Belfast enjoys Good Vibrations

Published Thursday, 31 May 2012
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Famous faces from the entertainment industry gathered at the Ulster Hall on Thursday night for the premiere of the movie Good Vibrations, which tells the story of Belfast punk rock legend Terri Hooley.

Belfast enjoys Good Vibrations
Actor Richard Dormer chats with Terri Hooley outside the Ulster Hall (© Pacemaker)

The locally-filmed biopic depicts the life of the record shop owner and godfather of Northern Ireland's punk music scene in the 1970s, and was shot largely in North Street where the store was established.

The premiere kicked off this year's Belfast Film Festival and has the backing of the Co Down supergroup Snow Patrol.

It was described by UTV's resident film critic Brian Henry Martin as "perhaps the greatest film night in the city ever".

Good Vibrations features an ensemble cast of local actors, including Richard Dormer as Terri Hooley alongside Michael Colgan and Adrian Dunbar.

The creative team also hails from NI, including husband and wife directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, scriptwriters Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry and David Holmes on music.

Terri Hooley told UTV that it was a very emotional night, before adding that he cried when he first saw scenes of the film.

It's a brilliant movie made by brilliant people who really cared about the story.

Terri Hooley

"A lot of people worked for less than they would have got on other films."

He added: "I really have to pinch myself - I can't believe it's all happening."

Film festival organisers said an additional screening has been organised at the Ulster Hall and another at the Movie House due to high demand.

Michele Devlin, Belfast Film Festival Director, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to be showcasing this landmark premiere on our opening night.

"Securing Good Vibrations is a real coup for the Belfast Film Festival and shows just how far the city has come.

"The global interest in this world premiere is a real indication of the high profile the festival enjoys and the film's production demonstrates the world-class level of Northern Ireland's film industry."

© UTV News
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5 Comments
a fan in the world wrote (777 days ago):
mark cousins: world prem of @goodvibesfilm last night. so moving. northern ireland seen thru a new lens. tears and cheers, very deserved. Henry McDonald ( the guardian ) "This is more authentic in terms of rock n roll teenage rebellion than 'American Graffiti', 'That'll Be the Day', "24 Hour Party People' or any other rock biopic or movie. This has to become a cult classic - general release in cinemas globally please Gavin Martin (the mirror) Can only reiterate what everyone has said about Good Vibrations, I teared up right at the start, a few times throughout and was punching the air, stomping the feet, laughing my leg off elsewhere. In 'punk' terms as validating and empowering as England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock , in capturing the emancipatory power of rock n roll and the possibilities of community and human spirit its better than anything I can think of. I loved the way the father and son relationship was drawn and how Terri's anarcho socialism was honoured.
Joe Lindsay in Belfast wrote (777 days ago):
GOOD VIBRATIONS-IN THE LAND OF THE BLIND… I suppose the first two questions that occur when thinking about a biopic review are “Does the subject deserve a biopic?” and “Can it be told in such a fashion that it has a universal appeal?”. In the case of Good Vibrations, the second feature from directorial team Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa, the answer is a resounding “Yes!!”. Telling the story of record shop/label owner Terri Hooley, Good Vibrations starts with the young Hooley losing an eye at the business end of an arrow. His world changes instantly. The first song he hears on the way to the hospital is Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light”. The film continues to follow an equally dark and humorous tone. At the height of the troubles in Belfast, Hooley decides to open a record shop in what was The Most Bombed Street In Belfast. There was some stiff competition for that title at the time. It is at this point that the film, and indeed its subject, really takes flight. Hooley had seen his myriad of friends separate and divide into two sides. He felt part of neither. On seeing the punk band Rudi performing at the Pound bar in Belfast, he realised that the emerging Punk scene was as oblivious to religious divide as he was. This was his calling. As the film documents his grand business plan, love and marriage, fatherhood and Teenage Kicks in an ever increasing round of brandies and Guinness, Hooley appears to be on the cusp on greatness. But ultimately, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a trait of the one-eyed anarchist. Good Vibrations succeeds on a number of levels. The script, by writers Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry, is pacey, natural and expresses the humour of Belfast and its inhabitants where others have tried and failed. David Holmes soundtrack is dizzying as it careers from Girl-groups, through Reggae and of course, to Punk, and is as biographical as the film itself. The music is the man and vice versa. But top credit must surely go to Richard Dormer as Hooley. Already familiar with playing complex and arguably insane characters (he portrayed Alex Higgins in his self-penned one-man-show, the brilliant Hurricane), he inhabits the role with convincing ease, from Hooleys unusual gait to the mild campness of many Northern Irish men, a product of too many hours at the mothers apron strings while their fathers worked to provide. The look of the film is worth mentioning. The colour palette is spot-on. Not in a ‘cinema 1970s’ fashion but the earthy browns and greens add a realistic quality to the film. And yes, the Undertones really did dress like their mothers still bought their clothes for them. There are so many scenes that will remain with me forever. Hooleys epiphanic Rudi gig, the beautifully played scene when he slips on the headphones to hear *that* song for the first time and the very subtle hint at his “I punched John Lennon” story. But its not all larks and laughs. The central story of his marriage to Ruth, played with a deft touch by Attack The Block’s Jodie Whittaker, is such a tragedy of circumstance that it could get a tear out of a stone. And it did with me…
Philippe Pretre in Montpellier - France wrote (778 days ago):
Bravo, tres bonne idee que ce film sur une legende vivante de Belfast, et au dela d'Irlande du Nord...Avec enthousiasme et energie les murs sont tombés et les "bonnes vibrations" irlandaises ont dépassé les frontieres..encore aujourdhui j ecoute les singles de Good Vibrations...Bravo Terry !
Roberta McDonnell in Belfast wrote (779 days ago):
Contrary to the previous comment (which reads more like a Film Studies text book extract and conveys an equivalent depth of passion), the film Good Vibrations pushed every button an audience could possibly desire. And after all, movies stand or fall on the audience response, even if that audience is a bunch of us boring old hippies / punks or whatever! But if you want to get all 'intellectual' and arty-farty about it then on that level too, it is something of a masterpiece. Every factor comes together in just the right amount: story (how could anyone say there is no story? It beggars belief! There is a brilliant story); music to die for (fantastically interwoven); period detail (the clothes were class as was the furniture etc); and of course the passion - for freedom to enjoy music and life amid a crazy time, and believe me, negotiating Belfast in the 1970s was dodgy to say the least. Terri Hooley and his store shone like a light through the dark days and helped us keep hold of the thread of life and a hope for some semblance of future normality. It's here now and he deserves this tribute and we deserve to be proud of this city and this film. Everybody I know who saw it, loved it and they do say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Francesca Felstead in London wrote (782 days ago):
The Good Vibrations movie is presented as a biopic about the life of an Irish music scene veteran Terri Hooley. The movie tells the story of the record store-owner, who opened up shop at the height of the Belfast civil rights conflict in the 1970’s and the latter stages of the punk scene. Actor Richard Dormer plays the role of Hooley in the Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry-written movie. The movie might be worth seeing as an anthropological curiosity, but, as a fully-formed feature film, it's lacking in all key categories. Plot is ignored in favour of chunks of key moments in Hooleys life which is presented as legendary. Yet for the most part the portrayal is unremarkable - and legendary only in terms of the myths he propagated around himself, so the whole biopic promotion seems pointless. His life long association with the music industry was only as a fan and amateur protagonist. Yet the film hangs his legendary status not only on the myths but also on the fact that he stumbled upon a band (the Undertones) and passed them on to a U.S. record major whereby they achieved moderate success. Attributing the success to Hooley rather undermines the ability of the band themselves. I am not accusing the Directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn of being socially irresponsible, because, as filmmakers, their responsibility is to present their vision, not to teach a history lesson. However, by adopting this approach, they rob the movie of potential dramatic tension. Good Vibrations becomes a sporadically interesting glimpse into the rather tame and parochial world of music nerds. Those wishing for a full-on, comprehensive look at the Punk era will be disappointed. The Directors do have some good ideas that result in a few inspired scenes, but the story - at least what there is of a story - is flaccid, and the characters are porously presented and developed. The directors may sympathize with them, but they never get the audience to that point. There is also some lazy film making, the flying scene sequences stir memories of similarly bizarre moments in The Big Labowsky. It's possible that Good Vibrations’ target audience (old punks and hippies now in their 50’s to 70’s) will adore this movie. David Holmes’ music supervision is likely to give the film short-lived cult status among record collecting geeks and may be seen as an interesting but embarrassing period piece.
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