NYU Washington, DC and Solas Nua presented a screening of Sanctuary. This film, adapted from an Irish stage play, highlights the forces working against a couple with intellectual disabilities and is credited with overcoming Ireland's restrictive laws regarding prohibition of "handicapped" persons from renting hotel rooms unless married.
Larry and Sophie are in love. What could be more natural for them than to want to be alone, together? They bribe the feckless Tom to book them into a hotel for an afternoon’s tryst and look forward to getting to know each other, like countless couples before them. But Larry and Sophie aren’t any couple – they both have intellectual disabilities and Tom is their care worker. By attempting to be intimate, they aren’t just breaking the rules – they’re breaking the law.
While Larry and Sophie try to figure out their feelings, their future and how to use a condom, their friends from the training centre escape the not so watchful eye of Tom and go on a joyful rampage through Galway. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Sanctuary is a truly subversive piece of cinema about two young people trying to be together, in a world doing everything to keep them apart.
87 min., Ireland, 2016
Solas Nua, ‘new light’ in Irish, is the only organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to contemporary Irish arts. Based in Washington, D.C., their mission is to bring the best new Irish artistic talent to American audiences.