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The Laughing Boy
Behan 100

  • Wednesday 15 November 2023
  • 7.30pm
  • €5

in irish and Greek, with English subtitles

91 mns

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In the presence of director Alan Gilsenan and scriptwriter and narrator Theo Dorgan

Written by teenage rebel Brendan Behan, the well-known Irish song “The Laughing Boy” was penned in memory of another iconic rebel, Michael Collins. But this song also had an extraordinary and dramatic afterlife as “To Yelasto Paidi,” the powerful left-wing anthem of resistance against the dictatorship that ruled Greece in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Translated by the poet Vassilis Rotas, Behan’s words in Greek were set to music by the legendary Mikis Theodorakis.

The song remains an enduring and potent cultural force in the heart of Greece today. This documentary film takes poet Theo Dorgan on an odyssey of his own, as he attempts to uncover the truth of the story behind the song. It is a narrative that interweaves the tragic and bloody birth pangs of both modern Ireland and modern Greece. But these histories are also bound together by something more profound and transcendent: the power of a song.