‘Grow Happy,’ couldn’t say it better myself. This is the theme for this year’s Bealtaine. The artist, John Butler Yeats, wrote that, ‘Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing or that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.’ Bealtaine is a reminder to us that, no matter what our age, we always have the potential for growth. So in the spirit of this sentiment, The Model have programmed a full and fun programme of events from dance classes, artist’s talks, tours and film screenings.
On the 1st May at 11am, we are opening the festival with a screening of, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring Judy Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy. This is the perfect film for Bealtaine and definitely fits in with its theme, ‘Grow Happy.’ A group of retired ladies and gentlemen travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Although when arrive, they find that the hotel is less luxurious than its advertisements! But the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to work its charm on the new guests in unexpected ways. Coffees and teas will be provided before the screening, so come early.
On May 2nd at 1pm, there will be a screening of the newly released You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils). This is a gripping drama set in the glorious vineyards of St. Emillion, Bordeaux. Starring Niels Arestrup (A Prophet), who plays distinguished vintner, Paul de Marseul, reaching the end of his career and concerned about his successor. It’s a film of many pleasures, particularly the fine performances from its talented cast.
One of the absolute highlights of the festival will be the screening of four documentaries from the Irish made and filmed Hands series, which were made by the talented husband and wife team, David and Sally Shaw-Smith. This series of documentaries were made in the 1970s and 1980s and documents a way of life in Ireland, which even then, was disappearing. These amazing documentaries focus on the traditional crafts and lifestyles, where the emphasis was on the skills of human hands rather than on machines.
These will be free screenings and the two screenings from the series Hands on the 18th May at 5pm are: Hands 30 – Rushwork, which is based in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon and shows the the harvesting of rushes on Lough Ree, curing and making traditional rush baskets and other items. The other documentary screened on 18 May is Hands 36 – Of Bees & Bee Skeps and this was the winner of the Golden Harp for Ireland and is in now part of the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This is an arresting and moving documentary and records the traditional work of bee-keeping from making a straw skep to catching a swarm, and extracting honey. The Model are delighted that the filmmakers, David and Sally Shaw-Smith will be attendance for this very special screening.
The two screenings from the Hands series on May 25th at 5pm are Hands 29 – Currachs and Hands 13 – Chairmaker John Surlis. Currachs shows Ireland’s prehistoric skin boats and their regional variations, their use and construction, including the rare Co. Donegal paddled currach. Hands 13 – Chairmaker John Surlis – features, the making of ‘the Leitrim Chair,’ a rustic slab and stick chair using a cleft Ash, the drawknife and the cooper’s mare.