From a tragicomic Ireland, Martin McDonagh invokes the spirits of the island

(By Victoria Ojam).- The trio made up of actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson together with filmmaker Martin McDonagh returns loaded with brutality and absurdity in “The Spirits of the Island”, a film that premieres this Thursday in the midst of a good run through awards season, and which seeks to capture “the simplicity and sadness of a story of a friendship breakup between two guys and how much worse that plotline can get.”

“It is about getting to the truth of these two egos and adding sensitivity to it, so that they cannot be judged or be totally on one side,” explained the director in dialogue with Télam and other international media about the support of the tape, carried gracefully and effortlessly by its cast.

McDonagh’s decision was more than wise: he had already summoned the Irish interpreters in his first feature film, “In Bruges” (2008), a crime drama and black comedy -in equal parts- where they played two hitmen in a bizarre passage through the Belgian city of the title.

Almost cult, the film was evidence of the chemistry between Farrell and Gleeson, and the idea of ​​working together again has been hanging in the air ever since.

“They love each other, they’re very open to being vulnerable on screen, they’re so funny. Plus I think people love them as actors, and we needed that in a dark story like this. We felt it would be great to do something that any fan of’ In Bruges’ I would love in the same way, although taking him on a different and stranger journey”, the director deepened.

It is that without unnecessary turns, the seed of what will unexpectedly come is already sown before the ten minutes of footage. On the fictional Irish island of Inisherin, isolated during the 1920s by the local Civil War, the naive Pádraic (Farrell) and his friend Colm (Gleeson), a serious violinist, are two friends who share a peaceful small-town life. But everything turns upside down when, without explanation, Colm decides to ignore him and end the friendship.

Confused and unwilling to let things stay that way, Pádraic enlists the help of his sister, Siobhán (Kerry Condon), and the troublesome Dominic (Barry Keoghan), to mend their relationship. From then on, the rift increasingly involves the rest of Inisherin’s inhabitants as the levels of discomfort rise unchecked. With each attempt to get closer to each other, the refusal of the other deepens, and it will not take long for everything to take a dark and even bloody turn that can only be digested with the flashes of humor that McDonagh, a skillful narrator, weaves together in its proper measure. along the history.

To explore that idea from his personal style, the also author of “Seven Psychopaths” (2012) and the double Oscar nominee “Three Ads for a Crime” (2017) considered that it cannot be written “only from the perspective of the victim “: “You want to see as much as possible from the point of view of the one who breaks. Understanding it was equally valid,” he said about this portrait of the human and its rough edges.

The simplicity of his premise -and of those of his films in general- is what allows him to introduce without cryptic intentions other readings about the visceral behaviors that can arise from people. In “The spirits of the island”, the existential concern about the passage of time and posterity takes on a special meaning in this dynamic between friends that, moreover, has its correlate in the clash between unionists and republicans that is glimpsed on the other side of the beautiful irish coast

“You could tell this story just by focusing on the breakup, but I think having a mirror image of the war, of how a simple dispute between two parties can escalate and get so much worse, was something that I clearly wanted to incorporate. Unforgivable things happen. in a civil war, and in this story too,” added the director.

In this scenario, which its protagonists allow out of pride or habit, the role of communication and the repressed masculine sensibility also come into play. “As we know, it’s not the best thing. The film doesn’t suggest doing it, it says that you have to talk about it, because the places that desperation can take someone is what’s unpleasant about the film,” McDonagh said.

“I wish men would open up more. It’s also a lesson for me, because I’m as guilty as anyone. And it’s partly what makes Kerry’s character (Condon) the most interesting, because she sees it and is above of that, and he needs to abandon it, leave it”, he opined in relation to the counterpoint that Pádraic’s sister exerts in the plot.

With this story about the relationship between pain, anger and art, the director -raised in London but the son of Irish parents- added a few chips to the awards circuit that he puts first every year to culminate with the famous Oscars . And despite his brief career in the field, his name gained interest thanks to the solidity of his scripts and productions.

“The Spirits of the Island” has already advanced in the race at the Golden Globes, where it triumphed for Best Comedy Picture, Best Actor for Farrell and Best Screenplay, along with five other nominations. In the British cinema Baftas, which will take place on February 19, he disputes ten categories. And to the laurels of the Hollywood Academy, dated March 12, it will arrive as the second most nominated (along with the German “All Quiet on the Front”), with a presence in nine categories.

“As a teenager I fell in love with cinema, and I never thought I would be in the position to tell things in a cinematic way. It’s great to be able to be part of this community, to create things that are not the usual, that are not superhero movies, which are very personal to me. It’s very good to be in that place,” McDonagh said of his present and his profession.

For this reason, he admitted that although “legacy” is “a very heavy word”, he does want to “leave good things out there”: “It is something that occupies a large part of my thoughts, not as Brendan’s character conceives it, who feels that you have to invest every minute of your life, very hard. I think you can be a happy person and make movies like that at the same time. I’m a happy guy most of the time, but it’s important to say that anyway You can get away with something sad like this,” he concluded. (Telam)

From a tragicomic Ireland, Martin McDonagh invokes the spirits of the island