are visited by this magical white horse which takes them on a journey across Ireland, metaphorically to ﬁnd themselves and their father.’
Written by My Left Foot’s Jim Sheridan and directed by Enchanted April’s Mike Newell, Into The West brings together the romance of the travellers’ culture and the economic squalor of the Dublin slums in a way that gives the film a strong sense of Ireland past and present. It is cinema’s equivalent of the camp-fire yarn, an engaging and genuinely moving piece of storytelling that fuses ancient Celtic tales with the more modern myths of the cowboy and undiscovered frontiers. Byrne’s Papa Riley is an emotionally driven, unsympathetic man — a former traveller king, now drunken father, who turned his back on his people when his wife died.
‘I stuck with Into The West,’ he explains, ‘because I think it’s more important to make
a small film in Ireland than another big Hollywood film which really doesn’t mean that much. The truth is, I don’t want to be an Arnold Schwarzenegger or a Mel Gibson or any of those guys because the attendant pressure that brings is unbelievable. I feel that what I’ve learned in the American film business in the last five years I can really put back into Ireland by making films there. I don’t feel it as a duty, it’s just what I want to do. It’s a killer, though, because one ofthe most difficult things is trying to keep a life on both sides of the water. I’m married and I have a family in America, yet my cultural ties are to Ireland. Ideally what I’d like to do is, ifI had enough money, have my own financial set-up in Ireland and just make movies out of there. But then again, my wife doesn’t want to live in Ireland.’
His distrust of the American studio system has prompted him to shift away from thespian pursuits into the production arena.
GABRIEL BYRNE FEATURE
I Gabriel Bymoy Tlmti reaniield-Saners train Shooting
Star: (Stuart, Taborl 8. Chang, £20) - see review, Christmas Books
Having found his footing as an executive producer of Into The West, he has gone on to produce Jim Sheridan’s new film (about the Guildford Four) and next year will make his debut as writer/director with The Lark In The ClearAir. The latter is set on the night of 23 October 1962 and centres on the Cuban Missile Crisis and its effect on a small town in Ireland.
‘Every film wants to make money, of course,’ he sighs, pushing back the dark locks that spill over his face when he leans forward intently, ‘but in Hollywood it’s the primary consideration. Whereas I like to think that making money is the secondary consideration and making a good film is the primary thing.’
Into The West opens on Friday 1 1 December. ' Cool World opens a week later on Friday 18 December.
w List4; 17—December 17992 13