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Slow Boat to Hell

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An Irish priest with a propensity to joke and brace himself with a bit of whiskey, and an Italian sinner with an accumulated 50 years of sin and a Jesuit background, meet for confession: what could possibly go wrong? Does absolution follow faith?

Director’s Statement:

The catalyst for this Short Film script came from having re-read Joyce's Portrait...and having recently reached the milestone of 66 years of age.

I had been considering the plight of poor Stephen Dedalus, having sought absolution at 16 following a binge of whoring on the streets of Dublin. I asked, What of me? How long had it been since I had communed with Jesus, as a devout yet sometimes wayward Catholic?

That morning I realized that it had been at least 50 years since my last confession. Maybe more, maybe less, and as I approach the finality of this wonderful adventure, how would a priest look upon me for being painfully absent from the Confessional for five decades? What of my embrace of Judaism? And my most recent foray into Universalism? (Not to mention reckless philandering.)

As one educated by the Jesuits I irregularly attended services, and honored the traditions of the Catholic faith, for the most part (i.e. Sometimes). But that was then. Since, I had accumulated a mountain of sin in the ensuing years.

What sort of priest might I seek out for my first in a half-century confession? The one scripted in this film, and the one wonderfully portrayed by James (Travis) Green: an old friend and loyal member of our crew in various other short (and one feature length) films, including Desperation Arizona 1932, The Abduction and Trial of George Bush, and others.

As usual, his portrayal of a well-salted Irish priest was spot-on. I am absolved.  -JW

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