Dublin: From Feb. 1 through Feb. 8 the Irish Film Center’s two theaters were filled with fans eager to catch the premieres of cinematic versions of all 19 of Samuel Beckett’s stage plays. Nearly every screening sold out well in advance.
Famous names and directors associated with the project include David Mamet, who directed a seven-minute version of Catastrophe starring Harold Pinter and John Gielgud in his final film role before his death last year; Neff Jordan, who focuses his camera on Julianne Moore’s mouth for 14 minutes in Not I, and Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, who brought Alan Richman and Kristin Scott Thomas to the screen as the adulterers in Play.
Committing the plays to film was the brainchild of Michael Colgan, artistic director of the Gate Theater company, who staged the 19 works in Dublin in 1991, New York in 1996 and London in 1999. Alan Moloney who runs Blue Angel Films, co-produced the project, which was completed on a shoestring budget of $5 million, mostly RTE and Britain’s Channel 4 money.
Blue Angel owns the films and is selling broadcast rights to television stations across Europe. They will broadcast on RTE this month and travel to London in April. Then it’s on to the United States this summer, starting at Lincoln Center, in New York. ♦