The Image You Missed










A film between
Donal Foreman | Arthur MacCaig

Ireland/USA/France/UK | 73mins  | 2K digital  | 4:3
Written, directed & produced by Donal Foreman
Executive produced by Nicole Brenez & Philippe Grandrieux
Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon

For all queries, please email

This film is a part of the series




An Irish filmmaker grapples with the legacy of his estranged father, the late American documentarian Arthur MacCaig, through MacCaig's decades-spanning archive of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Drawing on over 30 years of unique and never-seen-before imagery, The Image You Missed is a documentary essay film that weaves together a history of the Northern Irish Troubles with the story of a son's search for his father. In the process, the film creates a candid encounter between two filmmakers born into different political moments, revealing their contrasing experiences of Irish nationalism, the role of images in social struggle, and the competing claims of personal and political responsibility.

This film is a part of the series "It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve", produced by Nicole Brenez & Philippe Grandrieux.


Still Images







International Film Festival Rotterdam- Jan 27th, 28th, 29th and 31st (World Premiere)

Dublin International Film Festival - March 4th (Irish Premiere)

CPH:DOX, Copenhagen- March 17th, 19th and 22nd (Danish premiere)

Cinéma du Réel, Paris(French Competition) - March 27th, 28th and 30th (French premiere)

BAFICI, Buenos Aires (Avant-Garde & Genre Competition) - April (American premiere)

Art of the Real at Lincoln Centre, New York City - May 4th (U.S. Premiere)

IndieLisboa (International Competition) -April/May (Portuguese premiere)



1/16/18: Calling it a "captivating film essay", the Netherland's leading national newspaper, NRC Handelsbad, features The Image You Missed alongside Apichatpong Weerathesakul in its list of "film tips for IFFR" that "might be an excellent time spent"...

1/25/18: The Criterion Collection singles out The Image You Missed in this post on IFFR.

1/30/18: The Irish Times and include The Image You Missed on their lists of must-see films at the Dublin International Film Festival. The film also gets a mention in Screen Daily, Film Ireland and Hot Press.

2/2/18: interviews Donal Foreman about The Image You Missedi in Rotterdam.

2/3/18: Acclaimed video essayist Kevin B. Lee, Film Comment critic Jordan Cronk and critic-programmer Carlos Nogueira all include The Image You Missed in their list of favourite films seen at International Film Festival Rotterdam.

2/6/18: The Hollywood Reporter reviews The Image You Missed, calling it "engaging and quietly rewarding".

2/10/18: In the RTÉ Guide magazine, Michael Doherty includes the film in a list of six titles "well-worth catching" at the Dublin Film Festival. He writes: "His excellent debut feature, Out of Here, made a mark; now writer-director Donal Foreman delivers a moving, personal documentary about his father, the documentary-maker, Arthur MacCaig."

2/13/18: At DesistFilm, Chloé-Galibert-Laîné calls the film "a meticulous and challenging comparison of two different ways of being a man, a citizen, and a filmmaker" and "a vibrant call for new fictions to be collectively written.”

2/18/18: Kiva Reardon in Filmmaker Magazine: "The question of what we’re really looking for when we partake in the act of watching ... was also brilliantly explored in The Image You Missed by Donal Foreman ..."

2/21/18: For Film Comment, Jordan Cronk calls the film"a moving and thoughtful first-person essay film."

2/25/18: In today's Irish Times, Donald Clarke includes "the latest from young visionary Donal Foreman" in his list of "the best films to see" at the Dublin International Film Festival.

2/27/18: Again in the Irish Times, Tara Brady calls the film a "wonderful Oedipal essay"...

2/27/18: Donal Foreman is interviewed on Irish national radio (RTÉ Radio 1's Arena) about The Image You Missed.

3/8/18: Síomha McQuinn reviews The Image You Missed for Film Ireland, calling it "poetic and poignant" and "a film full of vulnerability and bravery": "The Image You Missed is engaging and evocative in both form and content. MacCaig’s footage is given new life and perspective under Foreman’s creative influence and his own footage provides a powerful contrast, as a personal archive of youthful experimentation and also as the profound reflections of a seasoned filmmaker."

3/21/18: In his program notes for BAFICI, Sight & Sound's Kieran Corliss writes: "Irish director Donal Foreman’s exquisite, elliptical autobiographical essay film stages a profoundly moving encounter with his late estranged father ... How to reconcile the personal and the political, how we connect (or fail to) with images and with each other through images lie at the heart of this absolute must-see, one of the most charged and beautifully weighted essay films of recent times."

3/22/18: Niall Murphy interviews Donal Foreman for Cinéireann magazine (page 44).

3/27/18: Ronan Doyle reviews the film for "A fascinating formal experiment, anchored by Foreman’s astute editorial instincts ... Foreman has not so much crafted a work of collaborative catharsis as plumbed his own unique circumstance to explore deep, delicate questions of national socio-political soul-searching. In the dialogue he creates between these images of identity, of ideology, and of Irishness, Foreman has once again conflated the personal and the political, the cinematic and the social, the then and the now in a story that resonates far beyond its apparently insular primaries. In seeking to locate an individual through his art, Foreman has demonstrated above all his own profound prowess as a maker and interrogator of images."

3/31/18: The Image You Missed took away two prizes at Cinéma du Réel in Paris: the Prize for Best Original Music and a Special Mention in the French Competition.

Announcing the Prize for Best Original Music, Cosmic Neman described it as “a radical film where the music reminds of the use of sound in the French New Wave cinema. The music takes us by surprise when we don’t expect, through a subtle mix of electronic sounds and wind instruments: for example, by choosing jazz melodies, where the flute and saxophone accompany scenes of IRA guerillas, we are far from the cliché and pathos of war music. Here, music introduces an astonishing counterpoint through its freedom of expression. Bravo!”

Announcing the Special Mention in the French Competition, jurors Aurore Auguste,
Nico Marzano and Athiná-Rachél Tsangári praised the film "for the powerful way in which [it] connects the personal and the political, negotiating a space for a reflection on memory, family and self-determination."



A Note on
"It May Be That Beauty
Has Strengthened Our Resolve"

"In response to André S. Labarthe and Janine Bazin's wonderful series 'Cinéastes de notre temps', dedicated to classical auteurs described by their spiritual heirs from the Nouvelle Vague, our series pays tribute to known and unknown filmmakers who have participated with guns, cameras, or both simultaneously, in the struggles of resistance and of liberation throughout the 20th century, and to those who today continue to fight against all dictatorships. Fearless and often heroic auteurs, they are examples of relevance and courage for which the cinema thankfully represents their collective history; filmmakers of the struggles for liberation, often with romantic trajectories, are also those who have most encountered censorship, prison, death, and today are consigned to oblivion. 

"The series does not stem from a dogmatic list of the rules of the game. It is precisely the opposite, which conducts the movement of films; a gesture of freedom, without weight, by which the filmmaker can witness the work of another filmmaker, of his aesthetic, ethical, and political engagement, of his struggle with the world and with himself.

"Each film from the series is thus in itself a particular object which will have been thought out, produced, and realized according to the necessity that it brings. Each film addresses a common concern shared by all the others—that of transmitting the power of cinema when cinema and life are so deeply affected by one another. It is this concern that forms the unity of the series."

 —Philippe Grandrieux, Nicole Brenez.

Films in the series

Masao Adachi 

Salut et Fraternité. Les images selon René Vautier

The Image You Missed

Newsreel : du cinéma anonyme vers des luttes nommées

(Philippe Grandrieux, 2011)

(Oriane Brun Moschetti, 2015)

(Donal Foreman, 2017)

(James Schneider & Ivora Cusak, 2018)


The Filmmakers

Arthur MacCaig (1948-2002)

::*IMAGE MISSING*:1. His material:ARTSCAN 8-bit:Selfies:Solo poses:Art b&w portraitBorn in Weehawken, New Jersey in 1948, but living most of his life in Paris, Arthur MacCaig directed and produced political documentary films starting in 1978. He received a degree in anthropology from the University of Hawaii in 1971, and a degree from France's National School of Cinema in 1977.

He is best remembered for his debut feature (and film school graduate project), The Patriot Game (1979), a visceral analysis of the conflict in Northern Ireland and one of the first films to passionately portray the Northern Irish nationalist perspective. Produced by Iskra, the French film collective founded by Chris Marker, it was described as “thorough and thoughtful” by Janet Maslin in the New York Times and “informative, vivid and partisan” by J. Hoberman in the Village Voice. It was also described by the UK Foreign Office as “damaging and highly critical of Her Majesty’s Government”. MacCaig would go on to make seven more films in Northern Ireland, charting the evolution of the struggle over a 25 year period, earning unprecedented access to the underground Irish Republican Army.

He would also make several films about another nationalist struggle, that of the Basque-Spanish conflict, beginning with Euskadi: the Stateless Nation, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984 and was described as “serious, intelligent, and effective”by Libération.

He died in Belfast in 2008.

Selected Filmography (as director)

The Patriot Game
Euskadi: The Stateless Nation  
The Jackets Green   
Irish Ways    
Against Her Majesty  
Irish Voices      

I Am Become Death   
War and Peace in Ireland
Song of Ireland    

(1979, feature)

(1984, feature)

(1987, short)

(1989, feature)

(1991, short)

(1995, short)

(1995, feature)

(1998, feature)

(2002, short)


Donal Foreman (director, producer, editor)

Macintosh HD:Users:donalforeman:Documents:ME:MANAGEMENT:SELF-PROMOTION:ME PICS:*Best pics for fests/press*:donalrepeatpic.jpgDonal Foreman (born in Dublin, 1985) is an Irish filmmaker living in New York City. He has been making films since he was 11 years old. Since then, he has written, directed and edited over fifty short films and two features. His first feature, Out of Here (2013) was theatrically released at the Irish Film Institute in 2014, receiving 4-star reviews from major newspapers including the Irish Times, the Independent and the Sunday Business Post. The Irish Times praised the film as "profound, humorous and touching" with "note-perfect performances".

At age 17, he won the title of Ireland's Young Filmmaker of the Year, and more recently he has been nominated for the Rising Star award at the Irish Film & TV Awards, and awarded the Discovery Award from the Dublin Film Critics Circle. He’s an alumnus of the Irish National Film School and the Berlinale Talent Campus, and, since 2011, a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective. As a film critic, he has written for many publications including Cahiers du Cinema and Filmmaker Magazine, and as a teaching artist, he was worked with public school students across New York City for the Tribeca Film Institute among other organisations.

Selected Filmography (as writer, director & editor)

You’re Only What I See Sometimes 




6 x Occupy    

The Ghost Said     

Out of Here       
The Image You Missed

(2006, short)

(2008, short)

(2009, short series)

(2010, short)

(2011, short)

(2012, short series)

(2012, short diptych)

(2013, feature)

(2017, feature)


Nicole Brenez (executive producer) Brenez is the author and editor of several books and is the curator of the Cinémathèque française's avant-garde film series since 1996. She contributes to several film magazines, including Cahiers du CinémTrafic and Sight & Sound. She has organised many film events and retrospectives, notably “Jeune, dure et pure, A History of Avant-Garde Cinema in France” for the French Cinémathèque in 2000 (80 screenings, 400 films). She is also the curator for the Experimental Section for the Cinéma du Réel Film Festival since 2010, and has organized series or events at the Louvre Museum, Lincoln Center, Anthology Film Archives and the Tate Modern.


Philippe Grandrieux (executive producer) Grandrieux’s work covers several areas of kinetic visual arts: feature film, experimental television, video art, documentary, and museum and gallery installation. He pushes the boundaries of whatever field he is working in and strives for an ever inventive, truly radical cinema. Grandrieux’s first three full-feature films—Sombre (1999), La vie nouvelle (2002), and Un lac (2008)—demonstrate his profound exploration of image, sound, and narrative structures In the 1980s, he worked in collaboration with the French Institut National de Audiovisuel and the television channel La Sept Arte where he helped develop new cinematographic forms and formats that called into question some basic principles of film writing. More recently his films, installations and performances have been presented at CPH:DOX, Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum, and at the Locarno, Venice and Rotterdam Film Festivals.


Michael Buckley (original music)

::Desktop:yRJNwgZ7.jpg Regarded as the most important and influential musician on the Irish jazz scene, saxophonist/ flautist and composer Michael Buckley has been playing professionally since the age of six when critics hailed him as a child prodigy. Born in Dublin city in 1971 Michael first came to prominence on an international level when, aged 10, he played flute with the legendary saxophonist George Coleman in the National Concert Hall. Though largely self-taught, his obvious talent has been developed by his father Dick Buckley, and such legends as Milt Hinton. Buckley has found his own unique voice playing both on saxophone and flute.

Now in his early 40s, Buckley is rapidly becoming the most important producer of his generation, with countless albums from jazz to traditional to hip hop to his credit. As a session musician he has also collaborated on recordings with Glen Hansard, Donovan, The Cranberrys and The Coors.


Ohal Grietzer (original music)

::Desktop:ohal2-5.3.2016.jpg Ohal is a composer and mixed-media artist working primarily with audio and video. She is focused on the production and performance of electronic music using synthesizers, field recordings, and voice. Ohal's score for Lior Shamriz's film Cancelled Faces and her debut album Acid Park were released last year on Styles Upon Styles. She has previously worked on music and film with TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, collaborated with Tyondai Braxton and toured in Rain Machine. Ohal has performed her work at the Fridman Gallery, MoMA PS1, and NTS Radio. She is currently working on a second album and is completing the score for Tzion Avraham Hazan's video installation Ashkelon Augmented.


Christopher Colm Morrin (original music)

::Desktop:Robotnik-Credit-Annett-Bonkowski-800x533.jpg Previously known as "Robotnik", Christopher Colm Morrin is a Dublin born poet, singer-songwriter, filmmaker, film composer and visual artist currently based in Berlin. In 2012 he finished “Robotniks” second album “The Death Of Robotnik” in Berlins infamous Funkhaus studios. He moved to Berlin at the end of 2012 to follow a new path and take time out from being a live performer. The period from 2013 till now is when Morrin began to feel the deep significance of poetry, images, drawing, sound experimentation and filmmaking.

Andrew Kirwan (sound design)

::Downloads:AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoVAAAAJGJhZDkyNGJiLTY0YjItNDM3ZC1iMWJmLWY3YTZkYjJjYWU3OA.jpgAndrew Kirwan is a sound designer and composer based in Dublin, Ireland. Graduating with a diploma in sound engineering and an  degree in music technology, he splits his time between working as a freelance composer and working on sound design for animation in Windmill Lane, one of Ireland’s largest post production houses.  His past projects in sound design include Coda, which was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Animation, and Dangermouse, which won Best Music & Sound Design at the Irish Animation Awards.


Ernest Larsen (voice of Arthur MacCaig)

::Desktop:Shoplifting.jpgErnest Larsen is a New York-based novelist, filmmaker, media critic, and curator. His new book, The Trial Before the Trial,  a factual expose of  the secret grand jury system in the U.S, is forthcoming from Automedia. He is co-curator of the DVD sets, Disruptive Film: Everyday Resistance to Power, Vol. 1 & 2, from Facets Multimedia, that gathers dozens of short-form experimental/political films.  With his collaborator, Sherry Millner, he has produced many films including Rock the Cradle (2012) and How Do Animals and Plants Live? (2018).


Seán Brennan (1927-1997) (cinematography)

:TIYM_MSTR_SUBS_171102_OAR_24F_HD_20_VIMEO.mp4.00_30_23_15.Still003.jpgBorn in Dublin in 1927, Seán Brennan lived in New York City with his partner Martin from the 1950s until a few months before his death in 1997. After working for decades as a graphic artist in various advertising agencies, he eventually turned freelance so that he had more time to travel and watch movies. In the late 1960s, he started shooting 8mm home movies, ranging from travelogues to short fiction skits and animations, shooting over 7 hours of material, but apparently lost interest in the practice by the early 1970s. Excerpts of this material feature in The Image You Missed.


Piers McGrail (cinematography)

::Desktop:piers-738.jpgPiers McGrail shot his first feature, Kelly+Victor in 2011, which recieved a BAFTA for 'Outstanding Debut'. Since then he has shot a number of features that have premiered at major festivals including Sundance, Tribeca and Toronto. A classmate of Donal Foreman at the Irish National Film School, they collaborated on nine short films together and Foreman’s debut feature Out of Here (2013). Clips from their work together, most notably The Ghost Said (2014) and Out of Here, are featured in The Image You Missed.


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