Small Country, Big Films: How Ireland excelled in 2022

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Ríbh Earls details how the success of Irish talent in film and television throughout 2022 proves Irish pride right and bodes well for the Emerald Isle

2022 has seen a growing interest and appreciation for Irish talent, and Irish narratives in both film and television. From standout films such as The Banshees of Inisherin, An Cailín Ciúin, and The Wonder, to standout performances from the Irish stalwarts of film Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, as well as newcomers like Paul Mescal and Daryll McCormack, Irish talent seems to be omnipresent in the film and TV sphere right now. For a country of 5 million people, our influence across the world has always been commendable, but in the past year that influence has come to full fruition.

The year started off with the final season of Lisa McGee’s hit series Derry Girls which hit screens in the UK and Ireland in April to critical acclaim. The addition of the final season to  Netflix in autumn solidified the series as an international success. The show's portrayal of The Troubles emphasised that despite what was going on around them, the people of Northern Ireland had lives to live just like everyone else and effectively debunked the misconception of Northern Ireland as simply a warzone. The show has been enjoyed by a global audience, including Hollywood heavyweight Martin Scorsese who admitted he watched the show at a press conference earlier this month.

A standout moment for Irish film, not only in 2022 but ever, came with the release of An Cailín Ciúin in the Summer. The movie has continued to garner glowing reviews from audience and critics alike since its release and is currently shortlisted for an Academy Award. This has been a monumental film for Irish cinema as it is the first ever Irish-language film to achieve such heights of success. As well as celebrating the Irish language, the film celebrates the Irish landscape, with Director Colm Bairéad describing the Irish landscape as a character in its own right.

The Irish landscape also takes centre stage in Martin McDonagh's The Banshees of Inisherin, a film which seems to be inescapably in the zeitgeist. The setting of the film lends a hand to the captivating imagery that fills the screen throughout, while the plot, although a slow-burn, packs a big punch. Having just won three Golden Globes for Best Actor with Colin Farrell, Best Screenplay with Martin McDonagh, and Best Motion Picture, the film is well in the running for a few Academy Award nominations. This film encapsulates Irish talent at its finest, which we would expect from the trio of McDonagh, Farrell, and Gleeson, and the heart wrenching duo of Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon.

The Irish film industry has thrived globally in 2022 and is currently a very prominent presence in the awards circuit. The prominence of our people and culture on and off screen is a reminder of the important presence we have as a nation on the global stage, despite being a small island off the west coast of Europe.

This article was originally published on January 24th.