The Cinema and Ireland

The Cinema and Ireland

The Cinema and Ireland

The Cinema and Ireland

Excerpt

To many, the idea of a book devoted to Irish cinema must be comparable to a volume on the snakes of Ireland. There are none of the latter and little of the former. However, Ireland has nourished a native film industry, albeit at times almost nonexistent. It has also contributed considerably to filmmaking in the United States and elsewhere through Irish talent and Irish literary efforts. Although it is only a small country, with a population of approximately three million people in the Republic of Ireland (Eire) and one million in Northern Ireland (Ulster), there is much of which the country can feel proud as regards its film heritage.

Sadly, from a cultural viewpoint, Ireland has done exceedingly little to document its heritage. Along with Albania, it is the only country in Europe without a national film archive. Between 1936 and 1976, it did boast the Irish Film Society, which presented screenings of important historical and foreign- language films throughout the country, and which also published intermittently from 1945 through 1968 a journal titled Scannán. The first film periodical in Ireland was The Irish Limelight, a trade paper published in Dublin from January 1917 through December 1920 on a monthly basis. Currently, there is only one serious film journal emanating from Ireland, and that is Film Directions, first published on a quarterly basis in 1977 and sponsored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Eire. Interestingly, Film Directions has published only one Irish film critic/journalist of any merit, and that is Kevin Rockett.

The educational use of the motion picture was, and continues to be, stressed by the National Film Institute of Ireland (Institiuid Naisunta na Scannain), which was established in 1943 as a Catholic organization. The Irish government (Dail Eireann) made a small, yearly grant to the Institute, which built up a fine library of 16mm films available for rental throughout the Republic. The Institute also published a quarterly journal, Vision, in which this writer's first articles on the history of filmmaking in Ireland appeared.

The work of preserving and documenting Irish film history has been left, almost by default, to one individual, Liam O'Leary, who had written the first book on the history of motion pictures to be published in Ireland, Introduction to the Film, and had been associated for many years with the British National Film Archive . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.