Luna jpg

Irish is lingua franca in Cannes

By Evan Short

For the first time ever the glitz and glamour of the Cannes Film Festival will resonate to the sounds of the Irish language, this after a musical written solely in the Irish native tongue was shortlisted for an award.

“Bonsoir Luna” is a short film about a romance between street artist, Duke, and Luna who works in a coffee shop close to where Duke performs.

The dialogue is not only solely in Irish, but all lines are sung by the actors, making it an even more unusual production and part of the reason it caught the eye, and ear, of the Cannes organizers.

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Donncha Gilmore wrote and directed the 15 minute film, which was produced by David Cullinan, PJ Moloney, and Philip Hickey for Aminal Productions with the support of Ireland’s Arts Council.

Donncha said he wanted to celebrate the Irish language in a positive way.

“I wanted to make an Irish film that was gleefully and unapologetically optimistic. I also felt that it would be a great opportunity to present the Irish language in a new light, by using the musical genre to showcase its lyricism.”

Federico Rea acted as cinematographer, Glenn Whelan as art director, while Gilmore also edited the picture.

Michael-David McKernan and Hilary Bowen Walsh star as Duke and Luna, respectively. The cast also features Susie Young, Grainne Boyle, Aislinn Ní Uallacháin, Gemma Doherty, Eoghan Regan, and Garret Farrell.

The film’s music was written and arranged by Josh Reichental, with additional contributions by Stephen O’Brien. Recording of the music was carried out at Lamplight Studios, with Stephen Dunne as recording supervisor.

Among Gilmore’s inspirations for the film are the musical films of French director Jaques Demy, which include “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964).

Luna was shot in September 2014 around Dublin and it is hoped the inclusion in the Short Film Corner in Cannes will mark the beginning of an international festival run.

The film has already received development commitments from the Arts Council for a feature adaptation by Aminal Productions, which is still in the early stages.