Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay

See the trailer for the absorbing Irish documentary recounting the life of Eliza Lynch, the Cork-born beauty who is revered in Paraguay as a national heroine.

When Brazil won the war against Paraguay in 1870, they spared the life, but not the reputation of the woman they claimed was the chief villain in the bloodshed. Irish-born Eliza Lynch, lifetime partner of dictator Francisco Solano López, was painted by Brazil as a puppet master, thief and whore, and in 1991 included alongside Lucretia Borgia and Catherine the Great in a book entitled The World’s Wickedest Women. In Paraguay, the country where she lived as a beloved uncrowned queen, she is a national heroine. Fascinated by the contradiction, Irish academics Michael Lillis and Ronan Fanning embarked on 18 years of research to write a biography which forms the basis of Alan Gilsenan’s unique and compassionate documentary. Blending interviews with re-enactments of Eliza’s life – wonderfully performed by actress Maria Doyle – Gilsenan thoughtfully breathes humanity into a portrait of a much maligned woman.

Gilsenan is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and theatre director. His many films include: The Road To God Knows Where, All Souls’ Day, The Green Fields of France, Zulu 9, The Ghost of Roger Casement, Timbuktu, The Dark School, The Bloody Canvas and The Yellow Bittern as well as the acclaimed documentary series The Asylum, The Hospice and I See A Darkness. For the theatre, he has directed his own adaptation of John Banville’s The Book of Evidence, Tom Murphy’s The Patriot Game and On The Inside/On the Outside, Tom MacIntyre’s What Happened Bridgie Cleary, Jean Genet’s The Balcony, Tennessee Williams’ Small Craft Warnings, Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls and David Harrower’s Knives in Hens. He is a former Chairman of the Irish Film Institute and member of the Irish Film Board. He currently serves on the board of RTÉ, Ireland’s public service broadcaster.

Find out more about Eliza Lynch here: Eliza Lynch on Wikipedia

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