Finnegan On Films: Fantasy, True Stories And An Irish Classic For Your Entertainment

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, has three true stories and two original tales either side of the imagination spectrum available on RTE this coming week, each with its own interesting virtues…

Chariots of Fire (Saturday RTE1 2.10pm) is based on the true story of two Olympic athletes at the 1924 Paris Olympics, Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) a devout Christian running for his faith, and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross),  a Jew,who runs to overcome prejudice.

Winner of the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay (Colin Welland) and directed by Hugh Hudson, it is the Vangelis soundtrack that is most instantly recognisable, and was used again during the 2012 London Olympics.

Continued below…


As the running of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics later this year (I know, it gets confusing – blame Covid) is still unsure, this might be as near as we get to the event.

Now something for the younger members of the family with a prequel to the Harry Potter stories in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Saturday RTE1 6.35pm).

British wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York in 1926 with a suitcase full of magical creatures.

Unfortunately, Newt loses his case and a number of magical creatures escape.  Obviously, he has to get them back, and he will need help.

This is both the producing and screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling.  Directing duties are taken up by David Yates, very experienced in this particular fantasy world with four Harry Potter films under his belt.

Following on from last week’s showing of ‘The Commitments’, The Snapper (Saturday RTE1 9.30pm) is the second in the Barrystown Trilogy, although the subject matter would make it very difficult to make with today’s sensibilities.

Twenty-year-old Sharon Curley (Tina Kellegher) finds herself pregnant after a boozy night on the town. She refuses to say who is the father, but decides to keep the baby.

While shocked, her dad, Des, played by Colm Meaney, and the rest of the family support Sharon, but there are tensions within and from without as friends and neighbours show their true colours.

One of my favourite biographical films of all time, is Gandhi (Sunday RTE1 2.10pm) simply because the performances seem as close an experience as possible to meeting the actual characters.

This is truly an epic film of scale and ambition, but Ben Kingsley’s performance in particular brings out the humanity of the person, rather than the legend.

It tells the story of how Mohandas Gandhi, a lawyer returning to India, and begining a national campaign of non-violent resistance to British rule.

Directed by Richard Attenborough, it won the Academy Awards for Best Film, Director and Actor for Ben Kingsley.

Based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr, Selma (Friday RTE2 9.30pm) is a powerfully evocative story of a movement not totally dissimilar to that told in Gandhi that still resonates today. Excellent performances abound, but especially David Oyelowo as Dr King.

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