Film Club
Screening Dates
  • February 18 (Sunday) 10:30

Haskell Wexler has photographed this movie with great beauty and precision … Children deserve great films [and] The Secret of Roan Inish is a film for children like Fiona, who can envision changing their family’s fate.”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The handing down of treasured stories, myths, and family histories is the lifeblood of any child’s education. This rich and ensorcelling tradition is at the heart of John Sayles’s The Secret of Roan Inish, an adaptation of a beloved children’s book by the Vancouver Island-born Rosalie K. Fry. Fiona Coneelly (Jeni Courtney) arrives for an extended stay at her grandparents’ place in Dhún na nGall with a quiet curiosity. The film’s first half is a tapestry of tales recounted by her grandfather Hugh, grandmother Tess, and cousin-once-removed Tadhg, who might be connected to the mythic selkies. Fiona wants to count herself as a special audience to these stories, which concern language, children, and homes lost and possibly regained, but she also wants to act for herself. What unfolds is one of the most beautiful passages in children’s cinema: nature and humans, land and sea, fire and moonlight in harmony.

The Secret of Roan Inish will be preceded by The Place Machine, a short film created by students from St’a7mes School in Squamish with help from The Cinematheque’s Learning & Outreach team.

The film is a pleasure to look at and listen to, graced with a lilting, folk-based music score from Mason Daring … Sayles draws strong, sinewy performances from his cast—not least from Jeni Courtney as the serious-eyed Fiona—and provides them with dialogue that’s idiomatic without resorting to stage Irishry.”

Philip Kemp, Sight and Sound

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