Le frère Irlandais (1999)

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14 January 2006 | luiza do brasil
| Family drama within a stunning portrait of country life on both sides of the channel
This is a wonderful 2 part mini series, or a nearly 3 hour TV film when shown together. Eurochannel, a major cable TV channel to Canada, and Latin America has been showing it for some time now, and still running it this year. I just checked transmission dates in their website. It's definitely worth seeing, particularly if you like family dramas, Irish themes (dubbed into French), the wonderful countrysides of Normandy and Ireland on either side of the "English Channel" ("Las Manche if you're French), and particularly if you like horse stories.

The story begins in Ireland where the romantic & temperamental Eric Conelly (Bruno Slagmulder) is in constant conflict with brother Sean (Gregg Fitzgerald). Their mother's untimely death combined with a failed fratricide between them makes Eric run away to France, where he was actually born. Once there, Eric loses his memory after falling from a horse. Jean Langlois (Victor Lanoux), a champion horse breeder helps him with the help of wife Louise (Catherine Salviat).

Constantly tormented by memory flashes, Eric attempts to establish a relationship with the cute chick in the area, Delphine (Lisa Martino), a neighbor & enemy of the Langlois family. She helps Eric, not only in recomposing his past but encourages him to become a jockey, something Eric shows an uncanny knack for. His talent is noticed by all the horse "aficionados" in this part of Normandy where he was born, where the 3 main adult characters hide secrets from the past.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, secrets from the past are also under the lid. Eric's brother, uncle-priest, and ailing father go on with their lives. But the key detail about the brothers' mother's death is withheld by the brothers' father. Yes, it's a "long-distance soap opera" with secrets to be revealed, where everything which needs falling into place does in due time. The contrasts and the similarities between the 2 brothers, the two locations, the two feuding families, and the two main horses competing for a big title all interlace nicely.

I recommend it highly, and can't understand why a group of users gave "1" ratings, which no film deserves, much less this top of the line European co production. I suspect it may have been a group of English speakers objecting to the Irish characters dubbed into French. But I think that had to be done to make the whole series spoken in one language only, and most of the locations and characters are in fact French. But I'm sure there's a version all dubbed in Irish accented English. But it's not the version the "Eurochannel" has been showing. Don't let that language detail deter you. It's worth a watch.

Did You Know?


Release Date:

18 January 1999



Country of Origin

Ireland, France, Belgium

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