The Poorhouse Revisited (2012)

by Michael Higgins

Details

42 Mins
2012

Cast & Crew

The Poorhouse Revisited (2012)

Restoration and Edit...........Michael Higgins
New Original Score.............Brian Conniffe & Suzanne Walsh

The Poorhouse (1995)

Writer.....................................Michael Harding
Screenplay...........................Michael Harding & Frank Stapleton
Director.................................Frank Stapleton
Producer...............................Catherine Tiernan / Ocean Films
Cinematographer...............James Welland
Editor.....................................Sé Merry Doyle
Production Designer..........Owen MacCarthaigh

Director profile

Michael Higgins

Michael Higgins is a photographer, filmmaker and installation artist best known for his analogue film work. Having grown up…

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Synopsis

In the time of Ireland’s Great Famine, an elderly gravedigger revisits a traumatic event through the decaying visions of his fragmented dreams.

In 1996 the half-hour IFB/RTÉ period drama entitled ‘Poorhouse’ was broadcast. Directed by Frank Stapleton and based on a short story by Michael Harding, the film is set during the time of Ireland’s Great Famine. The plot concerns the relationship of an elderly gravedigger and a young woman. Powerfully evoking a cultural memory of hardship and loss from 150 years previously, the film slipped into obscurity in a forward-looking era.

15 years later the discarded film rushes were discovered outdoors on the Ringsend Peninsula, Dublin – literally unearthed – by film-maker Michael Higgins. The scattered reels of decayed 16mm material consisted of some 120mins of slated scenes, re-takes and camera tests. Restored, re- worked and re-edited, the corrupted frames now resemble fragments of memories distorted through exposure to time and it’s natural elements. Through the layers of cracked emulsion images struggle to re-surface and find a place on screen, as memories for a new audience.

Set to a haunting score by Brian Conniffe and Suzanne Walsh, the gravedigger’s visions emerge from beneath a harsh new layer of archeological detritus, their pathos accentuated by their delicate state of fragmented survival.

The Poorhouse Revisited (2012)

Restoration and Edit………..Michael Higgins
New Original Score………….Brian Conniffe & Suzanne Walsh

The Poorhouse (1995)

Writer……………………………….Michael Harding
Screenplay………………………Michael Harding & Frank Stapleton
Director……………………………Frank Stapleton
Producer………………………….Catherine Tiernan / Ocean Films
Cinematographer……………James Welland
Editor……………………………….Sé Merry Doyle
Production Designer……….Owen MacCarthaigh

Both films featuring Dearbhle Crotty & Edmund ‘Birdy’ Sweeney