Triggered by the story of a mother having her child shot in the legs, what initially started out as an article turned into a film much bigger than the brave filmmaker Sinéad O’Shea could have imagined.
In the city of Derry, we are introduced to the O’Donnell family. ‘Philly’, the son in the title of the film, had been accused of drug-dealing and other activities that was not appreciated by dissident Republican community. A community who don’t accept the Good Friday Agreement that ended the war in Northern Ireland (aka ‘The Troubles’) and take it upon themselves to police the neighbourhood. Fearing for her son’s life, Philly’s mother was given the option to either have him shot in both kneecaps or suffer a fare more severe.
O’Shea presents and environment where government and law enforcement are laughed at. Individuals such as Hugh Brady have become a sort of mediator between paramilitary groups and those who have been judged to have done wrong by the community. Drug-dealing seems to be at the pinnacle of what isn’t tolerated. The only constant face throughout, the film spends a fair amount of time exploring Hugh’s history as well as the way he handles these complex situations he is often in the middle of.
As we see in one chilling statistic, there have been more suicides since the ratification of the Good Friday Agreement than there were deaths during the war. The fact that all this violence occurs in a small community is shocking proof that ‘the Troubles’ aren’t over. The specifics of the conflict have simply changed.
Saturday, October 20, 7 PM, St. Anne’s Church