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Ireland, 1997 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Neil Jordan

Based on Patrick McCabe's contemporary literary masterpiece, The Butcher Boy tells the story of 12 year-old Francie Brady, a boy whose near-fantasy world adventures with his best friend Joe differ markedly from the brutality of his real life in a small Irish village. His father, Benny (Stephen Rea), is the hardest drinker in town, his mother struggles to keep the family just above the poverty-line, while the neighbour, Mrs Nugent seems to hold the boy responsible for just about everything wrong in the world.

"The Butcher Boy is a brilliantly bold, haunting evocation of an intensely troubled childhood. A remarkably faithful adaptation of Patrick McCabe's macabre 1992 novel, Jordan's tenth film is an ambitious one that remains intimately focused, a brutally honest exploration of a disturbed mind that is both horrific and darkly comic.

"The screenplay, a collaboration of novelist McCabe and Jordon, is admirably loyal to the book, structured as richly detailed, emotionally dense stream of consciousness. This is one of the major achievements of the film: while there are strong scenes and turning points, no single event or action gets preferential treatment.

"In the lead, Eamonn Owens, a child who has never acted before, is a natural... Like a rich Dickens novel, the film is sprinkled with standout character performances that give it its frenzied, seriocomic texture... The Butcher Boy is without doubt Jordan's most startlingly original and accomplished film to date." - Variety

Born in Ireland in 1950, Neil Jordan orignally founded the Irish Writers Co-operative in 1974, and made his film directorial debut with Angel (1983). He received an Oscar for Best Screenplay for his 1992 film The Crying Game. Other films include The Company of Wolves (1984), Mona Lisa (1987), We're No Angels (1988), Interview with the Vampire (1994) and Michael Collins (1996).

See also...


Ireland, 1982
A metaphysical thriller with a protagonist who plays the saxophone like at angel and takes vengeance like an archangel - Danny is a member of a visiting show band in an Irish country dance hall calle… More »


France, 1998
Nicholas is an exceptionally nervous young boy with an overactive imagination. He's also nursing no small amount of paranoia. Claude Miller's The Class Trip (winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes 1998) … More »

Negative Space

UK, 1999
In 1971, film critic Manny Farber published a book called Negative Space, in which he wrote: "One of the finest moments in 1940s film is no longer than a blink: Bogart, as he crosses the street from … More »

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