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Day-Lewis calls for film festival to be renamed in critic's honour

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS put it forward as a fitting end credit to Michael Dwyer's remarkable career.

The Oscar-winning actor yesterday told the funeral mass of the popular film critic that Ireland's leading film festival should now be renamed in his honour.

"Just as a last thought, it's absolutely none of my business, but Michael was the co-founder and the life force in the creation of the International Dublin Film Festival, and the sustenance of that wonderful festival," he said.

"I've absolutely nothing against whiskey [Jameson currently sponsors the event] but I would love to think that maybe from now on that festival could be renamed after him."

Stars of the screen and stage mingled with RTE newsroom colleagues of Mr Dwyer's partner, Brian Jennings, in the large congregation at the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh, Dublin, yesterday morning.

Mr Dwyer died last Friday at the age of 58 following a six-month illness.

Day-Lewis, a friend of the critic for 20 years, said that he had spoken to Mr Dwyer shortly before Christmas and had attempted to arrange a private screening for him of his new film, 'Nine'.

The movie has received a mauling from the critics.

"It wasn't possible in the end and although I regret it, in one sense there's a slight sliver of relief in the fact that at least I know 'Nine' wasn't the final straw," Day-Lewis said to laughter.

"His encouragement over the years meant a very great deal to me," the actor added.

"Of course, he didn't like everything, but his criticism was always compassionate. He was never cruel, ever. Nor was he ever self-serving. For him the love [of cinema] was indistinguishable from his very self."

Among those present yesterday were actors Maria Doyle Kennedy and Liam Cunningham, directors John Carney and Paddy Breathnach, the author Colm Toibin and Mr Dwyer's 'Irish Times' editor Geraldine Kennedy.

The music was provided by Finbar Furey and Francie Conway in the form of 'The Lonely Boatman'.


In the funeral booklet, tributes were paid by actor Brendan Gleeson, singer Glen Hansard and producer Martin Mahon.

RTE newsreader Aengus MacGrianna also read out a few words written by Mr Jennings, Mr Dwyer's partner of 24 years.

"I will never meet anyone again who I have loved so completely, so deeply," he said. "My darling, beautiful, gorgeous man is gone but, Michael, I will love you forever."

Mr Dwyer, a native of Tralee in Co Kerry, is survived by his mother Mary and two sisters.

Irish Independent