My wife, Margaret, and I had the pleasure of seeing a “cast and crew” screening at the Curzon cinema this morning of Noble, a powerful film based on the life of the social campaigner Christina Noble. Noble by name, noble by deed, Christina’s story is one of victory and setback, a life transformed through wit and defiance – and an enchanting singing voice that celebrates life where there is poverty and hopelessness.
Directed by Stephen Bradley, it is evocatively set in the Ireland of the 1950s and 60s, and more recently in Vietnam. It tells the story of a brave and single-minded Irish woman born in poverty, with a keen sense of destiny, not immediately revealed, who against the odds successfully campaigns to improve the lives of street children. Her empathy and support for Vietnamese children is a way of healing the rift in her own childhood, and restoring goodness to the world.
The film went down exceptionally well, and is one of the finest I’ve ever seen. There are some great performances in it, including by three actresses who play the lead role of Christina, including Deidre O’Kane and Sarah Greene. Stephen Bradley is now looking for a film distributor, so needs us all to give this film profile and publicity.
Every scene is a masterpiece of composition, atmospheric, dynamic and thought-provoking. It moves at a cracking pace, boldly juxtaposing past and present. It is dramatic and fast-moving, sharply punctuated and economic as a factual documentary, at times dark and disturbing, at others warm and light-hearted. Unlike many films today, it has an Ancient Greek theatre discipline of speaking about the horror of existence without lingering on its detail. It is not the best PR for Irish nuns.