Don’t miss the oppurtunity to go and see Men at Lunch which opens in selected cinema’s across the country today. This is a cracking documentary by one of Irelands finest documentary makers Séan and Éamon O’Cualain of Sonta Films. The film examines the background to the much-copied 1932 photograph of eleven work-men seated on a girder above Manhattan, as they take a break from building the Rockefeller Center.
The archive in the film is astounding and DEMANDS to be seen on the big screen. I saw the film at its premiere during the Galway Film Fleadh and there were audible gasps of amazement from the crowd. You get a real sense of the scale of what these men undertook on a big screen especially when you see the whole of New York stretching out beneath them and you really appreciate the risks that these Iron-workers took as they built upwards to the sky. Seriously. DO NOT MISS IT.
Here’s the trailer…
The film is playing at these cinema’s. So no excuses
Irish Film Institute (IFI), Dublin
Movies at Swords, Dublin
Movies @ Dundrum, Dublin
Omniplex, The Screen Cinema, Dublin
MovieWorld, Gorey, Co. Wexford
MovieWorld, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
And a little bit about how the film came to be…
In 2007 a framed copy of Lunch Atop a Skyscraper – as it was captioned in the New York Herald Tribune at the time – was spotted in Whelan’s pub, Shanaglish, Co Galway by film-maker brothers Eamonn and Sean Ó Cualáin. Their curiousity led them to track down the stories of two local men, now deceased, who are believed to be among the group photographed on the iron beam.
Publican Michael Whelan of Shanaglish told the Ó Cualáin brothers that the photograph had come from a man named Pat Glynn. Pat features in the film along with his cousin Paddy O’Shaughnessy. Both men are convinced that their fathers – both first cousins – were seated at either end of the beam in the iconic photograph in question.
Their fathers emigrated from Shanaglish in the 1920s and found work on the construction sites, as the city spread upwards, at the height of the Depression.
Éamonn Ó Cualáin is the producer of the documentary Men at Lunch, (Lón sa Spéir) which is funded by TG4, the Irish Film Board, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Eamonn’s brother Sean directed the 68-minute film, which has English and Irish language versions. Narration is by veteran Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan.
The film was premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in July 2012, and has also been shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. There were sold-out screenings at DOC NYC, New York’s documentary festival and at Amsterdam’s IDFA, the largest documentary festival in the world. Men at Lunch will be presented at further film festivals in the coming year.
Here’s a Q&A with Sean and Eamon from DocFest in NYC