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In 1934, the people of Inishmaan learn that the Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighboring island to film a documentary. No one is more excited than Cripple Billy, an unloved boy whose chief occupation has been grazing at cows and yearning for a girl who wants no part of him. For Billy is determined to cross the sea and audition for the Yank. And as news of his audacity ripples through his rumor-starved community, The Cripple of Inishmaan becomes a merciless portrayal of a world so comically cramped and mean-spirited that hope is an affront to its order.