By Barry Monahan
The quantity bargains a huge variety of educational ways to modern and ancient Irish filmmaking and representations of nationality, nationwide identification, and theoretical questions round the building of eire and Irishness at the monitor.
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Extra info for Ireland and Cinema: Culture and Contexts
Furthermore, in the troubled home-places of recent Irish cinema, it will discern a collapse of home’s comforting ﬁctions as Irish society experiences a visceral encounter with the economic forces that determine our ability to imagine a space in which we can belong. The ‘humble cottage’ In the opening moments of The Quiet Man (Ford, 1952) – that most iconic cinematic expression of what it means to be at home in Ireland – 16 Politics of Home, Space and Place John Ford succinctly captures the spatial qualities that have long characterized the home within the Irish cultural imagination.
Because they deal with the ‘underclass’, both ﬁlms engage with American gangster mythology that proffered crime as the only viable route for upward social mobility for those on the class and/or ethnic margins of the capitalist system. In the Dublin context, the material rewards from organized crime enabled the drug barons (all hailing from similarly disadvantaged, working-class backgrounds) to occupy the privileged spaces of the elite, thus undermining the established ‘power-geometry’. The ﬁlms’ interrogation of the spatial dilemmas raised by such ‘illegitimate’ social mobility, in conjunction with Guerin/Hamilton’s entry into spaces that would normally be exclusionary to her on the basis of class/gender, serves to expose the ‘somatic norms’ inscribed upon urban space.
Writing on the changing perception of place in an era of speeded up communications and free movement of capital, Massey outlines the common critical position that these changes ‘have undermined an older sense of a “place-called-home”, and left us placeless and disorientated’ (1994: 163). It is just such a shift that seems to be traced in the changing cinematic representations of Ireland discussed above; a move from economic isolation and cultural exceptionalism to integration within a global social and economic space that is cause for both celebration and anxiety.
Ireland and Cinema: Culture and Contexts by Barry Monahan