A new version of Capital City Dublin 1974-75, a film by Brendan Halligan and Jim Mulkerns, will have a special advance-launch screening as part of Ireland’s Culture Night, on 16 September, 2016.
The film is a new DVD version of a previously unreleased short film made just over forty years ago, when Dublin looked more like a post-war European city in 1946 than a nineteen-seventies European capital. As Secretary of the Irish Labour Party in 1969, Brendan Halligan had originally commissioned independent film maker Jim Mulkerns to film the city as part of footage to be used for party political broadcasts. After filming more material for another party political broadcast in 1973, following which Labour came into power in the National Coalition Government, they worked together to produce a documentary. The idea was to show it to various public authorities with the idea of letting the images speak for themselves and hopefully prompt action.
For many years the film existed in silent celluloid only, under the preservation care of the Irish Film Archive. Then, on the film’s fortieth Anniversary, the idea of a creating a new version of the film came about. Sunniva O’Flynn and Raelene Casey of the Irish Film Archive facilitated conversion of a digital copy of Capital City Dublin 1974-75 for Scáthán, Brendan Halligan’s own publications and media imprint. Design and technical production on the project came from Jim Mulkerns’s daughter Helena, whose company Cyberscribe created the 2016 titles and look.
Next came a new original soundtrack from Dublin musician Josh Johnston. Johnston, who had previously worked with the Irish Film Archive as a live accompanist for screenings of his Grandfather Denis’s film, Guests of the Nation, was struck by the feel of the silent footage, and used the same “live” accompaniment technique to create the new Capital City soundtrack. It lends a haunting new aspect to the film.
With a launch and select distribution of the DVD to take place in the coming months, this special screening for Culture Night, 16 September 2016, will take place at Dublin’s Unitarian Church on Stephen’s Green at 10pm.