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Award-Winning Irish Film
to Screen at UW-Eau Claire Nov. 16-19

RELEASED: Nov. 2, 2006

scene from "Rory O'Shea Was Here"EAU CLAIRE — "Rory O'Shea Was Here," winner of the Audience Award at the 2004 Edinburgh International Film Festival, will screen Nov. 16-19 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. An inspiring story of independence that follows two unlikely friends determined to face the world on their own terms, the film will be presented at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

"Buddy movies are a Hollywood staple, but 'Rory O'Shea Was Here' puts a new and profoundly affecting spin on the tired genre," wrote USA Today.

Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy) is a kinetic Dublin punk with energy to spare, but his muscular dystrophy has confined him to a wheelchair with movement in only two fingers. When he arrives at a group home, Rory seems to be the only person able to understand the almost unintelligible speech of Michael (Steven Robertson), a 24-year-old patient resigned to his quiet life within an institution's safe, predictable boundaries. Clearly not willing to put down roots in this well-ordered environment, the rebellious Rory convinces Michael to apply for independent living and then volunteers to be his interpreter. With the help of the beautiful young Siobhan (Romola Garai), who signs on as the boys' live-in aide, Rory shows Michael what it takes to truly be free.

"James McAvoy plays Rory as a would-be Dublin punk turned into the R.P. McMurphy of the care home," wrote film critic Roger Ebert. "It's a performance combining joy and determination as if they feed off each other. Steven Robertson has more limited opportunities with his character, but let it be said that by the end of the film we can sort of understand what Michael is saying, and we always know what he means."

"Ireland's increasingly robust film industry is turning out some fine pictures, among them the sweet and deeply moving 'Rory O'Shea Was Here,'" wrote San Francisco Chronicle movie writer Ruthe Stein. "Telling a story about the physically disabled is tricky. If it's too saccharine and uplifting, it will be unbelievable; too maudlin, and nobody will want to see it. 'Rory' is not just somewhere in between, but in exactly the right location. Jeffrey Caine's script, based on a highly original story by Christian O'Reilly, is filled with sharply drawn characters whose lives are alternately sad and funny. The audience feels comfortable laughing because it's laughing with them, not at them."

Directed by Damien O'Donnell, the 104-minute film is rated R.

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, 715-836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby, and will be sold at the door.

The film is sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.

-30-

JS/NW

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