The Oral Irish, a compulsory language exam dreaded by secondary school students, is the subject of this short directed by Paul Mercier.
In a Dublin school, an examiner (Sean McGinley) meets a variety of students to test their proficiency in the Irish language. He encounters low levels of fluency but impressive levels of bravado as memorised answers are regurgitated with more gusto than comprehension. The process soon becomes a test not just for the students but for his patience.
He has just about given up hope when he encounters a troubled young man (Barry Ward) with a firm grasp of the language but little interest in the exam. The film provides a vivid reminder of state exams and Irish school life while packing a memorable emotional punch.
This film is part of Children on Film. To see more from the collection, click here.
With kind permission of Fiach Mac Conghail.
IFI recommendation: 10+