The RTÉ Player team share their top picks to watch on RTÉ Player this week.
You may have seen RTÉ’s recent #iam campaign shining the light on the many and varied experiences of people living in Ireland today. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at a three part documentary series exploring identity in Ireland today, I Am… I Am Irish is an engaging and visually arresting documentary that rips apart the meaning of Irish identity for young people living in Ireland in 2016. Ask the Internet what it means to be young and Irish and the reply is a sea of stereotypes. It seems we are a land of self-obsessed, Tayto-crunching, red lemonade-loving, leprechaun-hugging nitwits but, we are so much more than that! In this one-hour documentary we explore the true understanding of the phrase ‘I Am Irish’ for people between the ages of 15 and 34 years old. Journalist and social commentator Una Mullally helms brutally honest conversations with influential and outspoken young people. Whatever your answer is to the meaning of being Irish, prepare for it to be challenged by some of our contributors. I Am Traveller follows Love Hate’s John Connors as he embarks on a personal journey to tackle head on the uncomfortable truths about racial stereotypes and Traveller identity within Ireland today. In this personal journey John travels around the country meeting Travellers and settled people alike. Through the exploration of his own family’s experiences of violence, addiction, discrimination and suicide, John will confront head on the good and the bad of traveller culture. With the migrant crisis in Europe on the rise I Am Immigrant, explores what it’s like to live in Ireland when you are from a different ethnic background. Following a number of Irish immigrants, the programme documents the daily challenges, as they see them, through their eyes. Watch each episode now on RTÉ Player.
Join Nathan Carter as he goes on the trip of a lifetime to Nashville, Tennessee, immersing himself in the city’s vibrant scene and finding out why country music means so much to so many people. Now living in Ireland, Carter first grew up in Liverpool where his grandfather introduced him to country music at the tender age of three. Many of Nathan’s musical heroes have a deep connection with Nashville and in this documentary he follows in their footsteps and explores the city that is the beating heart of the world’s country music scene. He jumps at the chance to perform in the famous Bluebird Café, where Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift were discovered; and he takes to the stage of The Ryman Auditorium, famous for its long association with the Grand Ole Opry and for hosting huge stars including Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. Nathan hangs out with legendary singer Crystal Gayle, and even accompanies her on the piano as she sings her Grammy-winning hit ‘Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue’. During his trip, Nathan meets up with some old friends including The Chieftains’ Paddy Moloney; and he makes some new acquaintances, including 84-year-old designer Manuel Cuevas who has styled everyone from Frank Sinatra to Elton John. It’s every country music singer’s dream to record a song in Nashville and Nathan gets the chance to record some new material in one of the city’s top recording studios, with session musicians who have worked with the biggest names in the business. A huge fan of country music giant Johnny Cash, Nathan makes a very special trip to the nearby city of Hendersonville, where Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter spent their lives together. It’s a dream come true for Nathan to meet their only son, John, who shows him around the cabin his father built to escape the spotlight, and where he spent some of his happiest times. Watch now on RTÉ Player!
What Not to Miss?
In this new feature documentary, which chronicles the life and times of Johannes Vermeer, one of the most loved, treasured and well-known artists in the world today, Vermeer, Beyond Time, adopts an imaginative and sensitive approach, focusing on the work itself but also choosing to explore Vermeer’s family life including his conversion to Catholicism, his artistic contemporaries and the wider world of the short lived Dutch Golden Age of the 17thCentury. French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Cottet explores the individual paintings and teases out what has come to be known as the Vermeer style; the representation of light, the interplay of colour and the effects of perspective across the same themes, places and objects. Images from his paintings have become part of our collective imagination and are instantly recognisable as Vermeer’s paintings are of a world inhabited by refined and cultivated women; respectful or troublesome servants; charming young people and learned men. His ruthless elimination of objects and things that serve no purpose results in an art that suspends time and that leaves us, the viewer, always wanting to know more. The film adds much to our understanding and knowledge of the painter, while still allowing for the mystery and allure of his art. Vermeer’s death in 1675 was sudden and incredibly sad. Overwhelmed by poverty, physically weakened and humiliated, he died at the age of 45. Soon afterwards, his paintings were sold to cover his debts. Vermeer disappeared from memory. His rediscovery some 200 years later has seen his popularity soar, claiming both our hearts and our admiration. This documentary is screened during the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, organised by the National Gallery of Ireland in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The exhibition continues until mid September. Watch Vermeer, Beyond Time now on RTÉ Player.
Documentary of the Week
John Giles wants to tell his life story, in his own words. Sticking with the habit of a lifetime, he’s going to say it as he sees it. This is the tale of a young Dublin boy raised in the inner city markets area, a gifted teenager who signed for the Busby Babes two years before the Munich Air disaster, who grew into one of the most revered names in English soccer with an all conquering Leeds United team. It is the story of a father figure of Irish soccer who went on to manage for club and country and who with Eamonn Dunphy became one of the most memorable double acts in the history of Irish television. This documentary looks at key moments and memories in John’s life. In Ireland, locations will include his childhood home in Ormond Square in Dublin’s market areas, the famed Dalymount Park and the Wexford beaches where John and his family spent their holidays. In the UK, John visits the iconic Old Trafford, as well as making a trip to a crucial Leeds United game at Elland Road. GILES will observe 60 years of change for the fans, players and managers who make up the world of football. The programme will recall an era where John – a gifted footballing talent – lived in cold, attic digs and worked during the week as a factory apprentice, before playing a club game for Manchester United on the Saturday afternoon. He will remember ferrying overnight to Dublin and walking with his boots in a brown paper bag to play in his international debut for Ireland. It’s all a far cry and a poignant contrast from the multi-millionaire teenage superstars of the modern era. For the sports lover, there will be evocative archive of champagne moments on the field but the documentary offers much more than football highlights to the RTÉ audience. GILES is a social history of the working class cities in which John was reared and lived. It is a memoir of an Irish emigrant in England. It is a warts-and-all account of dressing rooms, players and managers that have entered the pantheon of the all time greats. It is the story of a wife and family that have loyally followed John around the world throughout his nomadic career. And it is a case study of the football industry over half a century of change.