On Monday last I was treated to a rare night out on a school night courtesy of Netflix Ireland. We were invited to a special screening of new Irish Netflix film The Siege of Jadotville at the Savoy Cinema. My husband was delighted to accompany me as the film is based on the true story The Irish Army’s Forgotten Battle by Declan Power which he had read previously.
I hadn’t been to a movie in the Savoy since my days of helping out with the Dublin International Film Festival in its early years. It was a rare treat to go out to catch a movie in this fabulous setting. And what a movie!
The film is the true story of an Irish UN batallion of 150 sent on a Peace Keeping mission to a small town in the Congo. The town was laid under siege by 3000 troops led by Belgian and French mercenaries and the Irish unit held them off for 5 full days before finally surrendering when they ran out of supplies and ammunition. There were zero fatalities on the Irish side.
The film was gripping, tense and very real yet told with small doses of humour to ease the tension. Sitting in the cinema watching this film together with many of the soldiers who took part in this event was an experience. The tension and emotion in the room was just huge. The crowd rose for a much deserved standing ovation at the end of the film.
Afterwards there was a Q and A session delivered by Dave Fanning as only he knows how. The panel consisted of director Richie Smyth, screen writer Kevin Brodbin, lead actor Jamie Dornan and producer Alan Moloney. Following the Q and A, all the soldiers present were invited down to the front, and there was much applause, squeals of appreciation and another standing ovation. What a special event to be part of.
After spending 6 weeks locked up following their surrender, the unsung heroes returned home from the Congo. The happenings in the Congo were covered up and the men were never given the recognition and accolades they deserved. The heroes remained unsung. Until now. The making of this film and its release in cinemas in Ireland on the 55th anniversary of the siege has led to recognition and praise of these men who fought so valiantly.
The Siege of Jadotville is in Irish cinemas nationwide at the moment and will be released on Netflix on October 7th. Definitely go see it or check it out on Netflix.
Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream Team, and I receive a free subscription to the service and occasional tickets to events in return for writing updates and reviews. I had my own Netflix subscription prior to joining and as always all opinions expressed are my own.