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Press Comments

„A bright spot on the silver screen.“
(Media Biz No. 39/ November 1997)

„A cult movie.“
(Rennbahn-Express, November 1997)

„A bizarre tale of magic abounding in powerful poetical imagery.“
(TV-Media No. 47/ November 12, 1997)

„A terrific farce.“
(News No. 46/ November 13  1997)

„Bizarre characters, fanciful pitfalls and a double-bottomed dramatization.“
(Kurier, November 13  1997)

„a blazing hell-fire (...) a breathtaking ride on the ghost train.“
(Wiener Zeitung, November 13  1997)

„A weed-like sprouting of the flowers of fantasy.“
(Oberösterreichische Nachrichten,  November 14  1997)

„Original, outstandingly produced, delightful casting.“
(Neues Volksblatt,  November 14  1997)

„The highest degree of absurdity in the cinema.“
(Die Presse,  November 15  1997)

„Certificate: weird.“
(Salzburger Nachrichten,  November 15  1997)

„Singularly unbrilliant.“
(Der Standard, November 17 1997)

„An agreeably unpretentious film.“
(Die Furche No. 47/ November 20 1997)

„A notable film debut. Not to be missed.“
(Austria Today No. 47/ November 21 1997)

„Never has an Austrian film event been such fun.
(Die Gezeit No. 2/December 1997)

„A must for those who like the bizarre Irish folklore.“
(Neue Zeit, Graz, December 6 1997)

„Subtle humour - excellent camera.“
(Kleine Zeitung, Graz, December 6 1997)

"The subversive humour of Flann O'Brien's daring and complicated comedy not only transfers brilliantly from the page to the screen in Kurt Palm's hilarious début movie, it also works well in German."
(The Irish Times, February 28, 1998)

"An imaginative and hilarious screen version of Flann O'Brien's subversive comic masterpiece."
(The Irish Times, March 7, 1998)

AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS

a film by Kurt Palm | 90 min., A 1997

based on the novel by Flann O’Brian

A group of runaway novel characters, among them the mad King Sweeney, working class poet Jem Casey, the devil Pooka MacPhellimey and the drovers Shorty and Slug, get on their ways to attend the birth of little Orlick at the Red Swan Hotel. On the arrival, however, a solid surprise is awaiting them….

Flann O’Brien (1911 – 1966) can be regarded as one of the most important Irish writers of our century. In the years 1937-1953 he had been working as a civil servant in Dublin in order to make a living. Although systematically boozing himself to death he surprisingly enough did not die from cirrhosis but from stomach cancer (well scheduled on the first of April). “At Swim-Two-Birds,” published in 1939, was O’Brien’s first novel. The title of the book was taken from a small island in the Shannon River on which mad king Sweeney stops over on his journey through Ireland.

James Joyce, after the reading of “At Swim-Two-Birds,” wrote about Flann O’Brien: “That’s a real writer with the true comic spirit.”

SYNOPSIS

The student Bran who lives at his uncle’s maintaining a constant quarrel with the same, writes on a novel with different beginnings. For this purpose he invents the devil Pooka MacPhellimey, the villainous John Furriskey and the legendary Old-Irish hero Finn Mac Cool. But John Furriskey himself is the creation of another character invented by Bran called Dermot Trellis. The same Trellis, himself working on a novel, forces all the characters created by him to live in the Red Swan Hotel and do whatever he likes them to do.

Bran develops an additional subplot around the devil Pooka MacPhellimey, who is visited by a Good Fairy learning from her that soon a child shall be born to Dermot Trellis at the Red Swan Hotel, a child the fairy wants to bless with her positive powers. Hearing that, Pooka as well sets off for the Red Swan Hotel to plant the seed of evil into newly-born Orlick’s heart. On their ramblings through the forests Pooka and the Good Fairy meet the drovers Shorty Andrews and Slug Willard and working class poet Jem Casey. The group of four is later joined by mad King Sweeney. After a two days journey the company arrives at the Red Swan Hotel. To kill the time waiting for the child to be born, the group engages in a game of poker the outcome of which gives the narrative course an unexpected turn …

TRAILER

CAST

Paul Shanahan/Shorty Andrews
COW PUNCHER
ANDREAS SOBIK
Antony Lamont/Slug Willard
COW PUNCHER
RENATO UZ
Dermot Trellis
OWNER OF THE “RED SWAN” HOTEL
ANDREAS KARNER
Pooka MacPhellimey
A MEMBER OF THE DEVIL CLASS
JOHANNES FRIESINGER
John Furriskey
A CREATION OF DERMOT TRELLIS
KARL FERDINAND KRATZL
Sweeny
A MAD KING
STEFAN WIELAND
Jem Casey
POET OF THE PEOPLE
ERNST WOLZENBURG
Finn Mac Cool
A HERO OF OLD IRELAND
HARRY ROWOHLT
Bran
STUDENT
WERNER WULTSCH
His uncle HERMANN SCHEIDLEDER
Brinsley
BRANS FRIEND
ANDREAS LUST
A GOOD FAIRY HERSELF
Peggy
WIFE OF JOHN FURRESKEY
KATHY TANNER
Orlick
SON OF DERMOT TRELLIS AND SHEILA BARNACLE
NICHOLAS OFCZAREK
William Tracy
AUTHOR OF WESTERNS
WOLFGANG BAUER
Red Kiersay
GUNMAN
STEFAN WEBER
Ronan
PSALMIST
FRITZ OSTERMAYER
Linchehaun
SWEENYS FOSTER BROTHER
CHRISTIAN WEINBERGER
Conán
BARBARIAN
WOLFGANG ZEISER
Sheila Barnacle KARIN HAUBERT
Usher KARL BERNSTEINER
The wife of the Pooka SOURIE WULTSCH
Cow SENTA
Three cowboys OLIVER HANGL
KARL BRUCKSCHWAIGER
CHRISTIAN SCHREIBMÜLLER
Three gunmen REINHARD JUD
JOHANNES REICHERT
WALTER WICK
Three dead psalmists MARKUS REINBERGER
ANDREJ OWTSCHAROW-WENSKIJ
CLEMENS HÖFLER
Indians NORBERT CHRISTELY
JOHANNES FISCHNALLER
NIKOLAS KERSSENBROCK
ENDRE TIGER
ERLANDO SECRIERU
FRIEDRICH GRUD
PETER BAUMGARTL
ADALBERT GATTERBAUER
HARALD HEINDL
MARKUS SCHAUB
Cowboys JOST HARTL
PETER HOSEMANN
MARCO LOINGER
EMIR PASIC
MARKUS SCHEIBENPFLUG
GÜNTHER STELZER
Cowgirl ELISABETH STECHER-KNY
Sheriff FRITZ WEMMER

.

CREDITS

Writer and Director KURT PALM
Director of Photography WOLFGANG LEHNER
Steadicam Operator GEORG DIEMANNSBERGER
Editor KARINA RESSLER
Music CHRONO POPP
Art Director URSULA HÜBNER
Costume Designer WILBIRG REITER-HEINISCH
RENATO UZ
Make Up Artists KARIN SCHÖN
ULLI KOPPE
Sound BRUNO PISEK
Chief Lighting Technician THOMAS ÖHL
Production Manager AXL NEWRKLA
Line Producer THOMAS DIRNHOFER
Producer MARKUS FISCHER
Production FISCHER FILM

Supported by
Österreichisches Filminstitut
ORF
Land Niederösterreich
Land Oberösterreich

Sponsoring
Frucade (Main Sponsor)
Tullamore Dew
ÖKISTA
Sparverein Die Unzertrennlichen

Advertiser
Bank Austria
Wiener Städtische Versicherung

Facilitator
KulturKontakt (Thanks to  Beate Schilcher)
Agentur Wegra (Thanks to Ms Danek)

Premiere Austria: November 13., 1997 Votiv Kino
Distribution Austria: Filmladen

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