Barbaric Genius is an Irish documentary based on the fascinating life of John Healy. In the early 90's writer John Healy was a star, constantly being interviewed about his first book, The Grass Arena. The son of Irish immigrants, Healy lived rough on the streets of London for 15 years, fighting and stealing to survive, a slave to alcohol. During a stint in prison he discovered chess which became his new addiction. He became a rated chess player and a famous writer, for a time the darling of the British media. Then he disappeared. Stories emerged to fill the vacuum, dark stories: he'd made threats of awful violence towards his publishers, he was mentally ill, he was a psychopath. Barbaric Genius meets John as he's about to make a comeback after nearly 20 years, launched once more on the world stage, with the likes of Irvine Welsh and Daniel Day-Lewis as his cheerleaders. Having been savaged once by the media and the literary world, how will he deal with success second time around, and the inevitable digging-up of his violent past that comes with that?
Frank Boyle, Dick Fitzgerald, John Healy, Megan Larkin, Robert McCrum