Movie about an 8-year-old atheist aired again on Irish TV

Movie about an 8-year-old atheist aired again on Irish TV

The multi-award winning short film Rúbaí  – the story of a young girl’s impending first Holy Communion and her refusal be part of the silly ritual – was recently aired for the second time on the TG4 channel.

TG4 first broadcast the Irish-language film was part of … wait for it … its Easter weekend schedule in 2015.

Rúbaí, according to this report, is an independent and spirited child, wise beyond her eight years and she is definitely not the typical Irish girl. Her point of view is just different to everyone else’s.

Rúbaí is told by her teacher that the First Holy Communion, a bastion of Irish tradition and culture, is fast approaching but Rúbaí flatly refuses to be a part of the classroom preparation.

She’s an atheist and proud of it and whilst she is happy to stand by her convictions the wider society has a problem with such an independent girl and her convictions.

Rúbaí is played by the talented young actor Doireann Ní Fhoighil, 8, from Indreabhán, Co Galway.

Her touching performance as Rúbaí was her first acting job but she has won over audiences in Ireland, the UK, Europe and North America. In 2014, she scooped the award for Best Actor at the Irish Language Media. Doireann currently features as the character Áine in TG4’s soap, Ros na Rún.

Announcing the second screening of the film, The Journal quoted the film’s director, Louise Ní Fhiannachta as saying that Rúbaí:

Faces emotional blackmail, religious and philosophical debate and out-and-out intolerance in today’s supposedly diverse and modern Ireland.

Ní Fhiannachta added that the subject matter of the film is very timely, given the current debate around religion in schools.

I didn’t want to make a controversial film, I wanted to make a film about a little independent thinker, who would really send a message out and challenge our traditions in society.

She added:

The story is universal and I suppose on a national level Rúbaí is a new voice in modern Ireland who challenges our traditions. There’s a huge change happening in Ireland at the moment, especially with the arts.

Rúbaí recently won the jury prize for Best Short in its category at the Babel Film Festival in Sardinia, which is a festival for films in minority languages. Among its many other accolades are the Cleveland International Film Festival’s Programmer’s Choice Award and the Children’s Jury Award at this year’s Alé Kino in Poland. It was also selected to screen at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in 2014.

Hat tip: Peter Sykes

12 responses to “Movie about an 8-year-old atheist aired again on Irish TV”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Well done to TG4 for re-screening this film – it just shows how far Ireland has come and how quickly. Only a few years ago it would have been unthinkable that a movie like this would have been aired in such a bastion of rcc ideology. Come to think of it, well done to the Irish people too. By throwing off the chains of catholicism you are most definitely heading in the right direction!

    And there’s more good news. Apparently the head teacher accused of misconduct in the so-called Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham has been ‘prohibited from teaching indefinitely’. Too bloody right!

  2. 1859 says:

    I was forced to go through with this disgusting ceremony, but I was fortunate because I was much older (10) than the rest of the kids(7 & 8 year olds) and there were enough glimmers of doubt in my mind about what I was doing to help me reject the whole catholic lie later when I was 12. But all the other younger kids must have swallowed this first communion crap wholesale because for weeks in advance they had been indoctrinated in special communion lessons – imagine 50 young, impressionable minds in a school hall being talked to by a fat priest covered in christian bling on a dais, droning on and on about the ‘flesh and blood of our lord’. It still makes me pewk when I recall how callous, how smug and self-righteous this priest was! And how such fantastic ignorance, how such numbing absurdity was presented as self-evident, unquestionable fact!
    Sorry for rant – touched a still-raw nerve.

    Can’t wait to see film – Go Ireland! You make my heart sing!!

  3. Cali Ron says:

    Here’s to Ireland finally starting to come out of the dark ages. The monks of Ireland are credited with saving civilization during the dark ages, but ironically they kept it’s inhabitants in the dark ages religiously. My daughter just returned from Ireland after 9 months there being an au pair and had stories of how Ireland is starting to advance beyond their religious shackles like acceptance of LBGT people, same sex marriage and public opinion about abortion (the majority of Irish support a woman’s right to an abortion, but the law has not changed to reflect their changing attitudes, yet).

    @1859: I can relate to both the raw nerve and rant. I was raised in an evangelical denomination in America and although they didn’t call it first communion we had essentially the same thing. At a certain age (I think it was 6th grade so about 10-11 years old) we had to take classes with the pastor about church doctrine and beliefs. Once we were properly indoctrinated we got baptized in water during a special ceremony during Sunday night service. Our denomination was into full submersion so they had a special tank of slightly warmed (or so they claimed) water behind the choir area were the pastor would pray, over us and then dunk us under the water in front of the whole congregation. We had to wear white robes over our swim trunks which when wet became somewhat see through. I remember being aroused and feeling guilty for it when some of the more mature ladies exited the tank and you could clearly see the outline of their swim wear and erect nipples. I prayed for forgiveness while also praying for more baptisms. Also amusing was how some people would come up from the water speaking in tongues. That really got the crowd going. In reflection I did some stupid stuff while under religions spell and I still am dealing with the bitterness. I’m now free from religion and consider myself an evangelical survivor.

  4. Laura Roberts says:

    Found it on YouTube. It’s a cute story.

  5. L.Long says:

    I was a catlick and well on my way to getting into seminary. But two things happened that drove me to atheism then onto a-dogmatism, My mom bought me an xmas present….1 per month for a year of science kits that taught various science principles. And a few years later found Science Fiction books!!!! Between the two and a revelation at seminary threw me into atheism. So if given a chance there are some ( a few?) who will find their way out of the fear-hate-bigotry of religion into the light.
    I have hope for the few and and am willing to fight the many.
    This is an excellent video, just the right mix of cute-nice- stubbornness to pull it off, this little girl may well be on her way to a great actress.

  6. 1859 says:

    @ Cali Ron: ‘I prayed for forgiveness while also praying for more baptisms.’
    – A great line, I laughed a lot, thanks.

  7. Brian Jordan says:

    @Lazarus Long:
    I fancy science fiction saved a lot of our (?) generation from religion. It was probably the best way to open young minds in those days and the stories were both more probable and more interesting that the fiction we were supposed to believe.

  8. Newspaniard says:

    @Laura Roberts. Thanks for the link to YouTube. I thought the film was longer and couldn’t find it on Amazon.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    @Laura Roberts
    Thanks from me also for the link. Not a bad little movie.

  10. edwords says:

    Do Catholic betrothed couples still go to Cana conferences to be instructed
    on their post-wedding bedroom behavior from celibate priests? Wow!