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The Eclipse

Canadian Premiere

  • Ireland 2009
  • 88 min
  • 35mm
  • English
WINNER: Best Actor, Tribeca Film Festival 2009

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«Quinn, alternately charming and loathsome, is brilliant...» - John Anderson, VARIETY


Director: Conor McPherson
Screenplay: Conor McPherson
Cast: Ciarán Hinds, Iben Hjejle, Aidan Quinn, Jim Norton
Producers: Robert Walpole, Donal Geraghty, Paddy McDonald, Rebecca O'Flanagan
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures


For a few days each year, the small Irish village of Cobh is transformed into a center for the celebration of literature. It’s the site of an important literary festival, attracting respected novelists from across the globe. Days of readings are followed by wine-soaked soirees. For Michael, it’s the perfect opportunity to get his mental state straight. Tormented by the death of his wife, he’s raising his two kids alone, in addition to enduring abuse from his father, consigned to a retirement home. Spending some quality time with writers would do him a world of good—especially Lena, an attractive author fascinated by ghosts. Her specific interests pique Michael’s curiosity, because for some time now, he’s been plagued by terrifying apparitions of his father springing out of nowhere. Given that his dad isn’t dead, these visions might be omens of some sort. Lena may be able to help resolve this mystery, but she’s got her own problems. The festival’s guest of honour, Nicholas, is obsessed with her and circles her like a hawk. The dramas of the phantom world have nothing on those of the living…

Several years after having adapted Samuel Beckett for the screen with ENDGAME, Conor McPherson turns his focus to the self-enclosed world of the literary convention. THE ECLIPSE recalls at times the college-campus novels of David Lodge and the films of Kiyoshi Kurosawa. The influence of the latter is evident in the way McPherson approaches the supernatural—while it certainly raises its share of goose bumps, THE ECLIPSE uses ghosts above all as a reflection of its character’s anxieties. It’s a powerful look at memory and the difficulties of leaving one’s past behind, and it bears an elegant visual style with its unforgettable images of an Ireland soaked in spectral atmosphere. His portrayal of Michael earned Ciarán Hinds (MUNICH) a prize at the recent Tribeca film festival, though any and all of the excellent cast would have deserved the same. A singular work with a magisterial mise en scene, THE ECLIPSE is something any film lover seeking the unconventional would be wise to catch.

—Simon Laperrière (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)

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