The film drama “Holy Island” by Irish filmmaker Robert Manson will be released in German cinemas by UCM.ONE in May 2024 on the Artkeim² label.

Holy Island” is a story about two lost souls, Rosa and David, who are trapped in purgatory in the form of a run-down harbour town. They meet while waiting for a boat to leave the island and both long to return home. Together they are forced to traverse an abnormal labyrinth, piecing together their past lives through shared conversations and memories. In the end, only one of them can be saved.

Holy Island” is the director’s second successful collaboration with UCM.ONE. The director’s multi-award-winning feature film debut “Lost in the Living” was released in cinemas in 2018 on UCM.ONE‘s film label Darling Berlin and has been placed and marketed in international VOD distribution since 2019. Robert Manson‘s second feature film “Holy Island” was made as part of the Arts Council of Ireland’s Authored Works programme and had its world premiere at the 66th Cork Film Festival (2021). The film has screened at festivals in India, Spain and the USA.

UCM.ONE distributes the film theatrically and worldwide in all sales areas (with the exception of film distribution and exploitation for Ireland).

This film explores themes of death, loss, home, love, emigration, family, survival, redemption and loneliness. Contemporary archetypes and stereotypes of ‘Irishness’ and national identity are explored through intergenerational encounters within this story.

Film data

Holy Island
Director & Screenplay: Robert Manson
Producer: Claire McCabe
Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle, Conor Madden, Dermot Murphy, Mark Doherty, Maria Oxley Boardman
Cinematography: Evan Barry
Editing: David Byrne
Country: Ireland
Year of production: 2021
Production companies: Samson Films & Ballyrogan Films
Genre: Drama
Lenght: 89 Min
Language: English
Subtitles: German
Aspect Ratio: 2,39:1 (2048×858)
Sound: 5:1; Stereo
Rating: FSK 12 (requested)


Director’s statement by Robert Manson

“The main role of David is played by two actors, an idea taken from Buneal’s “The Obscure Object of Desire”. The first half is played by one actor, a sombre and melancholy performance. Then there is a change and a younger actor takes over the role for the middle and later part of the film; this character is softer, more vulnerable and compassionate. The psychological change and development of the character of David is visually emphasised by this change of actor. The actors playing the role of David do not look identical, but they come from the same part of the world and have grown up similarly. This concept highlights an exploration of the concept of the duality of the self.”

“The film’s aesthetic for the black and white, lifeless harbour city of Limbo is an allusion to Michael Powell’s A Matter of Life and Death, in which the question is posed as to why the sky is black and white. The answer: because there is no life there. On the screen are predominantly 4K black and white images. In key sections of the film, flickering patches of colour are inserted to represent moments when the screen, the locations and the actors come alive and rich again. Super 8mm represents past memories in those healing moments when the characters close their eyes and their lives flash before them. These are not their lives or their direct memories, but the transplanted images of a collective consciousness. Super 8mm archive footage from my father’s archive was collected for these segments of the film. This bridges the visual gaps between the past, the present and the future. We shot sections on standard 16mm to connect all formats, 4K, 16mm and 8mm.”


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More information about the film label: Artkeim²