Irish Popcorn: A Doctor's Sword (Live Discussion)
September 29, 2021
Solas Nua's Irish Popcorn! film series and NYU Washington, DC presented A Doctor’s Sword. This webinar was a live discussion and the link to view the film was sent to registrants prior to the webinar.
Film discussion with director Gary Lennon in conversation with Solas Nua board member Kate Meenan-Waugh. A Doctor’s Sword tells the incredible story of how a doctor from West Cork survived some of the most harrowing episodes of World War II. Seventy years later his family searches Japan for the origin of a samurai sword gifted to their father following the atomic destruction of Nagasaki. The sword now resides at the MacCarthy family home, a pub in Castletownbere, west Cork.
This is a story of survival, forgiveness and humanity at the highest level.
Hand-picked by Solas Nua's Capital Irish Film Festival, in partnership with NYU Washington DC, Irish Popcorn! is a bi-monthly, curated series of Irish film.
Registration was required in order to receive the Zoom log-in details for the live webinar discussion and the film link. Please note that this program was recorded.
2015 | Documentary | Runtime: 70 minutes | English & Japanese
Dr Aidan MacCarthy was born and raised in the small fishing village of Castletownbere in west Cork, on the south west coast of Ireland. He qualified as a doctor at University College Cork in January 1939 and travelled to London to find work as a trainee doctor. When World War II broke out he joined the RAF, eager for adventure but was lucky to escape unscathed from Dunkirk in June 1940. Shortly after, he was sent to Asia to ‘Help Singapore’ but his unit was diverted to Java where they were captured by the Japanese.
This began almost four years of brutal captivity as a prisoner of war. During this ordeal he developed a reputation as an highly resourceful doctor with an incredible ability to care for his fellow prisoners despite the appalling circumstances which they faced. Dr MacCarthy was later awarded an O.B.E. for his work in the camps.
Gary Lennon, Director
Gary has been working as a director and producer in Ireland since 2007. He is currently directing “Piano Dreams” a documentary on Chinese piano prodigies in Shanghai. Also in production is “I Dream in Photos” a documentary on Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Cathal McNaughton. This is being supported by Screen Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen.
In 2020, Gary directed and produced, “Castro’s Spies. This film is being represented by Submarine, NYC, and is currently playing on the international film festival circuit.
From 2006-13 Gary worked in Irish Television, before that from 2000-05 he was based in Shanghai, China, working initially as a writer, before subsequently becoming a publisher. Gary has an M.A. from Durham University, UK, in Modern East Asian Studies and a B.A in History and Politics from University College Dublin. In 2013, Gary completed the EU Funded ESoDOC programme, located at the Zelig School of Film, Bolzano, Italy.