An Buachaill Gealgháireach

The Laughing Boy

Sun 10 July / Pálás 1 / 13:00

2022 / France, Greece, Ireland & United Kingdom / 90 min / Documentary

An Buachaill Geal Gáireach is the remarkable and untold story of a song. An Irish song called “The Laughing Boy” written by a teenage rebel called Brendan Behan in memory of another iconic rebel, Michael Collins – the centenary of whose death is commemorated this year. This song also had an extraordinary and dramatic afterlife as “To Gelasto Paidi,” the powerful left-wing anthem of resistance against the dictatorship that ruled Greece in the late 60s and early 70s. Translated by the poet Vassilis Rotas, Behan’s words in Greek were set to music by the legendary Mikis Theodorakis, the most famous Greek composer of all time. The song remains an enduring and potent cultural force in the heart of Greece today.

“Alan Gilsenan and Theo Dorgan’s deep-dive cultural investigation proves that the yearning for freedom, like music, is universal.” — WF

The film takes poet Theo Dorgan on an odyssey of his own, as he attempts to uncover the truth of the story behind the song. It is a narrative that interweaves the tragic and bloody birth-pangs of both modern Ireland and modern Greece. These histories are also bound together by something more profound and transcendent – the power of a song.

Irish Premiere

Followed by Q&A with director Alan Gilsenan.

Director: Alan Gilsenan
Writer: Theo Dorgan
Producers: Kathryn Baird & Sheila Friel

Principal funder