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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Aidan Quinn Tapped for Film Fest Honor
by Betty Jo Tucker

Thanks to Daniel J. Charles for sending me the following information about a well-deserved award scheduled for one of my favorite actors, Aidan Quinn:   

Celebrated actor, producer, and two-time Emmy nominee Aidan Quinn will receive the Magners Irish Film Festival’s prestigious Excellence Award on Thursday, November 8th at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA. The Excellence Award is given to acknowledge an individual’s contributions and talent to the Irish film and television industries. 

To celebrate this year’s honoree, the Magners Irish Film Festival will screen Song for a Raggy Boy, featuring one of Quinn’s most acclaimed performances, on Thursday, November 8th at 7:00pm.

Born in Brooklyn to Irish parents, Quinn spent his childhood alternating between Ireland and the US.  It was in Ireland at the age of 19 that he decided to be an actor.  Stage work in the late 70s and early 80s gradually gave way to roles in such films as Reckless (1984), Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) and The Mission (1986) as well an Emmy-nominated performance in the TV miniseries An Early Frost.  Since then Quinn has alternated roles in high-profile Hollywood films such as Legends of the Fall (1994) and Music of the Heart (1999) with smaller Irish films such as The Playboys (1992), This is My Father* (which he also produced) and Song for a Raggy Boy (2005).  He has also been featured in a variety of TV work including Two of Us (2000), Empire Falls (2005), The Book of Daniel (2006) and, most recently, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) for which he earned his second Emmy nomination.

Now in its ninth year, the Magners Irish Film Festival is a sampling of the very best of contemporary Irish and Irish-related cinema.  As always, this year’s festival will include a wide range of features, documentaries and short films, the majority of which will be screened in the U.S. for the first time. For more information, schedules and tickets, please visit www.irishfilmfestival.com.

 

*NOTE from BJT:

This Is My Father has special meaning for me because I interviewed brothers Aidan and Paul Quinn, the film’s star and writer/director, during their PA tour to promote their movie. In my Confessions of a Movie Addict, I described that interview as follows:

 

*******************************************************

“Most siblings would do anything to avoid working together after they grow up. What made you decide to take on this project together?” I asked. Aidan pointed out his cinematographer brother, Declan (Leaving Las Vegas

 

“Because we know each other so well, we really saved time,” explained Paul. Clearly excited about his first outing as a director, he admitted to a sense of awe about his two famous brothers.

 

Filmed mostly in Ireland, This Is My Father features Aidan as a poor Irish farmer, circa 1939, who falls for a young lass outside his social class. For this role, the handsome actor drastically altered his physical appearance. “Paul made me gain weight, and my make-up man gave me a prosthetic eye piece,” Aidan revealed. 

 

After the film discussion, I told Aidan how much I admired his performance, partly because of my Irish roots. I related how my Grandmother Donahue stowed away on a boat when she was only 14 years old and came to America. “She wanted to get away from her brothers in Ireland who mistreated her,” I said.

 

I’ll never forget the concerned look in Aidan’s piercing blue eyes as I talked to him about my grandmother’s experience. He leaned closer and asked,” What did they do to her?”

 

“She refused to tell us,” I replied.

 

Aidan shook his head and frowned. He made me believe he really wanted to know the answer to his question. Now that’s what I call acting. Or maybe he’s just a very nice man.

 

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