Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

Introduction

Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

Introduction

Article excerpt

December 2005

On being invited to contribute to Estudios Irlandeses with a reflection on film and television output in the year gone past, I felt that, rather than authoring a single overview, it would be useful to invite colleagues in Ireland to contribute to such an enterprise, on topics chosen by them. Partly this had to do with a feeling that an e-journal for Irish Studies, with its wide and international accessibility, offers a very distinct kind of distribution mechanism which can function, at least in part, as a kind of barometer of current cultural activity for those living outside Ireland. But equally, the format of a 'year in review' offered the possibility of hearing from a range of emerging and established Irish film scholars in one place, reporting on films and subjects that caught their eye or chimed with their research. That said, it should be noted that contributors were invited to submit short pieces in an informal--or as informal as they wished--format.

The pieces that follow are not an exhaustive overview of audio-visual production in 2005 and I am especially regretful not to have been able to include essays on short film, low-budget and Irish-language productions. (1) But they give a sense of current activity nonetheless, and in a number of instances go beyond textual analysis to offer views on contexts of production, reception and distribution. Such a balancing of content and context is particularly important in a discussion of the audio-visual sector since it is often considerations of development trends and demographics that are as influential in shaping a cinematic heritage as imaginative exertions.

If there is a theme running through the generally diverse essays it might be that Irish film (and increasingly, television), having developed so quickly and impressively in the aftermath of the reestablishment of the Film Board in 1993, seems temporarily uncertain of its purpose and direction. Many writers here note that Irish film is caught between the competing structures of a global and local market--attempting to please both--while also attempting to come to terms with the seismic political and social changes of Irish society over the past decade. In discussion of RTE drama series Pure Mule, I suggest that a successful resolution of these tensions might lie in the development of more television drama, with its quick 'turn around', lower production costs, a tolerance for more character-centred stories and a localized primary audience. …

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