The Outcasts

Written and directed by Robert Wynne-Simmons, with Mary Ryan and Mick Lally in the lead roles, camerawork by Seamus Corcoran and music by Steve Cooney.
The story of ‘The Outcasts’ is a myth spun together from Irish folklore and true events, in particular tales of the “time before the famine”. It was also influenced by the poets William Blake (The Book of Thel), and William Butler Yeats. It tells the story of Maura, a girl thought to be backward, and of her awakening as a result of her encounter with the outcast fiddler and shaman, Scarf Michael, who becomes her lover and teacher. The filming almost had to be abandoned when, just before Christmas 1981, the main location was buried under 14 feet of snow, but was resumed in February 1982, with money from the Irish Arts Council and the Irish Film Board, and was acquired by Chanel Four U.K. for the “Film on Four” series. It was the first feature film for fifty years to be primarily funded from Ireland, and opened the door for the revival of the Irish Film Industry. It was shown at festivals around the world.

Awards & Prizes

"Best Film" and "Critics Prize" - Brussels Fantasy Festival

"Best First Feature" and "Best Actress" - San Remo Film Festival

"Special Prize for Originality" and "Jury Prize" - Oporto Film Festival

"Prix du Publique" - Geneva Film Festival

"Irish Arts Council Award"

Quotes and Reviews

"The Outcasts has provided one of the deepest and most enthralling experiences of my life." David Blum (Music Columnist, New Yorker)

"Like some powerful and fantastical magnet, The Outcasts draws our attention to the Republic of Ireland's nascent film industry." (Peter Davalle, The Times, London)

"In imagination and skill, the makers of The Outcasts are wealthier than many new film makers in this or other countries" (Mary Leland, Irish Times)

"Mary Ryan delivers a marvellous performance as Maura, a magnetic, deeply felt creation, from an actress with an extraordinary screen presence." (Michael Dwyer, In Dublin)

"Magic, as distinct from cunning special effects, is hard to find in the cinema, but [The Outcasts] is steeped in it." (Shaun Usher, Daily Mail)

"'Magic' is the word some critics applied to it at the time, in 'over the moon' fashion, but the word has some meaning here." (Derek Malcolm, The Guardian)

"The Outcasts has nothing fey or twee about it. Its strength is that it treats its material with respect, skillfully avoiding any hint of ironic distance or any over-committment to the supernatural. As a result it also acquires a strong political dimension as a powerful critique of materialism." (Jill Forbes, Monthly Film Bulletin)

The Outcasts film still showing cast members
The Outcasts film on four
film from Irish Arts Council and the Irish Film Board
 design by visualeze, london