Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin): “Colin Farrell captures the authenticity of a human being”

For his new film “The Banshees of Inisherin”, five years after “Three Billboards: The Panels of Revenge”, Martin McDonagh takes us to a small Irish island to witness the heartbreaking separation of two friends. A moving black fable about friendship and the absurdity of existence, and about which we asked him a few questions.

The Banshees of Inisherinthe new dark fable by Martin McDonagh

In cinemas on December 28, 2022, The Banshees of Inisherin recount the end of a friendship between two menon a small Irish island in 1923. To tell this drama, first futile then profoundly existential, Martin McDonagh find the duo of his first film Kisses from Brugesplayers Colin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson.

The Banshees of Inisherin ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Awarded by the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for Colin Farrell and by the Best Screenplay Award at the 79th Venice Film Festival, Oscars 2023 favorite, The Banshees of Inisherin is a moving tragicomedy, shot through with the dark humor and violence that Martin McDonagh loves.

We were able to ask him a few questions about this film, in particular the relationship he has with Kisses from Bruges as well as her relationship with Colin Farrell.

Meet

The Banshees of Inisherin is a story of despair and, with the same two actors, it bears several similarities to that of Kisses from Bruges. Especially concerning the sequence where Ray is preparing to go to dinner with Chloë…

Martin McDonagh : I think so, yes. I like this sequence of Kisses from Bruges, his sadness, the way Colin touches his face. There’s despair in this scene, and a lot of what’s in The Banshees of Inisherin is about desperation, even though it’s mostly underlying it.

Colm’s (Brendan Gleeson) desperation is part of the reason he broke up with Pádraic (Colin Farrell). We talked about it a lot with Brendan, “why is he doing this?“, “why is it so hard?“. In a way, if he does not break up with Pádraic, he could commit suicide. Thus, this breakup is the best option for him, rather than succumbing to despair.

Colm Doherty (Brendan Glesson) - The Banshees of Inisherin
Colm Doherty (Brendan Glesson) – The Banshees of Inisherin ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

This story is very particular but perhaps carries a universal lesson. Can we put it this way: we are all individuals crushed by loneliness and stuck on a small island?

MM : (laughs) There is that! Said like that, it sounds like a very sad movie. But yes, this reflection is part of this journey. It’s related to this question that pops up, while they’re at the pub: “are we wasting our time?“, “eis it better to be nice and not be an artist?“, or “do you have to be an insufferable jerk to be an artist?“.

All these different aspects of the matter”what are we doing on this earth?“are legit and interesting, and I hope that’s what makes, in a way, The Banshees of Inisherin unique.

This is your third film with Colin Farrell after Kisses from Bruges and 7 Psychopathswhat do you perceive in him?

MM : His sensitivity, his openness to vulnerability. On screen, and in life. What is certain is that on screen, he is not afraid to play a weak, shy, or uneducated man. He doesn’t have the ego of a movie star, or at least he’s not the image we have of a “movie star”. He is able to capture the authenticity of a human being, someone with his flaws, his problems. In life, I like spending time with him. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s kind…

The Banshees of Inisherin addresses this goodness and kindness as values. Is it sufficient ? Are they overrated? Underestimated? Colin has all of these qualities.

Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) - The Banshees of Inisherin
Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) – The Banshees of Inisherin ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Last question, we very often find a short person in your films, and a reference to it is made in The Banshees of Inisherin. Is it because in the history of fiction and mythology they often occupy an important function?

MM : (laughs) Yeah, that’s partly why there’s actually that reference at the beginning of the movie. But the donkey in The Banshees of InisherinJenny, is a dwarf donkey, so technically there is a small being in this film too!

Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin): “Colin Farrell captures the authenticity of a human being” – CinéSéries