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Song of Granite

A formally audacious account of the life and times of traditional Irish folk singer Joe Heaney, combining ‘fictional’ drama, documentary footage and musical sequences.


Dir Pat Collins
Prod Jessie Fisk, Alan Maher, Martin Paul-Hus
Scr Pat Collins, Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride, Sharon Whooley
With Macdara Ó Fátharta, Michael O’Chonfhlaola, Jaren Cerf
UK Distribution Thunderbird Releasing

Blending ‘fictional’ re-creation, archive footage and musical performance, Pat Collins’ formally inventive, engagingly impressionistic film about Irish folk singer Joe Heaney is no conventional biopic. Like Collins’ acclaimed Silence (LFF2012), Song of Granite is both audacious and perfectly accessible as it chronicles Heaney’s life from boyhood in 1940s Connemara, through urban hardship as a labourer in Britain, to fame and further exile in North America, from the mid-1960s to his death. More interested in questions of Irish identity and cultural legacy (the sparse dialogue is largely in Gaelic) than in biographical detail, Collins tends to avoid linear drama; once Joe leaves his native village, the narrative itself begins to fragment, as if mirroring his divided sense of self. Yet this tender but unsentimental film remains wholly coherent, thanks partly to the marvellous monochrome camerawork, partly to the music: unaccompanied, old as stone, authentically heartfelt.

Geoff Andrew

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Pat Collins, Director

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.

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