Operating as writer and market gardener from his base in rural Kilkenny, Hubert Butler explored Eastern Europe and the Balkans, establishing himself as “Ireland’s Orwell”, our greatest essayist since Jonathan Swift. The film traces the writer’s journey through Stalinist Russia of the early 1930s, through pre-war Vienna where Butler worked to smuggle Jews into Ireland, to his exposure of the hidden genocide of half a million Orthodox Serbs in WW2.
Butler’s pursuit of the story of Croatian War Criminal Andrija Artukovic through the leafy suburbs of Dublin epitomise his untiring spirit. This highly visual and expansive film – assisted by rich archive footage – explores why Butler “was fifty years ahead of his time” (Olivia O’Leary) and “one of the great Irish writers” (Roy Foster).
Poet Chris Agee and biographer Robert Tobin lead the line of an impressive set of contributors while Steve Wickham (The Waterboys) provides an original score with a suitably Balkan flavour.
“Butler is that rarest of things – a private investigator without a client” Fintan O’Toole
“Johnny Gogan’s thoroughly engaging documentary makes great use of lately declassified documents and location. A parade of compelling contributors.. turn out to be what the Avengers are to the Marvelverse. Marvellous.”
Tara Brady, Irish Times