26 September 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
Irish Language Broadcast Fund feature film telling the story of the song The Laughing Boy to air on TG4
17 Aug 2022 : News Desk
An Buachaill Gealgháireach, a new Irish Language Broadcast Fund film, tells the remarkable untold story of an Irish song called The Laughing Boy, written by a teenage rebel called Brendan Behan in memory of another iconic rebel, Michael Collins.

Produced by Imagine Media with support from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the Embassy of Ireland (Athens), the film airs on Wednesday, August 24th at 9:30pm on TG4, having recently premiered at the Galway Film Festival in July.

An Buachaill Gealgháireach was written and presented by Theo Dorgan, directed by Alan Gilsenan and produced by Kathryn Baird and Sheila Friel.

The Laughing Boy also had an extraordinary and dramatic afterlife as To Yelasto Paidi, the powerful left-wing anthem of resistance against the dictatorship that ruled Greece in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Translated by the poet Vassilis Rotas, Behan’s words in Greek were set to music by the legendary Mikis Theodorakis, the most famous Greek composer of all time. The song remains an enduring and potent cultural force in the heart of Greece today.

The film takes poet Theo Dorgan on an odyssey of his own, as he attempts to uncover the truth of the story behind the song. It is a narrative that interweaves the tragic and bloody birth-pangs of both modern Ireland and modern Greece. But these histories are also bound together by something more profound and transcendent – the power of a song.

As Theo says in the film, both the Irish and Greek versions of the song capture something unique: “Some idea, perhaps, of the eternal rebel, some embodiment of revolt against small destiny, tyranny, the forces that tend always and everywhere to diminish, if not actually crush, our sense of the necessary largeness of life and the imagination…”

Filmed in Ireland, France, and Greece, the film also features performances from a number of Irish musicians including Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, MayKay, Liam Ó Maonlaí, David Power, and well-known musicians and singers from Greece, foremost among them Maria Farantouri, honoured throughout the world as the pre-eminent interpreter of the songs of Theodorakis.

An Buachaill Gealgháireach airs on Wednesday, August 24th at 9:30pm on TG4.

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