Foscadh, a new Irish language film, has hit theatres across Ireland and it is a beautiful masterpiece.
Directed by Seán Breathnach, Foscadh follows the story of a man in his late 20s named John who deals with loneliness after his mother passes away. It is implied that John is neurodivergent throughout the film as we see him struggle with social relations, but it is never confirmed. After he is assaulted, John spends time in hospital where he meets Dave (Cillian O Gairbhi) and his nurse Siobháin (Fionnuala Flaherty). As the story progresses, we see the film deal with themes like masculinity, loneliness, sex, and money with the wild mountains of Connemara as the backdrop.
The film is based on characters from Donal Ryan’s novel The Thing About December and the main character John Cunliffe is brought to life by Connemara local Dónall Ó Héalaí. Dónall delivers a brilliant performance, perfecting John’s awkward but charming stature. Ros na Rún’s Macdara Ó Fátharta also gives a stunning act in this film as Paddy, a friend of the family who helps John with his lands.
The fact the film is delivered in Irish is one of the draws as to why people have been going to see it. However, the film masterfully captures the language without ever commenting on its’ existence. We see the natural Connemara way of speaking Irish with English words thrown in the odd time. We also see them make use of words we wouldn’t see used in your Irish textbooks which makes the film feel all the more authentic. The Irish language is just a normal part of life for these characters which is refreshing to see as the nation continues its conflict with preserving our ancestral language.
Foscadh means shelter in Irish which aptly captures the essence of the film as we see John battle with the dilemma of selling his land. He finds solace in his home, but he feels trapped by the isolation is brings. The film makes use of the stunning Connemara landscape for its cinematography, often used to emphasis John’s loneliness as he stands alone among the vast expanse.
Irish filmmaking has come a long way in recent decades however films in the Irish language are still a new addition to the scene. With films of this calibre hitting our screens, it shows the unlocked potential that awaits in our very own Gaeltacht areas.
There is a saying in Irish that goes “An rud is annamh is iontach” which means the thing that is rare is brilliant. However, in this instance I believe the saying is incorrect. Films like this should take up a space in Irish media as they are too brilliant to be rare.
Foscadh is available to see in Pálás and the Eye Cinema in Galway.