In Love Eternal, Ian Harding - played as a young man by Robert de Hoog (Skin) - has been besieged by incidents of sudden, tragic death ever since he was a young boy.

The movie begins with father and son chasing each other through the woods, playing hide and seek. Then Ian discovers his father’s inert body and his life begins to spiral out of control.  

Suffice to say that the tragic deaths do not end with the death of Ian’s dad. The suicide of a girl at school causes further mental disturbance, and Ian’s mother becomes concerned. The young man becomes reclusive and depressed, and he blows out the candles on his 17th and 18th birthdays in a psychiatric hospital.

He seeks out others who wish to end their lives as he does and those he encounters are young women. However, his decision to end his life is thwarted by his desire to have sexual intimacy with them when they are dead.

Then he meets Naomi, who is played by Polyanna McIntosh, who starred in The Woman and Filth. Naomi is herself bereaved, but her ability to transcend personal tragedy through a kind of fearless exuberance takes Ian out of himself.

Love Eternal was filmed in Luxembourg and in Ireland, chiefly in Cobh, but the location is non-specific. Written and directed by Brendan Muldowney (Savage) Love Eternal is based on a Japanese novel by Kei Oishi entitled In Love With The Dead.

It won the inaugural Fresh Blood Award at the recent Black Bear Film Fest in Warsaw and won Dublin Film Critics Circle Best Irish Feature’ award at this year’s Dublin Film Festival.

Love Eternal is a surreal, decidedly creepy adventure, and one could imagine Neil Jordan being attracted to this dysfunctional young man and his bleak, troubled existence in a haunted, misty port town. Stylish and subtle, tentative and enigmatic in tone, it engages from start to finish. Opens in selected cinemas.

Paddy Kehoe