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Powerful Irish Film to Screen
At UW-Eau Claire Oct. 14-17

 MAILED:  Sept. 30, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — "The Magdalene Sisters" (Ireland 2002) will screen Oct. 14-17 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The film will be presented at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Written and directed by Peter Mullan, "The Magdalene Sisters" is a powerful indictment of cruelty, based on the actual testimony of young women enslaved within Ireland's Magdalene girls asylums. Sponsored and maintained by the Catholic Church, the Magdalene laundries were the lifelong fate of thousands of young women deemed to be a moral danger to themselves and others.

Set from 1964 to 1969, "The Magdalene Sisters" is the semi-fictionalized account of the experiences of four women: Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), who made a complaint against a boy who raped her; Rose (Dorothy Duffy), who had a child out of wedlock; Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone), a spirited and beautiful young woman regarded as "a temptress"; and Crispina (Eileen Walsh), a simple-minded girl who was exploited by a powerful man. The girls are among the many entrusted to the cruel mercies of Sister Bridget (Geraldine McEwan), the commandant of the asylum.

"The existence of these religious labor camps run by the Sisters of the Magdalene Order came to light only in the 1970s with the discovery of the unmarked graves of women who lived there," wrote New York Times film critic Stephen Holden. "After the scandal broke, the laundries were closed, the last in 1996. Some 30,000 women are thought to have passed through their gates.

"'The Magdalene Sisters' would be too painful to watch if it didn't have a silver lining," Holden concluded. "Suffice it say that it is possible to fly over this religious cuckoo's nest and remain free. All it takes is courage and the timely kindness of strangers."

The 119-minute film is rated R for violence and cruelty, nudity, sexual content and language.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center's east lobby, (715) 836-3727. The film is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire International Film Society.



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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: September 30, 2004