ELIZA LYNCH: QUEEN OF PARAGUAY (2013) 83 MINS

This absorbing historical documentary recounts a story of hunger, war and wealth, of family, love, tragedy and loss. It examines the life of Eliza Lynch, the 19th Century Cork-born beauty who is still revered in Paraguay as a national heroine. The love story between the beautiful and imperious Eliza and the President Francisco Solano Lopez, is one of the most intriguing, and yet one of the least known, epic lives of modern history.

Guided by Michael Lillis and Ronan Fanning, the authors of her meticulously researched biography, director Alan Gilsenan takes us on an epic journey from famine-stricken Ireland to the battlefields of South America’s bloodiest war. The film’s emotional heart is provided by Maria Doyle Kennedy’s (The Tudors; Orphan Black) hypnotic interpretation of Lynch, looking back on her life from beyond the grave and confronting her many enemies who branded her an avaricious whore. These dramatized scenes are juxtaposed with a series of interviews with the country’s elite whose respect for Eliza, who became the most famous woman in all of South America in the 19th century is undiminished 150 years later.