Orphans (1998 film)

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Directed by Peter Mullan
Produced by Paddy Higson
Written by Peter Mullan
Starring Douglas Henshall, Gary Lewis, Rosemarie Stevenson
Music by Craig Armstrong
Cinematography Grant Scott Cameron
Running time
101 minutes
Country Scotland
Language English

Orphans is a 1998 Scottish black comedy film written and directed by Peter Mullan and starring Douglas Henshall, Gary Lewis and Rosemarie Stevenson.

This was the first full length film directed by Mullan, who later won a Best Actor award at Cannes for My Name is Joe, and who went on to direct The Magdalene Sisters and Neds. He has said that the film is not autobiographical, but that he wrote the film shortly after the death of his mother, and that each of the four main characters represent an element of what he was feeling at the time.[1]

The film was funded by Channel 4 Films, the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery Fund, and the Glasgow Film Fund.[2]

The soundtrack includes music by Craig Armstrong, and Billy Connolly singing Mairi's Wedding and two songs he wrote for the film.


Three brothers and a sister meet in Glasgow to prepare for the funeral of their mother, Mrs Flynn. The night before the funeral there is a storm that tears the roof off the church. The film follows the siblings' four separate journeys through the night.


Distribution and reception[edit]

Having funded production, Channel Four Films decided not to distribute the film as they did not think it would attract a large commercial audience.[1] The film was first shown at the 1998 Venice Film Festival, out of the main competition, but gaining four awards for Mullen: the Cult Network Italia Prize, the Isvema Award, the Kodak Award and the Prix Pierrot. In 1998, it also won prizes at the Gijón International Film Festival, and the British Independent Film Awards. It won the Grand Prix at the 1999 Festival du Film de Paris and won Mullen the Best Newcomer award at the 2000 Evening Standard British Film Awards.

In interviews, Mullen has said that once Orphans started winning awards Channel Four apologised and asked if they could distribute it, an offer he refused.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "The Guardian/NFT interview: Peter Mullan". The Guardian. 4 November 2003. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Full record for Orphans". Scottish Screen Archive. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 

External links[edit]

Orphans at the Internet Movie Database