Friday, January 25, 2013

Irish Folk Furniture at Sundance



Still from Irish Folk Furniture, photography by Marie-Amelie Tondu

I'd first heard of Irish Folk Furniture last year, next I'd heard (last week) it was part of the official selection for Sundance in the Shorts section. On Wednesday I hear it won in its category, for Best Animation!

Best of all you can watch it in its entirety, completely legally, on Youtube:



I love this quirky tale of Irish furniture restoration. The filmmaker Tony Donoghue recognised that these pieces of simple traditional furniture each have their own story to tell. I appreciate the rural aspect to this, at various stages Donoghue, places these objects as centerpieces in the landscape, being of the landscape themselves, so simple are they in their construction. Flour bins, dressers and chairs are endowed with their individual "story", a respectability more often associated with static objects found in museums. As material culture, these objects communicate the social rituals and social histories of the society they originate from, here we are witnessing it first hand. These pieces have survived generations of use and continue to do so, their history is still being written, even with each restoration. The film serves as an enjoyable piece of oral history, celebrating tradition, craft and endeavour. More of this please!

Throughout the making of this film, sixteen pieces of Irish furniture were restored and returned to their families. The film was made with a €150 camera purchased from eBay, shot this within two miles of his home in Co. Tipperary. What really appeals to me is the environmentally friendly way in which this film was made, which the director is particularly conscious of, in his own filmmaking. His belief in the importance of community is genuinely expressed in this short.

You can read an interview with the director Tony Donoghue at Film Ireland.

Cult magazine AnOther spoke to the director as part of their cultural talks column.

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