Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Conn Holohan
2009 Unknown
Cinemas of Ireland
‘Queering the Green?: the limitations of sexuality as metaphor in contemporary Irish cinema’
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Newcastle
Published
1
Optional Fields
Writing on Reefer and the Model (Joe Comerford, 1988), Martin McLoone claims that through the character of Badger, a homosexual petty criminal, gayness is invoked within the film as both a challenge to the sexual ideology of Catholic nationalist Ireland and as a marker of Badger’s own status as an outsider. This is consistent, he states, with the film’s wider project of critiquing Irish society and culture by focusing on those who are marginalised within it. However, the problem with using gayness in such a metaphorical sense is that it serves to reconfirm homosexuality as other. As McLoone states, ‘gayness works allegorically only because its perversity is implied’ (McLoone 2000:137). This tendency to consider representations of sexuality as metaphors for the nation, this paper argues, is recurrent within writing on Irish cinema. This has led to a critical under-engagement with the representations of sexual identity and homosexual desire that have occurred within Irish film. Through examining two films which have emerged out of Ireland since the turn of the century, About Adam (Gerry Stembridge, 2000) and Goldfish Memory (Liz Gill, 2003), this paper argues that a focus on the ways in which these films re-imagine the nation has deflected a more rigorous attention to the manner in which they engage with issues of sexuality. From this perspective, their celebratory take on contemporary Ireland’s freedom from its sexually repressive past are viewed as somewhat less progressive than they may first appear.
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145
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