lisa O'Neill, Damien Dempsey, Seamus Begley and sean nós singers Micheál O'Confhaola and Pól Ó Ceannabháin, the film is an intense exploration of music and song. With an approach that marries traditional narrative episodes with documentary footage, the film celebrates the music of Joe Heaney while painting an unflinching portrait of Heaney, the man.
Following its SXSW world premiere earlier this year, IndieWire praised the title for breathing new life into the musical biopic genre and observed how Collins’ mastery of black-and-white photography lends the film “a timeless quality that it needs to bridge three generations.” More recently, industry bible Variety called the film a “stirring, solemn ode”, noting how at times “Collins’ filmmaking takes on the intensity and intentness of prayer” in what mounts to be an “elegiac evocation of the spirit of Heaney.”
The Hollywood Reporter called the film a "boldly experimental portrait" of Heaney, saying "If Andrei Tarkovsky had grown up in rural Ireland, he might have made a biographical cine-memoir as luminously beautiful as Song of Granite." In a five star review, RTÉ Culture called the film "a work of genius."
The project is supported by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, BAI, TG4 and with the financial participation of Société de Développement Des Entreprises Culturelles – Québec, Telefilm Canada.
Song of Granite is a Marcie Films, Amerique Film production with Harvest Films, South Wind Blows, Roads Entertainment. Oscilloscope are releasing the film in the US, and Thunderbird in the UK and Canada, and Wildcard in Ireland.