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Transfixed by tales of lakes and epic marches

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TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

You’re always wary when a new drama arrives on the small screen already laden down with critical acclaim and heightened expectation – thankfully on this occasion, Top of the Lake lived up to the billing.

This new seven-art drama is set in New Zealand but it’s part-funded by the BBC – so by the time it made it debut appearance on the Beeb here, it had already received its international airing and its instant acclaim.

The pre-publicity was in part down to the cast and crew – it’s written and occasionally directed by Jane Campion, the woman behind The Piano, and it stars Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss as Detective Robin Griffin alongside – among others – an unrecognisable Holly Hunter as a sort of new-age guru of broken women.

The story is a simple one to start with – the drama opens with a twelve year old girl wading into a lake and immersing herself in water up to her shoulders before a passer-by spots her and hauls her out.

The twelve year old is Tui Mitcham, young daughter of an Oriental mother and Scottish drug-dealing father – and she’s five months pregnant and clearly then the victim of rape.

To describe her domestic situation as unorthodox would be an understatement; her father Matt Mitchum (Scottish actor Peter Mullan) is a bad guy straight from central casting. He keeps dogs and has eight foot fences to protect his patch, but in reality if he simply growled at passers-by himself, no one would ever bother him.

He lives beside the lake in the title, and has two boneheaded sons as henchmen as he rules the local criminal and drugs underworld with an iron fist.

He also believes he has rights to an adjacent spot of land, quite understatedly known as Paradise, but then discovers that a commune of damaged women has moved into an array of old artic containers furnished with matresses and a communal cooker.

You see him bear his teeth at these ladies – all of them suffering from addictions that range from drugs to sex – in an effort to clear them from his land, but then it’s to this eclectic community that young Tui flees when the going gets tough.

Then it gets even tougher and by morning she has disappeared, providing the real start of the story for Top of the Lake.

An investigation needs a hero cop, and this one comes in the form of local woman turned big city detective, Robin Griffin, who is co-incidentally home on a visit to her cancer-stricken mother.

 For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel. 

CITY TRIBUNE

‘World in a Window’ – a unique perspective of lockdown life

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Helium Artist Chelsea Canavan, Galway-based artist and parent Yvonne Cullivan and her son at the launch of Helium Arts’ ‘Our World in a Window’ exhibition at Galway City Library. PHOTO: ANITA MURPHY.

A new exhibition, Our World in a Window, which is currently running in Galway City, focuses on the experiences of children who have been living with long-term health conditions during lockdown

Facilitated by Helium Arts, the national children’s arts and health charity, the exhibition features animations and mechanised artwork produced by young people from across Ireland who took part in Helium’s remote programme ‘Distance Creates’.

Our World in a Window can be seen until August 4 at Galway City Library before it goes on tour to Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick and Longford.

Since last February, children aged 9-12 who are living with long-term health conditions have been exploring the world of animation, guided by Helium artist, Chelsea Canavan. From tinfoil and claymation characters to foam sculptures and hand-drawn illustrations, these young creators have brought their stories to life in unique and imaginative ways.

The origins of Our World in a Window date back to the beginning of Covid. That was when Helium Arts began adapting its usual in-person programmes, moving to digital and postal formats to allow vulnerable young people to be creative from the safety of their homes. The goal was to offer respite during a time of social distancing and to support the youngsters’ mental health, which is part of Helium’s brief.

In non-Covid times, Helium Arts supports sick children via arts-based projects in hospital, community and public settings. More than 5,000 children and their families have availed of its service since 2010.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

126 Gallery fundraising for new studio spaces

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126 Gallery and Studios, based in St Bridget’s Place in Galway City

The artist-run 126 Gallery and Studios, based in St Bridget’s Place in Galway City, has established a satellite studio space on nearby Saint Francis Street, in response to members’ need for working spaces that are affordable, secure and easy to access. The new Barton Studios will host four studio spaces and the artists using them will have access to 126’s main facilities.

Submissions for Barton Studios and any further spaces are open to current members of 126, in recognition of those artists and creatives who have supported the members-run gallery over the past 16 years.

The group is currently raising money to fit out the studios and because normal methods such as table-quizzes and its ‘drink and draw’ nights are out of bounds, the 126 steering committee has turned to GoFundMe to try and raise €2,000, which is what they estimate it will cost.

If any extra money is raised, it will be used to subsidise the rest of costs for the studios to artists for the remainder of 2021. Some €1,800 would be needed to lower the rent to €50 per week for each artist. A breakdown of all costs will be posted on 126gallery.com and made available to donors.

Initially, the studios will have a communal computer, a private workspace with wi-fi, and access to all resources at 126’s main facility, just six minutes’ walk away. Active studio members will have free 126 membership.  The mission of 126 is to support its members to work and to access opportunities, supports, and spaces. With that in mind, the gallery team is available for one-to-one conversations to facilitate group engagement between both facilities, or with other organisations in Galway.

To contribute, go to www.gofundme.com/f/barton-studios-2021. For more information on how to get involved, email contactg126@gmail.com.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Film Fleadh enjoys its day in the sun

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Dónal Ó Héalaí and Fionnuala Flaherty in Foscadh with writer and director Seán Breathnach in the background. The film won Best Irish First Feature at the Fleadh.

The winner of Best Irish Film at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, which closed on Sunday night, was Here Before, a psychological thriller set in Northern Ireland. The feature debut of Belfast television writer and filmmaker Stacey Gregg, it stars Andrea Riseborough as a bereaved mother whose new neighbours stir up uncomfortable feelings of grief.

The award for Best Irish First Feature went to Foscadh, an Irish language drama set in the mountains of North Conamara, based on characters from Donal Ryan’s novel, The Thing About December. This delayed coming-of-age story about a bereaved young man, an only child, who inherits the family farm was written and directed by Seán Breathnach and stars Dónall Ó Héalai.

Pure Grit, directed by Kim Bartley, won best Irish documentary. It explores the male-dominated world of Native American bareback horse racing and the impact of a young woman, Sharmaine, who is determined to break the mould.

Galway Film Fleadh is an Oscar-Qualifying Festival in three categories: Best Fiction Short, Best Short Documentary and Best Animation Short.

The Tiernan McBride Award for Best Fiction Short went to Saul & I, written and directed by Jon Beer.

The Best Short Documentary Award was won by Nothing to Declare, directed by Garrett Daly.

The James Horgan Award for Best Animation Short was won by Memento Mori, directed by Paul O’Flanagan, written by Paul O’Flanagan and Laura O’Flanagan.

The Fleadh’s Pitching Award for 2021 went to Athenry man Giles Brody for his teen caper, Top Marks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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