The Laughing Boy

An Buachaill Gealgháireaching Boy

25th TiDF: International Premiere

The Irish song entitled “The Laughing Boy” was written by a teenage rebel called Brendan Behan in memory of another iconic rebel, Michael Collins – the centenary of whose death was commemorated in 2022. But this song also had an extraordinary and dramatic afterlife as “To Yelasto Paidi,” the powerful left-wing anthem of resistance against the dictatorship that ruled Greece in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Translated by the poet Vassilis Rotas, Behan’s words in Greek were set to music by the legendary Mikis Theodorakis. The song remains an enduring and potent cultural force in the heart of Greece today. The film takes poet Theo Dorgan on an odyssey of his own, as he attempts to uncover the truth of the story behind the song. It is a narrative that interweaves the tragic and bloody birth pangs of both modern Ireland and modern Greece. But these histories are also bound together by something more profound and transcendent: the power of a song. 

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Available at the Agora Market TiDF25

Direction: Alan Gilsenan
Script: Theo Dorgan
Cinematography: Colm Hogan
Editing: Bjorn Mac Giolla
Sound: John (Bob) Brennan, Kieran Horgan
Music: Eleni Karaindrou
Production: Imagine Media
Producers: Kathryn Baird, Sheila Friel
Narration: Theo Dorgan
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: Ireland
Production Year: 2022
Duration: 91'
Contact: Imagine Media Productions
Awards/Distinctions: Pull Focus Award for Best New Irish Documentary – Docs Ireland 2022

Alan Gilsenan


1988 The Road to God Knows Where
1997 All Souls’ Day (fiction)
2002 The Ghost of Roger Casement
2004 Timbuktu (fiction)
2009 The Yellow Bittern
2014 Pioneers and Aviators
2016 Unless (fiction)
2021 The Seven Ages of Noël Browne
2022 The Laughing Boy