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'Black 47' Enjoys Successful World Premiere At Berlin International Film Festival
20 Feb 2018 : Nathan Griffin
Lance Daly’s highly anticipated ‘Black 47’ has been warmly received by critics following its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival last week.

The film, which is an action movie set during the Great Irish Famine, stars Hugo Weaving (‘Hacksaw Ridge’, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Matrix’) and Jim Broadbent, (Oscar® winner for ‘Iris’) and the prolific Irish screen and stage actor Stephen Rea (‘The Crying Game’, ‘Michael Collins’, and ‘Interview with the Vampire’).

Following its debut at BIFF, the film is garnering recognition internationally, as it highlights the harrowing atrocities that took place in Ireland during the mid-19th Century.

Variety’s Jessica Kiang emphasised this following the premiere stating:

“Compared to other eras in Ireland’s history, there is no great wealth of contemporary Famine literature, few photographs document its excesses and even fewer films.”

‘Black 47’  joined films by Wes Anderson and Gus Van Sant at this year’s festival and now follows major Irish films such as Jim Sheridan’s ‘The Boxer’, Neil Jordan’s ‘The Butcher Boy’ and John Michael McDonagh’s ‘The Guard’ to have premiered at the festival.

It is expected that ‘Black 47’ will shock audiences internationally as Kiang adds:

“And so this may well be the first encounter international audiences will have had with the Great Hunger, and for them Daly delivers a resonant, beautifully performed Irish Western that benefits from the exotic sound of Irish Gaelic spoken as a living language, and the brackish majesty of cinematographer Declan Quinn’s wide vistas.” 

 ‘Black 47’ sees Weaving and Broadbent joined by other international talent including James Frecheville who starred in the critically acclaimed ‘Animal Kingdom’ and ‘The Drop’ with Tom Hardy and Freddie Fox who was recently seen in Guy Ritchie’s ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’.

The film also has a strong young Irish cast including Barry Keoghan (‘Dunkirk’, ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’), Moe Dunford (‘Vikings’, ‘Patrick’s Day’) and Sarah Greene (‘Noble’, ‘Penny Dreadful’).

It’s 1847 and Ireland is in the grip of the Great Famine that has ravaged the country for two long years. Feeney, a hardened Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, abandons his post to return home and reunite with his estranged family.

He’s seen more than his share of horrors, but nothing prepares him for the famine’s hopeless destruction of his homeland that has brutalised his people and where there seems to be no law and order. He discovers his mother starved to death and his brother hanged by the brutal hand of the English. With little else to live for, he sets a destructive path to avenge his family. Hannah, an ageing British soldier and famed tracker of deserters, is sent to stop Feeney before he can further stoke the fires of revolution.

But Hannah and Feeney are old army comrades, forged by their time fighting together. Personal bonds and shifting allegiances cause both men to question their motives, as they are tested to the limit by the hellish landscape of ‘The Great Hunger’.

‘Black 47’ is directed by Lance Daly, whose previous films include ‘Life’s a Breeze’ which premiered at Toronto Film Festival. His breakout feature ‘Kisses’ was named the Best Feature Film at the Galway Film Fleadh, Foyle and Miami film festivals, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and the Golden Leopard at Locarno.  It became the highest grossing Irish film of the year and Lance picked up Best Director at the IFTA’s. Lance was winner of the Galway Film Fleadh’s Bingham Ray New Talent Award (2013).

The screenplay is written by PJ Dillon (‘Rewind’), Pierce Ryan (‘Standby’), Eugene O’Brien (‘Eden’) and Lance Daly (‘Life’s a Breeze’, ‘Kisses’).

‘Black 47’ was produced by Macdara Kelleher whose credits include ‘Strangerland’ starring Nicole Kidman, Lance Daly’s ‘Kisses’, ‘What If’ starring Daniel Radcliffe, Urszula Antoniak’s ‘Nothing Personal’, and Rebecca Daly’s ‘The Other Side of Sleep’. Kelleher recently produced ‘The Professor and the Madman’ with Mel Gibson and Sean Penn. He is co-founder of Dublin-based Fastnet Films with Lance Daly and Morgan Bushe.

The film was also produced by Tim O’Hair, Arcadiy Golubovich and Jonathan Loughran with financing from Primemeridian Entertainment, the Irish Film Board, the Luxembourg Film Fund, Wildcard Distribution, Altitude, BAI, TV3, Eurimages, Umedia, Samsa Films and Fastnet Films.

‘Black 47’ will be brought to Irish cinemas by Wildcard Distribution later this year.

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16 Mar 2018 
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'Black 47' Enjoys Successful World Premiere At Berlin International Film Festival
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