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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).

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