Magazine article New Internationalist

Songs for a Raggy Boy

Magazine article New Internationalist

Songs for a Raggy Boy

Article excerpt

directed by Aisling Walsh

Song for a Raggy Boy follows The Magdalen Sisters as the second Irish feature in recent times about the suffering of children in reform 'schools' run by the Catholic Church. Set in 1939 and based on events in Cork writer Patrick Galvin's autobiography, it's often harrowing and violent. The school is little more than a brutally run prison, its teacher-priests concerned not with education, but control. Terrorized, dehumanized children - referred to by prison numbers rather than their names - suffer mental, physical and sexual abuse: beatings, lashings and rapes.

Unwittingly into this comes a lay preacher, Mr Franklin (Aidan Quinn), who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War. He's a man who believes his job is to teach and who tries to give the boys a love of learning and literature - and succeeds! …

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