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Helen Mirren plays Marcella, the widow of a murdered Protestant policeman. Her lover is a 19 year-old Catholic and IRA activist, Cal (played by John Lynch), who reluctantly became an accomplice to the murder and is now hunted by the police. Marcella is first drawn to Cal because he is a victim of Protestant violence, and because she herself is of Italian-Catholic background and does not relate to her Protestant in-laws. When Cal first meets Marcella at a local library, he is smitten with her and is not aware that she is the widow of the man he helped kill. Cal is compassionate and is able to see the war from both sides, knowing from personal experience the suffering of the Protestants, whose homes or stores have been burned or bombed, and the attacks on Catholics such as his father, who loses his home to Protestant terror. Marcella invites Cal to live in a cottage on her farm, and he tries to hide from his violent past, but his IRA brethren won’t let him be. When the police close in, Cal becomes a victim of the violence that he tried so hard to escape. The film strives to go beyond the common caricatures of the Irish people and show the humanity that resides beneath the violence and reactionary politics on both sides of the conflict. Helen Mirren won the 1984 Cannes Best Actress prize for her performance. CAL was produced by David Puttnam (Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields), and the film's score was made by Mark Knopfler of the band Dire Straits.

Director(s): Pat O'Connor
Cast: Edward Byrne, Julia Dearden, Lawrence Foster, Catherine Gibson, Audrey Johnston, John Kavanagh, John Carroll Lynch, Donal McCann, Brian Munn, Daragh O'Malley, George Shane
Run Time: 1h 43min
Cinema Date: 1984
Distributor: Warner Bros.