20220925 164448

‘The Black Guelph’ Review: A Bleakly Compelling Irish Drama of Abuse and Repercussions

thehourlynews 3 weeks ago 0
20220925 164448

In the black gulf, John Connors, said to be the first filmmaker to come from the ethnocultural group called Irish Travellers, dramatizes the scourge of child sexual abuse, imagining a dense tapestry of pain in which a priest’s victimization of a child becomes on enough crime, addiction and anger over decades to ruin a small community. Intriguing characters and elements of police fiction keep the film from being a slog, but there isn’t much hope here, especially for the victims who, due to bribes and court-ordered silence, are never able to share their trauma with anyone. an outraged public.

Commercial prospects may be somewhat hurt by the film’s unnecessarily obscure title, whose reference to 14th-century Italian history will be lost on most viewers unless they have access to the producers’ notes (which also explain, more or less, the meaning of drawing characters). dante names Hell). The (clearly unintended) implication is that such comparisons are necessary to lend gravity to the intense and well-known pain of victims of Catholic priests. But the action of the film says exactly what it means, without the need for literary or historical references.

the black gulf

The bottom line

Effective and well woven.

Event: Oldenburg Film Festival
To emit: Graham Earley, Paul Roe, Tony Doyle, Denise McCormack, Laura Larkin, John Connors, Kevin Glynn, Casey Walsh
Director: John Connors
Writers: John Connors Tiernan Williams

2 hours 5 minutes

Graham Earley plays Kanto, the leader of a small group of drug dealers in an unnamed seaside town. Estranged from his wife for reasons he might expect, he is genuinely heartbroken, especially at being deprived of his young daughter, but unable to fix the personal mess that got him kicked out.

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Meanwhile, Kanto’s absentee father Dan (Paul Roe) arrives in town (perhaps fresh out of jail) and begins occupying an abandoned orphanage. We will learn that this was his childhood home; that he has come in the hope of ending the shame endured by his time here. He befriends Virgil (Tony Doyle), an astrophysics college student who comes to the property in the dark to see more with his telescope. The young man takes him to the ship he calls home, where her mother Beatrice (Denise McCormack, who plays an addict trying to stay clean) offers as much hospitality as she can.

No one connects the dots, but Bea is an occasional customer of Dan’s son. And she’s about to suffer for it: Kanto owes money to a powerful local thug (played by the director), and he’ll soon be making the rounds bullying those who owe him money. (An encounter with another useless father, who abuses his own wife and neglects his son when Kanto comes to collect, inspires a rare moment of clarity for the gangster, showing him everything the film wants to communicate.)

Dan has also returned to town to resolve legal issues stemming from his abuse. A very ugly court scene shows the defense trying to discredit him, citing his criminal record as proof that he cannot be trusted. Without dwelling on it, Roe (the poignant standout in a uniformly strong cast) shows how this encounter with deceitful authority leaves Dan feeling as helpless and ashamed as he did when he was a child.

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Knowing things about oneself is not the same as being able to put knowledge into action. Dan’s efforts to make amends with his son and connect with caring strangers seem doomed. Too much time has passed for the 50-year-old, and his son has learned the lessons of neglect too well to change. Would it help these people, or the countless real victims they represent, if the details of every crime were made public and all institutions held accountable for the criminals they protected? Real justice is impossible to deliver at this point. But in Dan’s actions, the film wants to see hope that we can at least prevent the damage from spreading to the next generation. As unsatisfying as it may be, it is far better than what we get from secret cash deals and quiet impunity.

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