I recently had the pleasure of seeing an excellent new documentary, Barbaric Genius, on the life of John Healy, author of The Grass Arena. The film is directed by Paul Duane. Here’s a snippet from a review by Gordon Gaffney:
Bloody Hell. That’s quite a documentary to watch when you are still recovering from the night before. John Healy, whose parents were from Sligo, was a homeless alcoholic living in London who only stopped drinking when he was introduced to chess in prison by his cell mate, a notorious burgler nicknamed ‘The Brighton Fox’. He went on to play chess to international level before writing an award-winning autobiography, ‘The Grass Arena,’ which went out of print for a number years due to him threatening to kill his publisher.
Director Paul Duane and Healy himself took part in a Q&A chaired by Dr Harvey O’Brien of UCD. Healy recalled that when ‘The Grass Arena’ was published he thought he was getting away from the psychopaths that he was hanging around with when he was drinking, only to discover that the real psychopaths were in the middle class, who he discovered, ‘don’t like listening to problems unless they are their own.’Read more at Film Ireland. Barbaric Genius opens on May 25th at the Odeon Panton St, London, and the Irish Film Institute, Dublin, and then tours.