09 March 2004
The Film: The Passion of the Christ
Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ' is a re-telling of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus. Gibson began his career 25 years ago with the low-budget and very violent 'Mad Max'. Both it and 'Lethal Weapon' were to become series and they made Gibson into a popular star - but he did more challenging work as such as 'The Year of Living Dangerously' and playing 'Hamlet'. He directed and starred in 'Braveheart', which won 5 Oscars. He says 'The Passion of the Christ' has its origins 12 years ago when he was in the middle of a spiritual crisis which caused him to re-examine his own faith, and to meditate on the nature of suffering, pain, forgiveness and redemption. From those beginnings, he saw the potential to bring the full power of modern cinema technology to bear on the story . . .

Rita Fagan, Ronit Lentin and Tony Ó Dálaigh discuss 'The Passion of the Christ'

The Play: Five Kinds of Silence
The playwright Shelagh Stephenson's first stage play was 1996's 'The Memory of Water', winner of an Olivier Award for Best Comedy when it moved to London's West End in 2000. Another of her plays, 'Five Kinds of Silence', is currently running at Andrew's Lane Theatre in a Calypso production, directed by Bairbre Ní Chaoimh and timed to coincide with International Women's Day, which was yesterday. 'Five Kinds of Silence' was originally a radio play and won the Writer's Guild Award for Best Radio Play of 1996 and also the Sony Award for Best Original Drama. It's a harrowing story of domestic violence, including sexual abuse, as told by a disciplinarian father, Billy, played in this production by Garret Keogh, and his family - almost all of it after Billy meets his death at the end of a shotgun. The other leads are Bernadette McKenna as Billy's wife Mary, Úna Kavanagh as his elder daughter, Susan, and, Mary Murray as the younger daughter, Janet.

The Panel discusses the Calypso production of Shelagh Stephenson's 'Five Kinds of Silence' at Andrew's Lane Theatre

The Book: The Last Flight of the Flamingo
The author Mia Couto was born in Mozambique and is one of the most respected of the younger generation of writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa. After Mozambique got its independence in 1975, he worked in the news media but is now an environmental biologist. He has published poetry and five collections of short stories, and his first two novels, 'Terra Sonambula' and 'Under the Frangipani' were translated into several languages. His new novel, 'The Last Flight of the Flamingo', is a mystery in more ways than one. It is set just after the end of Mozambique's Civil War - local soldiers have been blown up and the same thing is just starting to happen to United Nations peacekeepers. Italian investigator Massimo Risi is trying to gather information about the crime, assisted by a local translator, the narrator of the story.

The Panel discusses Mia Couto's 'The Last Flight of the Flamingo'

The Exhibition: Yanagisawa Gallery
The Graphic Studio Gallery has just opened a new exhibition of original prints by ten artists whose work is regularly seen at one of Japan's most prestigious art galleries, the Yanagisawa Gallery in Tokyo. Japan has a great tradition of printmaking, so it's no surprise that the show features woodcuts, etchings and aquatints by five Japanese artists, but there's also work by five Europeans, among them Irishmen Fergus Feehily, Richard Gorman and John Graham. The aim is to show up not just the differences but also the exchange of ideas in the work as a whole.

The Panel discusses 'Yanagisawa Gallery, Tokyo at Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin'

The Performance: Helle Perl and Lee Santana
Fans of the French film 'Tous les Matins du Monde' will be familiar with a seven-stringed instrument, the viola da gamba. The viola da gamba is one of the ancestors of today's cello and it was popular in Europe in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. One of the world's foremost exponents of the instrument, Hille Perl, is currently on a short Irish tour, courtesy of Music Network. She's performing early music from Italy and Spain as a duo with Lee Santana, who plays the chitarrone, a long-necked archlute.

Watch the performance

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