The Ballad of a Great Disordered Heart
A creative collaboration by Aidan O’Rourke, Becky Manson and Mark Cousins
A film about Edinburgh’s Old Town and the centuries of adjacent and vertical communities who have called it home. About a handful of streets around the Cowgate which have long housed a proud Irish diaspora. A film about folk music and its power to connect people. A film told through folk music.
Musician Aidan O’Rourke lives in the heart of the Old Town. During lockdown, he got to know three of his octogenarian neighbours, all of them called Margaret, and he listened to their stories. With fresh appreciation for his own family roots, he brings together a group of sensational Irish and Scottish folk musicians and investigates what home and belonging mean, and the role of music and storytelling in binding these elements together.
Featuring a stunning original soundtrack by O’Rourke and live performances by Liam Ó Maonlai, Brìghde Chaimbeul, Comac Begley, Róisín Chambers and Aoife Ní Bhriain.
Aidan O’Rourke is a fiddler and composer. Raised in Argyll, his roots are Scottish and Irish but his music roams the edges of those traditions. In 2006 he co-founded the celebrated folk trio Lau and he spearheads numerous other collaborations. He wrote the music for the Gaelic cinematic documentary Iorram, which premiered at Glasgow Film Festival in 2021.
Becky Manson is a filmmaker from Orkney. Interested in routine, repetition, and ritual, she tells small stories that speak to universal themes. Since 2014 she has made over 35 short films with the National Galleries of Scotland, including Ray Harryhausen, Titan of Cinema, in 2020. Her documentary short, Bin Day, premiered at EIFF in 2019.
Mark Cousins has directed twenty feature length films, forty shorts, forty hours of TV, and published five books. His themes are cinema, cities, recovery, walking and looking. He has won the Prix Italia, the Stanley Kubrick award, the European Film Academy's Innovation award, a Peabody and many other awards around the world. His next three films are about the rise of Fascism, Alfred Hitchcock and the brain of painter Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.