NUALA--A LIFE AND DEATH, AN AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY PRESENTED BY ORIGIN IST IRISH FESTIVAL
A multi award winning documentary film about Nuala O'Faolain, an intellectual, novelist, literature professor, newspaper columnist and the New York Times best selling memoirist.
Her memoire, ARE YOU SOMEBODY? made her an international celebrity and sold millions of copies and after that she wrote three more books including two novels.
Nuala 0' Faolain was born in a catholic house hold and had eight siblings. Terry 0'Sullivan her father, a dashingly handsome philanderer and a playboy was a famous gossip columnist who neglected his
wife and his children throughout his life and had multiple affairs with younger women. Her mother developed a lonely
habit of going to the pub and staying there and drinking till she would pass out.
Nuala had a very lonely childhood and out of her loneliness she developed the love of books and of literature. As a grown woman she had an unconventional life. Beside being a brilliant woman who was full of life and a literary intellectual force she always felt like an outsider. She went through the
struggle of painful self discovery and was hungry for love but always looked for it in the wrong places. She started to have affairs with much older married men, having a glamorous life, going to the parties, drinking and having a lot of sex. But she was restless and in the desire of seeking what she couldn't find, she kept moving away from most of her relationships eventually. Love was not there for her.
It's such a poignant and sad story that in her defeated effort to seek her father's love the tragic result of never finding it was obvious. She started to drink, her mother passed away of alcoholism and two of her brothers died of the same disease in England. She got a scholarship but it was taken away from her because of her bad behavior but since she was the most capable and brilliant young intellectual she ended up in Oxford. She became a force of nature when she came back. In her late 50's she published her memoire which became a phenomenon. She ultimately had a relationship with another brilliant woman Nell McCafferty for 15 years but moved out of that as well and went to NY where she had her last lover, a lawyer named John with a little daughter from his previous marriage and Nuala had difficulty being with the kid as well.
Film makers of Nuala are Patrick Farrelly and Kate'O Callaghan and they did a great job.
Film is narrated by stunning Marian Finnucane, an RTE talk radio host and a childhood friend of Nuala. She interviews Nuala's three sisters who are a riot with great Irish humor, there are clippings
and photographs of her family, her interviews after her memoire was published and photos of Nuala who was a beauty. The movie has very sad moments but amazingly wonderful laughs in it as well but then comes the most tragic part of the movie which made me cry so much when out of the blue Nuala is diagnosed with brain cancer. She doesn't want to go for chemotherapy but decides to get radiation treatment. She decides to still travel. She goes to Paris, Madrid, Berlin, New York but eventually decides to come back home, Then there comes the most moving moment of this tragic documentary when she is interviewed by her friend Marion Finucane's on her radio show. During her devastating illness she had been extremely brave in dealing with it. At her radio interview she sadly confess, "Marian,
I don't want more time. As soon as I heard I am going to die, the goodness went from life."
Her last words in the film are, "I am broken hearted--was loving life, am afraid."
This documentary is one of the best film I have ever come across. It is so immensely sad, so touching, so brilliantly energetic like Nuala herself and at the end very very tragic.
We also found out at the screening that Marian Finucane, the narrator and Nuala's childhood friend also passed a few weeks before the screening in NY. I couldn't sleep all night and Nuala's brilliance, her tragic death and the pain of her loneliness which she felt intensely throughout her life will not leave me soon.