Saoirse Ronan to star in Ed Sheeran ‘Galway Girl’ video

The city of the tribes clearly holds a place in Sheeran’s heart. Ed Sheeran at 3Arena: This is pop without the chewing gum snaps and rehab receipts Ed Sheeran superfans ecstatic as Dublin concerts begin Ed Sheeran: What time is it on at, how do I get there, and are there any tickets? He famously included home video footage of him busking in Galway city as teenager in the video for his song Photograph. “It was like a really phenomenal thing to watch, I’ve never really seen a young actor or actress that good. Musician Ed Sheeran has confirmed that actor Saoirse Ronan will star as the Galway Girl in his new music video, shot in the west of Ireland earlier this week. There’s a huge gap in the market, and I promise you that in two years’ time there will be a big folk band that comes up that’s pop, and that will happen as a result of labels being like: ‘Oh shit, if he can put a fiddle and uilleann pipe on it, then we can try it as well’.” The music video, which also features comedian Tommy Tiernan, was filmed in Salthill on Tuesday. “It’s kind of weird because I was shooting some of the video myself, there are some points when I’m holding the camera and she just… She’s really talented. “The label would say, ‘Oh the Corrs, that was years ago,’ but who’s tried it since the Corrs? Describing Ronan as a “phenomenal talent” Sheeran told RTÉ 2FM’s Eoghan McDermott show it had been amazing to watch Oscar-nominated actor take part in the shoot. “My argument was always: well, the Corrs sold 20million records,” Sheeran told the Guardian. Speaking ahead of his second sell-out gig at the 3Arena this week, Sheeran revealed that Ronan would star in the much anticipated video from his latest album Divide. off screen is normal and just like a cool person then as soon as the camera goes on she just turns… it’s amazing to watch.” Sheeran admitted last month that his record label was very hesitant about including Galway Girl in his latest album because “apparently folk music isn’t cool”.

Guerrilla review: A 1970s gold rush of radicalism

That seems like good advice. When another friend is killed by forces within the Special Branch Black Power Desk, Marcus and Jas spring Dhari from prison, with irreversibly violent consequences. It may not help that Ridley’s camera is clearly fixated with Pinto, idling on her face during pivotal dialogues. It’s hard to decide from what position Guerrilla is shooting, but that’s the colour it places in the crosshairs. “Don’t reduce me to my looks,” Jas tells Kent, a similarly obsessed, if cooler-tempered artist played by Idris Elba. The show is elsewhere fascinated with tentatively overlapping political concerns, where black activists turn to a mercenary IRA for assistance (“What they’re doing in Derry is coming to Brixton, ” someone cheers). “We all benefit from destabilisation.” It’s a grimly comic scene about ideals and actions in a series that otherwise sees radicalisation as the result of systematic oppression, police brutality and a kind of desperate improvisation. The most subversive streak within John Ridley’s Guerrilla (Sky Atlantic, Thursday, 9pm) a transatlantic co-production between Sky and Showtime, is to depict the early 1970s as a gold rush of radicalism – of still inchoate ideologies and nascent causes looking for alliance. Pinto’s prominence has drawn criticism from black rights groups, uneasy to find an Asian freedom fighter leading a narrative of black power. When, early in the series, a handful of black British revolutionaries attempt to form a cell, they go shopping for assistance from likeminded movements. Ridley even allows one curiously American phrase a much broader currency here, where ignominious police act “under the colour of authority”. Whether they are now soldiers or stooges, however, only history, or at least further episodes, will tell. Deemed insufficiently Marxist-Leninist by the Baader-Meinhoff Group, they are advised to try a self-determinist group like the PLO instead. Ridley’s attention feels deliberate, though, making Jas both Guerrilla’s primary focus and its central question: leading the charge, yet side-lined by the men, she is the more radical, but is dismissed as merely chic. What difference does it make? Marcus (Babou Ceesay) and Jas (Freida Pinto), an young interracial couple, start out as earnest activists, championing the incarcerated Dhari (Nathaniel Martello-White) whose radical, Maoist writings have made him an underground phenomenon.

Go dté mar atá tú? How to make sense of Ulster Irish

That said, there are differences between Ulster Irish and the rest. In Donegal, they say “go dté” (Go dté mar atá tú?). But, bear in mind, a competent Irish reader can understand most of Scots Gallic in written form. They say “druid an doras” instead of “dún an doras” for “close the door”. The form of Irish spoken in Ulster these days is essentially Donegal Irish, nuanced by the local, predominantly Belfast accent. It’s a different proposition when Ulster Irish is spoken, becoming as understandable to some ears as Swahili. In Connacht they say “cén chaoi”(“Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?”). Take the different forms for the simple phrase, “How are you?” In Munster they use “conas” (“Conas atá tú?”). In written form, there is not that much difference between it and the Irish of other Gaeltacht areas such as Connemara and west Kerry. In Ulster, the urú is ditched in favour of the séimhiú (aspiration). They say “ar an bhóthar” instead. Another big difference is found in the tuiseal tabharthach (dative case). When people say, for example, “on the road” in other areas, they say: “ar an mbóthar”. Instead of saying “chomh maith” for “also”, the say “fosta”. They tend to use the unusual “tchí” instead of “feiceann” for “look”. There are some words that are unique to the northern dialect. And when something is good it’s not “togha” or “go híontach” but “ar dóigh”. Instead of saying “scioptha” they say “gasta” for “fast”.

Writing my way back into the world

Balance. At this stage, I’d been all but housebound for six months. After a while I started to feel lost again. I made a character to live there, someone I could share my brain-quirks with but someone different and separate from myself. I read everything I could get my hands on and found myself gravitating towards stories about people tackling mental health issues or stories about people who identify somewhere on the lgbtqia+ rainbow. What if I go to the shop and something happens and I panic and I embarrass myself and I can’t get out and I can’t get home and everyone stares at me and the walls move in and the roof falls down and I die? Queer women died, gay couples had sad endings, people with mental health problems were miraculously healed by love or died of sadness. Afterwards, when I’d come back to reality I read through what I’d written and I felt a new understanding of myself. I stopped taking so many safety stops when I left the house and I wrote on my phone instead. I started to build myself a house, a small house with a big garden, tall bookshelves and lots of blankets. I felt like I was in a movie or a dream, like I wasn’t really there or that nothing around me actually existed. I wrote her a dog, I wrote her a friend, I wrote her love and I felt everything piece together. I was in pyjamas, it was raining, my puppy was asleep on my chest and I felt like the worst person in the world. Books weren’t keeping me company the way they had and I still couldn’t go outside, I was lonely and I’d started to disassociate. I understand: books with mental health representation are tough, it’s a delicate balance. Every day I woke up with a new purpose: I had to write. I love bookshops. Beth wasn’t fixed and neither was I, but we were OK. When I disassociated I wrote through it, I visited the little world I’d made. You want to create something relatable but you don’t want to generalise. I survived being hours from home, meeting strangers, crowds and noise and nerves. I felt safe. The book was finished. It was always just quiet enough, it smelled of new books and you could spend as much time as you needed wandering the …

Cannes Film Festival to feature Colin Farrell’s latest role

Developed and financed by Element alone, The Killing of a Sacred Deer advances to the festival as a fully fledged domestic operation. Fremaux will be content to unveil quite a few big hitters for the 70th anniversary. Even Fremaux could not resist joking that, from this famously gloomy film-maker, the title was surely meant ironically. Kidman is set to become the 70th edition’s most unavoidable personality. The picture stars Isabelle Huppert as a middle-class woman in Calais during the recent refugee crisis. “Yorgos is undoubtedly one of the most visionary and talented filmmakers working today and I can’t wait for audiences to see Deer and Cannes is the best place to unveil it.” Farrell and Kidman appear together in two films competing for the Palme d’Or. Lynch won the Palme d’Or in 1990 for Wild at Heart. The Cannes Film Festival opens with Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts on May 17th. There will be 12 films by women in the wider official selection, but only three will be among the 18 currently competing for the Palme. In 2002, he advanced up the red steps with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love. Speaking at the press conference in Paris, Thierry Frémaux, director of the festival, stressed that The Beguiled was “not a remake of the Don Siegel film”. Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer, an Irish production by Element Pictures, has made it into the main competition for the 70th Cannes Film Festival. They are also in Sofia Coppola’s gothic Civil War tale The Beguiled. Cannes-watchers will see this year’s tentative embrace of television and streaming as the most significant news of the morning. The film sounds topical. The festival announced no Hollywood studio pictures in the initial line-up – at least one blockbuster normally plays out of competition – but such releases are often added after the formal announcement. Lanthimos’s previous film The Lobster, shot largely in Kerry, won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2015. Todd Haynes, the acclaimed director of Carol and Far From Heaven, returns with the family saga Wonderstruck. Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman star in the oblique drama concerning a surgeon who forms an uneasy bond with a teenage boy. No wonder it is ante-post favourite. Were Haneke to take the Palme, the Austrian would become the first director ever to win on three occasions. The film’s producer, Ed Guiney, spoke to The Irish Times …

Easter weekend gig guide: Chelsea Wolfe, Talos, Todd Terry and more

In one of the country’s best music venues? But the work speaks for itself. From Wassily Kandinsky and Hilma af Klint’s spiritually charged abstractions to such contemporary artists as Susan Hiller, Steven McQueen and Bruce Nauman, the show offers an open-ended dialogue on the multiple perspectives on art and the spiritual. JC ECLECTIC Listen at Arthurs Arthurs, Thomas St, Dublin, 8pm, €10, listen.ie Listen is a left field micro- festival of eclectic music and spoken word that is breaking out of the genre ghetto and making a monthly bid for freedom of musical expression. AD POST ROCK And So I Watch You From Afar Róisín Dubh Galway 9pm €18/€16 roisindubh.net This supremely accomplished Northern Ireland instrumental rock band (below) has been quiet of late, but there is good reason for that. Ah, c’mon! Since then, the Detroit siblings have released many fine cuts (many of those mid-1990s releases for 430 West still work wonders today), remixed a rake of tracks (including DJ Rolando, Massive Attack and Inner City) and taken their show around the world. Hosted by one of the country’s best presenters? Heading to the races on this occasion will be such acts as Ejeca, Phil Kieran, The Night Institute’s Jordan and Timmy Stewart, Jake Nolan, Hammer, Brame & Hamo, Long Island Sound, Meadbh O’Connor and many more. It’s billed as “the ultimate end of year college blowout” which may come as news to those stuck in libraries studying for end of year exams. The Paul McLoone Show – Today FM Presents Live Connolly’s of Leap, Cork 9pm Adm free Road trip! The Model, Sligo April 16-June 22 themodel.ie A major survey show of the work of Ronnie Hughes, long Sligo based, who has been working and exhibiting regularly since the beginning of the 1990s. SET in TIME includes 33 works on paper from the Serge Lifar Collection, with set and costume designs by many of the artists Sergei Diaghilev commissioned to design sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes between 1909-1929. The event brings together such club runners from around the country as OBE, 909, Subtech, Touch of Techno, DIE, Techno & Cans, Sweatbox, Afterlife and Faint so they’re certainly sure of a turnout. For children of the 1980s, the Wing were a touchstone, a band that straddled trad, folk and pop, and introduced many a newcomer to the intricacies of traditional tunes. Since the late 1980s, Guilfoyle …

Irish dogs and Irish writers

So far as I am aware, there is only one Irish Water Spaniel that features prominently in Irish fiction, and that is Maria, the memorable bitch that appears in Somerville and Ross’s collections of short stories about an English Resident Magistrate (R.M.) in Ireland in the late nineteenth century. Yeates accepts that Maria has performed “pretty well as a lion”: she has chased “all dogs unmistakably smaller than herself”, and whenever possible has eaten the game that her master has shot. Part of Maria’s role in these stories involves her capacity to span some of the different social, ethnic and political traditions within Ireland. In 1774, the novelist, poet and playwright Oliver Goldsmith published his wonderful compendium, A History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. She has also bitten beggars, bullied servants and hidden “ducks’ claws and fishes’ backbones” behind the sofa cushions. This was a hard-mouthed hunting dog that not only found game, but could catch and kill birds as well as retrieve them, which meant that ownership of expensive guns was not essential to the hunt. On one hand there is Major Yeates, a Resident Magistrate, who is portrayed as a well-meaning, but rather dull official, who invariably fails to grasp the small but vital nuances of life in rural Ireland. The dog was considered to be “racy, and of the soil”, and, perhaps more importantly, it was not associated with the landed gentry. In time, the beloved dog grew old and sick, and Beckett’s mother arranged for her to be euthanised while Beckett was away from home. As Sam Slote has pointed out, for Joyce, dogs are always mongrels, but it is “precisely in this mongrelisation that they might have some affinity to the Irish”. Beckett was particularly fond of one of the terriers, a bitch called Wolf. However, Beckett found he “could not take a reasonable view” of the terrier’s death, and became so depressed he may even have contemplated suicide. When I was a teenager, my mother recommended that I read the R.M. This might suggest that Giltrap’s dog is the real-life model for Joyce’s dog, but that interpretation may be too literal, and risks missing the point of Joyce’s satire. He explains that the spaniel had been given to his wife as a wedding gift. May Beckett is generally considered to have been an emotionally withdrawn woman who lavished an open affection on her …

Michael O’Shea: A one-hit wonder 20 years in the making

His debut feature, The Transfiguration, was a monochrome vampire movie set in an unfashionable corner of New York. Then I wrote a slasher film and we failed to get money for that,” he remembers. A guy and a girl walked up to me after a screening and said: ‘Can you settle an argument?’ He thought he wasn’t a vampire and she thought he was. We filled in all the different sections and each charges 60 bucks. “Then I fell into fixing computers for rich people. There might be an off chance of landing at the semi-attached Directors Fortnight at Cannes. Eric Ruffin plays an African-American kid who has become obsessed with all representations of the vampire. The old myths were about telling you that death is natural and if you defy death, you become this appalling monster. “It was like filling in a lottery ticket,” he laughs. I had no agent. He certainly believes himself to be that. “You have no idea. A decent review at Sundance or the South by Southwest Festival helps. Is that what we made?” The film’s screening in Un Certain Regard on the first Saturday triggered a standing ovation. I am saying something larger about what capitalism does to us. I was thinking to make something cheaper that was a portrait film in our reality.” The result is a very singular piece of work. He would take the subway and go from this place that felt like a wasteland and then he’d go and hunt in the new fancy New York City. “What are you suggesting?” O’Shea laughs damply. All the machinery that goes behind getting films to viewers was missing. I made a terrible industrial video. “I was a cab driver for a while, I was a bar doorman,” he says. He may even be a vampire himself. “We never, imagined we’d get in. Things changed things when he hooked up romantically with producer Susan Leber. I actually started out working in film. We had nothing. I was a cab driver for a while, I was a bar doorman,” he says. “There is a lot of Irish-American working class. I did that for 10 years. “The old myths were about telling you that death is natural and if you defy death, you become this appalling monster. At no stage since the late 19th century have there been so many such stories around. They announced …

Meet Julia, Sesame Street’s first autistic character

That “Julia sort of way” is a subtle indication that the character is somewhere on the scale of autism, not a single encapsulation of a complex condition with many possible variations and expressions. She ignores Big Bird’s appeal for a tactile high five, expresses her contentment with an excited flapping of her hands and becomes greatly distressed by loud noise, retreating to a calming space with a reassuring toy. Against the fantastic reassurances of its vibrant neighbourhood – where playtime is always educational, the alphabet a crucial sponsor, and its Muppet residents are a reliable mixture of the informative and wildly idiosyncratic – her green eyes, flame-orange hair and familiar yellow fur barely stand out among Big Birds, Counts and Grouches. Julia recoils from the mess of finger painting, for instance (“That’s why a paint brush works for you”), and creates instead an image of painstaking detail. On first impression, there is nothing particularly unusual about Julia, the latest addition to Sesame Street. But just as this enduring feathered figure has made it easier for tall, imaginative introverts to find their place in the world, Sesame Street – and a Sesame and Autism campaign – is paving the way for better representation of autism on screen and for a comfortable acceptance of autism in society. Big Bird, long given to woeful rumination, takes it hard at first: does Julia dislike him, or is she just shy? As Julia, whose behaviour is modelled on her performer’s autistic son, become a fixture of the show, that confusion may begin to lift much sooner. “Sometimes people with autism might do things that are confusing to you,” Big Bird is gently reminded. Surprised to find an unfamiliar four-year-old, painting beside Elmo and Abby with unwavering focus, who did not return his greeting, Big Bird is introduced to new patterns of behaviour to which the others are already breezily accustomed. “See, Julia has autism,” says Alan Marouka, the token human, “she likes it when people know that.” When Julia, first introduced as a digital animation, made her physical debut this week in the US, only Big Bird didn’t seem to know. But as the long-running and groundbreaking US children’s series introduces its first autistic character to a worldwide audience, Julia’s differences are carefully unpacked and respected. “She does things a little differently, in that Julia sort of way,” they explain.

City breaks 2010: Damascus

Later, outside the Umayyad Mosque, a flock of doves, disturbed, flapped up, up, past minaret and balcony, towards a pair of planes droning across the blue. You walked down Straight Street, the only one mentioned in the Bible – Acts 9:11, no less – and still Starbucks-free, past the house of Ananias, who plucked the scales of dead skin from Saul’s eyes At lonely Palmyra, your guide, who had eyes the colour of jade, tucked a stray lock of hair inside her hijab, offered a water bottle, as you squinted in the sun, your brain splintered by the intricacies of history. The travel site said now’s the time to go. So you flew into the earth’s oldest living city, a topography of roses woven into its name. In a courtyard of marble and geometry, a lemon tree cast an arc of shade over your table. You scanned the parched walls for something simple to rest your eyes on, and found a stone carving of a vine, its grapes fat with promise, tendrils curling towards the future.  Go now, the site said, before it changes. A waiter with a pony tail, a gold crucifix, and a civility that’s the bequest of millennia, brought olives and flatbread and sweet white wine. Stayed in a boutique hotel, with wifi and antique kilims, down an alley where the houses stand so close it’s as though they want to kiss.

Ed Sheeran at 3Arena: This is pop without the chewing gum snaps and rehab receipts

Ed goes romantic Where things take a decidedly more cynical turn is when Ed decides to go romantic. Will he succumb to the pleasures of pop? Photograph: Aidan Crawley Entirely normal pop star When he invites Belfast band Beoga onstage for a trad end to the night’s proceedings the crowd erupts, county colours fly and tricolours are unfurled to the tune of Steve Earle’s Galway Girl before Sheeran bursts into his own updated tribute and a parlour pounding version of Nancy Mulligan – your family favourites repackaged and sold to you a-new. It’s hard to believe Thinking Out Loud wasn’t created in a laboratory There are glimpses of this would-be ego, flashes of a wolfish popstar beneath the everyman when he bursts into life on the zippy glee of Sing (which sounds like it was created to be bellowed by an Irish crowd) the gap-year goofiness of Barcelona or on the more thoughtful I See Fire where he cheekily mixes in a chorus of Rag n’ Bone Man’s Human. The song glides to a dramatic crescendo with the images of grey skies and mountainsides engulfing him in his own personal Game of Thrones. Hopefully this funtime Ed is a side he’ll embrace for his next album and he won’t get lost like his young fogey counterpart Adele who is trapped mining her limited unhappy past for her fans. Remember the collective insanity about David Gray, the anointing of Damien Rice? Which is all very sweet but when he says it standing in front of a massive screen that multiplies his own image like a flicker book of thousands of Eds bearing down on the crowd akin to some kind of pop propaganda it sounds a bit silly. Not a dangerous, confrontational art-pop star like Gaga but rather the reproductions of Warhol’s Campbell soup cans. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times  Ed is the genuine article, treating even gigs as giant as this like it was an open mic night down the local. As he implores the crowd to “Get home safe” like the thoroughly good guy he purports to be, tricolour draped on his shoulders like an Olympian of the people, it’s hard not to wish for a dose of weirdness to upset the balance of Ed Sheeran – the entirely normal pop star. Ed Sheeran settles €19m copyright infringement lawsuit Funtime Ed Ed is not struggling at some unsigned event, Ed …

The Incredible String Band, from inside and out

Finally I unsheathed my pen and stabbed out “It’s 1957 and I’m standing in the corner of the vast playground of George Heriot’s school in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.” Andrew Greig Once in a while it feels necessary to go back the past, to find whatever it was that you left back there, sensing it was something you could do with now. High on enthusiasm and aspiration but lacking in talent and experience, Fate & ferret never actually made any of our four albums. That changed everything. Andrew then told me he was keen to write a story based around himself as a young admirer of the Incredible String Band. Having written some overlong songs with ease in the past I now had difficulty trying to expand my ideas into prose. We would construct as he put it “two separate memoirs but in tandem”. Over time, I got the message. Pleasurable as they were, I had to admit that my once burning musical ambition had stalled and sparked out. Jon went on to make the generous decision to accept my initial excuses and allowed me to continue snail-like. To have lived again in 1967-70, with all our youthful daftness, boundless trust and innocent pretentiousness, as we surfed the only optimistic decade of my lifetime, secured by the welfare state that surrounded us, unremarked-on as the air – yes, it has helped. Songwriting was a skill I’d developed over the years through early tentative inky scratches on half-filled notebooks and discarded pieces of paper; sometimes taking months, sometimes arriving fully formed but often abandoned. I would write the story of The Incredible String Band; its formation and the willing abandonment of my accountancy career. You Know What You Could Be was published by riverrun on April 6th I hadn’t kept photographs or written diaries so didn’t have these useful reminders of the past to hand. December 1967, at our school folk club, I heard three classmates sing Mike Heron’s Chinese White, and felt like Yuri Gagarin, weightless in space December 1967, at our school folk club, amid hearty Scottish songs and solemn protest songs, I heard three classmates sing Mike Heron’s Chinese White, and felt like Yuri Gagarin, weightless in space. Most astonishing and liberating of all, the Incredible String Band came from Edinburgh, not Liverpool, London or America. Luckily two of my friends, Atty Watson and Ian Ferguson, came …

In most sectors, the hopefuls give up early. So why do musicians stick it out?

The wannabes and gonna-bes rarely get far enough down the road to harm themselves or anyone else. In sport, by comparison, the reckoning happens earlier in the day. Yet people keep coming onto the pitch to have a go. If gigonomics were bad then, they’re brutal now. I’ve been thinking about the dreamers again because there are still a lot of them out there. The combined cash spent on getting them match-fit and business-ready would probably pay for water charges, Garda reform, new hospitals and have enough left over to give hard-pressed TDs a 10 per cent raise.  Unhelpful disruption Tech-led disruption has accelerated and accentuated this trend rather than alleviate it. We’d pass their name to other talent scouts and scene watchers and wait for them to flourish. The dreamers, though, keep on coming. I’ve lost count of the number who’ve come this way, talked large, threw the necessary shapes and failed to make the cut, leaving only a whiff of what-might-have-been in their wake. Simple. That and write some bloody great songs. Musicians still persevere with the notion that the big hit is around the corner if only the stars would align and radio DJs would play their tunes and festivals would pay them in cash rather than beer. They’d be better off buying a scratch card, to be honest, if that’s what they’re after. Just because you can play the guitar doesn’t mean that music owes you a living. About 15 years ago, many acts and musicians used to think that technology would do away with the gatekeepers and they’d live happily ever after as a result. While tech did obliterate entry-level filter roles, it went on to nix everything else in its path while it was at it. There can only be one Ed Sheeran or Adele or Christine & The Queens for a reason. Part of you wants to stop them before it all gets too unpleasant, but they’re adults for the most part so they should know what they’re doing.  But we’re optimists in this corner, so there’s also a part of us which wants these acts to have a good go of it. The volume of dreamers who come over the hill never lessens. With music, though, it’s different. You still want them to come along and shake things up. You still want them to dream big about what might be. You can keep …

What makes us humans and not robots?

Reborn as a chatbot Using the accumulated data of a life lived through technology, Ash is reborn as a chatbot. Midway through the first season of Sense8 – a science fiction drama created by the Wachowski siblings and J Michael Straczynski – a mysterious man named Jonas asks a series of rhetorical questions. It’s about how, without loss, there is no gain – without leaving things behind, there is no going forward. The more Martha talks to him, the more life-like he becomes. However, shows like Channel 4’s Humans and HBO’s blockbuster Westworld set out to challenge the idea that the technological cannot know anguish. Brooker returns to the question of grief in the most recent season, in an episode called San Junipero. To imagine? Absences which become presences, which become part of who we are. Though the programme does backtrack its way to a happy ending, Kelly’s powerful evocation of what it means to live and lose the ones we love is a rare expression of existential commitment and an acknowledgement of the weight of the past. Leo is “human”; Odi, though invaluable, is not. Soon though, the robot’s uncanny but ultimately imperfect replication of a loved one has repercussions. Most Black Mirror episodes revolve around a particular technological innovation and its complex consequences. They have no sense of time distinct from the passing of microseconds. Odi, his out-of-date “synthetic,” keeps those memories alive for him. The attempt to stave off grief with technology is a failure. If 1987 is forever, what is it worth?  Technological anguish Perhaps the most inhumane thing about computers is that they don’t age, they date. He can’t love me, but I see all those years of love looking back at me.” Love and memory Leo is a higher-level robot, an evolution of Odi, driven by the memory of the death of his “mother,” and the pain it causes him. San Junipero is a virtual world – forever stalled in 1987 – to which people can “pass over” after death by virtue of having their minds stored in a vast computer system. Like all the best science fiction, Sense8 is about both recognising what essentially makes us human and imagining what an expanded notion of humanity might look like. “What is ‘human’?” he says. “I look at Odi, I don’t see a synthetic,” he says. Each episode presents a tale, by turns dramatic, tragic, …

Academy’s rule change could dash Irish animation Oscar hopes

The Cartoon Saloon release – a Canadian-Irish-Luxembourgian production – is due towards the end of the year. Let’s wait and see what happens with Nora Twomey’s upcoming The Breadwinner. It cannot but have helped that they were chasing a select, educated electorate that appreciated independent animation and understood how the art worked. The fight to be noticed may have just got that bit tougher. Unsurprisingly, there have been suggestions that the rule change came about because the studios were upset about smaller, independent films nudging aside blockbusters. “The Documentary Branch Executive Committee will resolve all questions of eligibility and rules.” That rule change has been largely well received. Another announcement – on the surface less dramatic – has triggered a great deal more rending of garments. The problem is that Johnny steak-eater won’t have bothered to watch the film from Kilkenny. Mind you, Angelina Jolie is producer. Made in America may have qualified by playing Sundance, but it was definitely one such beast. Everyone expects it to be in the conversation come Oscar season. But it seems inevitable that calling on fewer voters with specialist knowledge will favour the big beasts over the plucky scrappers. “Invitations to join the nominating committee will be sent to all active Academy members, rather than a select craft-based group,” the Academy clarified. We can’t know if this is true. The awarding of the former award to OJ: Made in America triggered some controversy this year. “In the documentary categories, multi-part or limited series are not eligible for awards consideration,” a statement read. So they might be all right after all. But the Academy did make an announcement worth attending this week. The general feeling was that some entities are very clearly not movies. But surely it was a five-part miniseries? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has moved. Significant changes have been made in rules applying to two of the orphan categories: best documentary feature and best animated feature. And it could be a bad thing for the Irish film industry. Even the most fervent Oscar fanatic is probably now enjoying relief from gossip about the runners and riders for the season’s biggest awards. Could Song of the Sea have beat out The Lego Movie if every steak-eating, middle-aged dad in the Academy were eligible to vote? The problem is not that such voters will inevitably prefer the Warners flick to the …

Idris Elba on the pressures of ‘Guerrilla’ warfare

“I have to do work that means something,” she says, as if it were barely a choice, “otherwise I can’t sleep at night.” With Guerrilla sparking legitimate debate about the isms before it’s even aired, she can rest easy. “I’m very lucky to have a career that I’m proud of,” says Idris Elba, grinning behind the shades which suggest exactly that. “It’s all about progression, and we still have some ways to go, but this show pushing a conversation forward. As suggested by Ridley’s involvement as well as that of high-end US programme makers Showtime and Sky Atlantic, the grittiness of London’s underbelly has been smoothed over by some high production values, to which Elba contributed as executive producer. It was low-hanging fruit, to be offered this.” Despite the fact that he’s definitely the star of the show – he’s the last to appear at the premiere and that’s how you know – the central protagonists of the movement are Babou Cessay as Marcus and Freida Pinto as his Indian girlfriend Jas. It’s entertaining and interesting. A cursory google brings up her passion for politics: if it’s not the Twitter bio where she insists being called an actress rather than an actor, it’s the headline where she’s quoted as “the Jeremy Corbyn of the acting world”. “The popcorn stuff, I love to do. Everything in life is a variety.” Idris is more qualified to speak of the credible actor’s pendulum swing than most. While Ridley, its writer, creator and director, has defended his position by explaining the real-life roots of the show, as well as citing his hard to digest but critical storytelling, it can’t be easy to explain away the overlooked contribution of black women to this social change. Later this year, she’ll help reassess the stereotype of women in the title role of Paula, a BBC2 drama by the celebrated writer Conor McPherson. Unable to find justice through ordinary means, the couple take the movement in a violent direction. Passion for politics Resident in London since she was 15, Gough is best known for her stage work, which won her the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress last year. And there is the wider international story that resonates with other cultures too. “The diversity wasn’t just in front of the camera either; there were women behind the scenes too, it was really quite something. My character Kent is …