FEILEACHAN [DRIVING LESSON] (Cecilia McAllister) - a girl and her mother try to come to terms with the latter's mental illness, though not necessarily successfully. I'd like to have seen this fleshed out a bit into a longer film and explored further, but when the only complaint I have about a film is that I wanted to see more of it, it's not really much of a complaint. (8/10)
AN RANGER (PJ Dillon) - An Irishman returns from years away with the army to discover that his family has died during the famine. His quest to uncover the truth leads down a dark road in this gritty little gem. There's no melancholy examination of the great famine here - just anger, bitterness and a very good film. (9/10)
AN FOIREANN CODLADH (Danann Breathnach) - A young man thinks he's found the perfect home when he moves into his new house in a quiet Irish town. The peace doesn't last though and he soon finds himself battling his neighbours, including the church across the road. A quirky sense of humour and a likeable lead performance make it a pleasurable experience. (7/10)
NOLLAIG SHONA [Merry Christmas] (Orla Murphy) - A young man's break-up bitterly affects his Christmas arrangement, in particular his odd relationship with a Christmas tree. I can't fault the imagination involved and it certainly has its moments, but parts of it were just a little too wilfully weird for my taste. (6/10)
There was a late addition to the programme in the form of a short entitled "Paddy's Tale" or something like that but unfortunately I can't remember exactly what its name was. The fact that I don't speak a word of Irish may be hindering my memory somewhat. If anyone can remember what it was called or who directed it, please post a comment here to let me know so I can recognise it properly.
The film, whatever it was called, concerns a small boy who loses himself in a world of Irish myths and legends with his grandfather, but can't come to terms with his widowed mother remarrying. These two strands of his life clash at first but ultimately tie together in an affectionate and touching film that I thought was very good indeed. If only I could remember what it was called. (9/10)
Finally, filling a gap on the programme but not technically part of the Oscailt series (rather it's part of the "Short Cuts" initiative) was THE GERMAN (Nick Ryan). Starring up and coming Brit star Toby Kebbell (DEAD MAN'S SHOES, ROCK'N'ROLLA, CONTROL) as a pilot in World War II, the film sees the young Brit crash during a battle with a German, whom he then pursues on foot. The aerial battle is thrilling and well executed, Kebbell turns in a good performance and the ending brings a wry smile to the face. (8/10)
And that's all the stuff I saw in Cork. Back next week!