Black 47 Press Conference with director Lance Daly, Hugo Weaving and cast
Black 47 is a harrowing portrayal of the Irish potato famine told through the guise of a Western revenge picture. Director Lance Daly was joined by his entire cast at the Berlinale press conference to share some insights into the challenges of dealing with such a sensitive, historical period.
When asked about making the first ever feature film on the famine, Lance Daly explained that he felt compelled to make a movie about “the most important period of Irish history but it was difficult to find a way in, to address the horrors of that time, hard to do it justice”. The second challenge was finding historical texts to base the story on as “there remains very little documentary evidence”.
He then moved onto why he chose to frame the story within an action-Western genre, claiming that he didn’t want to make a pure period piece, and that the experiment of mixing genres was more interesting: “It was important that the violence would not be gratuitous it needed to be contextualised by the conditions of the period. It was a crucial part in propelling the narrative and keeping the audience rooted in the present moment.”
The Irish director described the role the action sequences played in bringing the period to life in a way that was both authentic and essential: ‘I didn’t want to partisan the film, the characters needed to be complex in order to avoid a clear division between good and evil, natives and empire. I didn’t want to demonise the Empire.”
When asked about the role silence plays in his performance, Hugo Weaving elaborated on his character: “Hannah and Feeney [James Frecheville’s protagonist] are damaged characters, traumatised by their time serving in the British Empire in Afghanistan. That was essential in the basis for the character; they would never be able to return to normality.”
Black 47 does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews and interviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival 2018.