• Abbey Arts Centre (map)
  • Ballyshannon
  • County Donegal
  • €5

Soft border, hard border, no border.

Representations of the Irish border in contemporary cinema

Dr Ken Fox, Principal Lecturer, School of Media, Art and Design, Canterbury Christ Church University

Ken Fox.jpg

This presentation analyses the regimes of vision and the functions served by the Irish border in contemporary cinema narratives as a way of reclaiming the border landscape as cinematic space and place. Surprisingly, given the range of films covering the period of the Troubles in Northern Ireland there appears to be a dearth of analysis about the role of the Irish border in contemporary films. The presentation focuses on the work of Shane Connaughton, screenwriter on ‘My Left Foot’ (Sheridan, 1989), author/screenwriter of border film ‘The Playboys’ (Mackinnon, 1992) and ‘The Run of the Country’ (Yates, 1995) shot in the 1990s, before the Belfast Agreement (1998). Both films provide a rich representation of how the border impacts on the lives of those who exist on either side of the divide. Since the Belfast Agreement and the disappearance of border posts and army barracks across the region movement has been transformed as have representations of crossing over as explored in the analysis of Johnny Gogan’s post Agreement films, ‘Mapmaker’ (2001) and ‘Black Ice’ (2013).

The presentation will be followed by a screening of Gogan’s ‘Mapmaker’ and a Q&A with the director at the end of the screening. No doubt the ongoing state of chaos that is Brexit will figure in the conversation.