Calvary is arguably the most anticipated Irish film of the year, and on Thursday, July 31 the Craic Fest, New York’s premier festival of Irish film and music, will present a special advance screening for its annual benefit.

It’s another high profile endorsement for the best of Irish in New York festival, which is now in its 16th year. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly and Aiden Gillen, Calvary is the follow up movie by John Michel McDonagh to his wildly successful The Guard (it broke box office records in Ireland).

In the film Gleeson plays Father James, a good priest who is pulled into a sinister confrontation by a mysterious member of his parish. Along the way he offers his help to the often eccentric members of his church, guiding them through their moral and often bizarrely comic problems.

But all the while Father James can feel dark forces closing in, making him wonder if he has the courage to face his own personal calvary.

Some critics are already calling Calvary a masterpiece, a film that stays with you long after its closing credits. “Sit back and hang on to your rosary beads,” counsels one.

Others have pointed to the very pertinent questions Calvary asks about sin and atonement, particularly hard questions for a country coming to grips with the century-long legacy of clerical abuse.

For a chance to see the film before anyone else in the city (and support the work of the Craic Fest) sign up for a ticket before the event is a sell-out.

Individual tickets cost $40 and include a pre-reception as well as the screening. The pre-reception starts at 6:30 p.m. at Macao, located at 311 Church Street, featuring complimentary drinks by Stella Artois and Tullamore whiskey.

The screening will follow at 9 p.m. at the Tribeca Cinema at 54 Varick Street. For tickets and more information go to or call 917-373-6735.