A fascinating new film telling the story of gallery founder Hugh Lane is currently screening in cinemas nationwide. Called Citizen Lane, the film combines drama and documentary to tell the story of art collector, dealer, philanthropist and gallery director Hugh Lane, who founded The Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in 1908 (now Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane). Many of the scenes in the film were shot at The Hugh Lane. It features many of the works Lane collected which can be enjoyed for free by visitors to the gallery, now located on Parnell Square. These include Les Parapluies by Auguste Renoir, The Beach at Tourgeville-les-Sablons by Eugène Boudin and Jour d’Été by Berthe Morisot.
Citizen Lane was directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan and written by Mark O'Halloran. It stars Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Hugh Lane. It also features Derbhle Crotty as Lady Augusta Gregory, Michael Gambon as Lord Ardilaun, Marty Rea as William Orpen and Leslie Conroy as Sarah Cecilia Harrison. The dramatic scenes are intercut with interviews from contemporary documentary contributors such as historians Roy Foster and Paul Rouse and art historian Morna O’Neill. The film will be screened on RTÉ television later in the year.
The film has been widely praised on release:
“O'Sullivan's film provides a real insight into Hugh Lane's life and legacy, and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor's performance catches a fascinating, warm, arrogant but overwhelmingly generous man.” - Paul Whitington, Irish Independent
“Its inventive blend of documentary and dramatic storytelling serves to bear out an engaging tale... Citizen Lane… stands as a testament to the man credited with establishing the first known public gallery of modern art in the world, the Dublin Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. The film doesn’t shy away from the fact that Lane was a divisive figure, but it rightfully never questions his visionary talent and accomplishments.” - Dave Higgins, Scannain.com
“A fascinating portrait of Hugh Lane and the controversies surrounding him in life and in death.” - Katy Hayes, The Times
“Tom Vaughan-Lawlor… is excellent among a strong cast as Hugh Lane in this fascinating account of the life of the colourful art collector.” – Claire Collins, Newstalk
“Tom Vaughan-Lawlor… is a wonderful constellation of contradictions as Hugh Lane…. Having scoured old letters and biographies, O’Halloran has plucked out the choicest (and often cattiest phrases) used by Lane and his Celtic Twilight contemporaries… They make for both dynamic, relevant exchanges and moving moments.” - Tara Brady, Irish Times
“In the hands of some of the best people working in the Irish movie industry today – director Thaddeus O’Sullivan, writer Mark O’Halloran, editor Mick Mahon and DOP Kate McCullough – Citizen Lane ends up being a delightful, insightful, fascinating experience.” – Entertainment.ie
“Citizen Lane doesn’t put a foot wrong in its expertly paced 80-minute running time. As well as providing an insight into Lane, the documentary also delves into the changes enveloping Ireland in the early 20th century, where a new sense of Irish cultural identity was emerging. A must-see for those with even a passing interest in the arts in Ireland.” – Sarah McIntyre, RTE.ie