As to citing multiple directors twice on the same list, it would depend on the length of the list. I was looking to just have a handful of films — less than 10. In a list of 5 or 10, yes, I would make the effort not to feature the same director twice. If I was making a list of 50 or 100, that would be a different story, but that wasn’t what I was doing.
This was not intended to be a list of the best films set in Ireland, or the best films made by Irish filmmakers, or the “best of” anything. It is a list of films that connect, in my experience as someone who spent sizable portions of her childhood and adolescence living there, to my sense of being Irish and what that means to me.
I agree with many of your points about Once. If those were the criteria by which I put together this list, Once would certainly be featured over Sing Street. But they weren’t. You emphasize the Allen/NYC parallel, but I’m not from Dublin. Sure I’ve been there, but I’m from Cork. An charming ode to Dublin doesn’t really directly connect to my Irish experience. The attitude towards music in Sing Street does, not so much in connection to me as in to connection to family members, and the sorts of stories I heard growing up and that I continue to hear. Also, while he may be a secondary character in the film, the inclusion of Aidan Gillen was also important to me, as he is an Irish actor who, though he has found international success in works such as The Wire and Game of Thrones, still has a huge presence on Irish television (RTE) and Irish independent film. As such, I associate being in Ireland with hearing/seeing a lot more of him, so I really liked the idea of him being featured in this list.
Parts of Ireland might be some of the youngest, coolest places in Europe right now, but definitely not the part where I’m from. There’s parts of Ireland that are quite old-fashioned. There are a number that are weird mixes of both.
You don’t have to fight me on the merits of Once. You’re preaching to the choir.