Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Seán Crosson
XIV Asociación Española de Estudios Irlandeses (AEDEI) Conference
‘An Ache Which Notices, Knows, but Can Barely Comment’: Marginalisations and Exclusions in Post-Troubles Cinema
University of Granada
Conference Paper
Optional Fields
In his 2005 paper examining photography in the aftermath of the Troubles, Colin Graham identified a recurrent trope in post-Ceasefire Northern Irish culture: ‘an ache which notices, knows, but can barely comment on the cauterisation of the dark complexity of the past.’[1] For Graham, an official culture has developed in Northern Ireland that is based on forgetting whereby ‘The Northern Peace Process, like Paragraph 2 of the Belfast Agreement, can now largely recognise the past only in the process of forgetting it’.[2] This process of forgetting extends to the cinematic depictions of the Troubles and its aftermath, particularly in the manner through which film has become part of the post Agreement discourse concerning reconciliation, a discourse evident within the paragraph of the Agreement to which Graham refers. This essay considers in particular the promotion and reception of the Oscar winning short film The Shore (2011) – a film shot and set in the director Terry George’s family cottage at Coney Island near Killough, on the edge of Strangford Lough in county Down – and its employment within the post Belfast/Good Friday Agreement reconciliation discourse. Film is one of the most revelatory sites to view how this discourse has been formulated and circulated, evident particularly in the recurring focus on filiative reconciliation within cinematic texts. Cinema is also the site that reveals the failure of this discourse to engage with the real underlying and unresolved issues in the post Agreement context. Indeed, film has tended to obscure and elide these fundamentals, producing ultimately utopian depictions, often revealing a touristic gaze, for mass consumption. In this respect, The Shore is a remarkable rendering not so much of either Northern Ireland or of the post-Troubles context, but of the dominant representational paradigms within representations of Ireland itself. [1] Colin Graham, ‘Every Passer‐by a Culprit?’, Third Text, 19:5 (2005): 567-580, (568). [2] Graham, ‘Every Passer‐by a Culprit?’, 579.
Publication Themes
Humanities in Context