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Older Than Ireland

"a chirpy little charmer"

★★★★ - STUFF 

- A delightful documentary about bringing up a century. 

One puts it down to keeping busy by constantly digging a hole and then filling it the next day.

Another attributes it to never eating a vegetable in her life. The most successful grew so tired of being asked what her secret was that she claimed it was working as a prostitute.

They are 30 Irish centenarians, the stars of this delightful little documentary.

Director Alex Fegan (who also looked at another aspect of Emerald Isle life in his 2013 tale The Irish Pub) has cleverly crafted a kind of chronological narrative out of their musings, covering everything from their first memories (a lot of which seem to involve new shoes) to life in triple figures.

What fascinates is their frankness. Many recall how "brutal" and "savage" their educators were, others recall the tumultuous events of the 1916 uprising and the "frightening" "black-and-tans" period. Partners' flaws are laid bare, as are concerns about declining moral standards and today's youngsters "doing nothing on their little machines".

But there are also some sparkling moments of humour. One woman's face lights up as she recalls persuading the lads to swim before stealing their clothes, while another opines that the arrival electricity wasn't completely welcome because to "allowed you to see all the dirt". There's also a delightful acerbic reaction to an innocent comment in a supermarket that one of our stars "has been keeping well".

"I've had diarrhoea for two weeks and this my first day out," she retorts.

And it's clear that many of them were still as a sharp as a tack when this 2015 documentary was filmed. One gentlemen laughs at the irony of being known as a "gay lothario" back in his youth, while his fellow interviewee twinkles that while he doesn't own a mobile phone, "I'm bloody glad to be mobile".

Full of brilliantly captured candid moments, Older Than Ireland is a chirpy little charmer.

- James Croot, STUFF


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