Cine Gael returns to
in-person movies at Concordia
Film series features Montreal-born Matt Bissonnette’s Death of a Ladies’ Man
By Byron Toben
April 21, 2022
Montreal’s Cine Gael Irish film series, which had an abbreviated presentation in 2020 and an imported virtual showing in 2021 due to the pandemic, resumed its in-person showings on April 8, 2022, with a Canada-Ireland co-production called Death of a Ladies’ Man. This marked the 30th season of the series, which had begun in 1992 as the apparently third Irish annual film festival in the world and the first outside Ireland itself.
As the audience filed in, the screen displayed a Cine Gael retrospective prepared by computer manager extraordinaire Antoine Maloney depicting Cine Gael’s history and highlights over the years.
This marked the 30th season of the series, which had begun in 1992 as the apparently third Irish annual film festival in the world and the first outside Ireland itself.
Instead of the usual season subscription or individual sales for nine shows and two “galas” after the opening and closing choices, this opening was free but urged voluntary donations to support beleaguered Ukraine. Seventy-three persons attended Concordia University’s 90-seat de Sève Cinema and donated about $1,070.
The comedy-drama film was directed by Montreal-born Matt Bissonnette who flew in to attend and introduce the screening.
Gabriel Byrne stars as a literature professor in Montreal who has hallucinations due to an inoperable brain tumour. One recurrent imagining is his deceased father, Brian Gleeson, who gives advice from the beyond. Jessica Pare plays the most prominent of his various liaisons.
Seven Leonard Cohen songs are used throughout the film, which is presented in three parts, part two being the one filmed in Ireland.
‘Gabriel Byrne stars as a literature professor in Montreal who has hallucinations due to an inoperable brain tumour.’
Lots of surrealistic scenes, often mocking death, made this film unique. It is available on-demand on the Internet.
Although not mentioned in the film, Leonard Cohen had at least one concert in Ireland in 2013. I believe he included Kevin Barry, dedicated to the 18-year-old rebel hanged in 1920 for his participation in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. I am not sure if he sang it in English or Gaelic, as I am informed the great Paul Robeson earlier did, on his own Irish tour.
Cine Gael continues on April 22 with Griffintown: A People’s History and The Irishman – Child of the Gael.
Image: Death of a Ladies’ Man, courtesy of Cine Gael
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.