The Poorhouse Revisited

Issue #4 of FOUND FOOTAGE Magazine is out now!
Among the fantastic articles, essays and reviews The Poorhouse Revisited makes a small appearance.


The Poorhouse
In 1996 the half-hour IFB/RTÉ period drama entitled ‘Poorhouse’ was broadcast. Directed by Frank Stapleton and based on a short story by Michael Harding, the film is set during the time of Ireland’s Great Famine. The plot concerns the relationship of an elderly gravedigger and a young woman. Powerfully evoking a cultural memory of hardship and loss from 150 years previously, the film slipped into obscurity in a forward-looking era.

The Poorhouse Revisted
15 years later I discovered the discarded film rushes outdoors on the Ringsend Peninsula, Dublin. The scattered reels of decayed 16mm material - literally unearthed, consisted of some 120mins of slated scenes, re-takes and camera tests. Restored, re-worked and re-edited, the corrupted frames now resemble fragments of memories distorted through exposure to time and it’s natural elements. Through the layers of cracked emulsion images struggle to re-surface and find a place on screen, as memories for a new audience.Set to a haunting score by Brian Conniffe and Suzanne Walsh, the gravedigger’s visions emerge from beneath a harsh new layer of archeological detritus, their pathos accentuated by their delicate state of fragmented survival.

In addition, a special thanks to Fintan Connolly and Fiona Bergin for supplying the below photograph. It captures the original cast and crew of The Poorhouse with President Mary Robinson circa 1996.

*Standing / Left to Right*
Clare Duignan, Derbhle Crotty, Edmund "Birdy" Sweeney, Alice Sweeney, Fiona Bergin,
Michael Harding, Sé Merry Doyle, Lily Tiernan

*Sitting / Left to Right*
Frank Stapleton, President Mary Robinson, Catherine Tiernan

Photographer unknown.

 The Poorhouse Revisited at EFS VOD.

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