Heaney leads ovation for Harkin film

Margo Harkin and Seamus Heaney at the launch. (2402BM40)
Margo Harkin and Seamus Heaney at the launch. (2402BM40)

The Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and actor Stephen Rea were among the packed house, which gave Derry film maker Margo Harkin’s new documentary two standing ovations, at the Dublin International Film Festival this week.

The film, entitled The Far Side of Revenge, follows a group of women preparing for Teya Sepinuck’s Theatre of Witness stage show, in which they recount their personal experiences of the Troubles and life since.

The documentary’s title is a quotation from the 1990 Heaney play - The Cure at Troy – and it explores similar themes of forgiveness and rebirth.

Speaking during the Q & A session after the world premiere, Seamus Heaney said he thought the film was “a terrific piece of work”.

“If my play did one good thing, it was this,” he declared.

Harkin’s emotionally-charged documentary includes testimonies from former IRA personnel and from victims of the Troubles.

It explores how the women involved in the Theatre of Witness project – Anne Walker, Ruth Moore, Therese McCann, Catherine McCartney, Maria Murphy and Kathleen Gillespie - interacted with one another and ultimately became close friends.

The film received a spontaneous standing ovation at its conclusion – followed by a second one when the cast appeared on stage to take questions.