Yeats Country – Lenny Abrahamson Filmmaker Playlist
Our inaugural playlist, curated by director Lenny Abrahamson – renowned for his multi-Academy Award nominated Room (2015) and acclaimed independent films like Adam & Paul (2004), Garage (2007), What Richard Did (2012) and Frank (2014) – visits the Irish Film Institute to select his top picks of materials preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive from the IFI Archive Player.
The films he has selected—from early stop-motion playfulness in Clock Tower Animation (1910s) to homemade sci-fi/horror by cinema-enthusiasts the Spence twins – span decades and counties, but all demonstrate a fascination and experimentation with film and story-telling that informs his unique way of seeing the world.This lyrical film was commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs to commemorate the centenary of the birth of W.B. Yeats in 1865. It was the first Irish film by cinematographer and director Patrick Carey, who was renowned for his beautiful landscape films. An ambitious work, Carey uses direct quotations from Yeats’ writing to illustrate the countryside the poet knew so well. The film takes the viewer on a journey around places with which the poet had a connection: Thoor Ballylee Castle, where Yeats made his home after marriage, and Coole Park, home of Lady Gregory where literary figures of the period met. Lissadell House, Knocknarea Mountain, the slopes of Ben Bulben, the waterfall at Glencar, and the Drumcliffe churchyard where Yeats is buried, are all featured. Made for the Department of Foreign Affairs it won many awards including the Golden Bear in Berlin, and awards also in Chicago, Barcelona, Santa Barbara, before finally gaining an Academy Award nomination in 1965.