"The Irish in Film” Series: Screenings and Discussions Begin October 6

"The Irish in Film” Series: Screenings and Discussions Begin Oct. 6

A few rows of empty orange theater seats

Curated by William Abbott, D.Phil, and Marion White, MFA, the film series with companion lectures is designed to give participants a wide-ranging look at the Irish experience through the medium of film.

"The Irish in Film" series at Fairfield University has been offered since 2007; its films, said Dr. Abbott, “give students, and the general public, a broader appreciation of Irish history and culture than what can be taught in specific academic courses.” Though the academic offerings of the program are robust, he explained, experiences like this one are meant to underscore the fact that “self-teaching is vital to the learning process.”

Each film is introduced by an Irish Studies faculty member, who might touch on the film’s historical, literary, or artistic background. Following the film, that faculty member hosts a question-and-answer session with the audience.

“Audiences,” said Dr. Abbott, “should expect films that challenge preconceived notions, and that often surprise or even shock.” The films chosen by the program, he hopes, will “attract audiences by the topicality of their subject matter and the quality of the filmmaking.”

The first film, Black 47 (2018), focuses on the oppressive system of land ownership, the English bigotry that perpetuated both it and the suffering, and the violence that resulted from it. Jimmy’s Hall (2014) is next — it’s a film that explores the oppressive social climate of 1930s Ireland, a time when Irish society was restricted not only by legal censorship of publications, but by an overriding, dominant social conservatism that pervaded all aspects of Irish life.

The third film, The Butcher Boy, delves into the experiences of a 12-year-old boy caught in a dysfunctional family situation and sent to a brutal Catholic reform school in the early 1960s. The festival ends with The Journey, a searing look at the Northern Irish Troubles. Dr. Abbott — who will introduce both this and the festival’s first film —plans to focus on the film’s contention about “how difficult it is to overcome longstanding hatreds and suspicions, and…that such an achievement is indeed possible.”

In the long Irish tradition of spirited, outspoken responses to art that stirs up long-simmering frustrations, the festival itself hopes to engage audiences on a visceral level. Dr. Abbott recalled a series of strong objections after a showing of Playboy of the Western World in the festival a number of years ago — objections that distantly echoed the riots that greeted the play’s premiere in 1907. Most of the festival’s selections, he said, are “not that controversial…but they do make you think.”

Wed. October 6
Black ’47 (2018)
(Directed by Lance Daly, 100 minutes)
Presented by William Abbott, D.Phil, Department of History
7 p.m. | DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Multimedia room
Free, no advance registration required.

Wed. October 13
Jimmy’s Hall (2014)
(Directed by Ken Loach, 109 minutes)
Presented by Marion White, MFA, Department of English
7 p.m. | DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Multimedia room
Free, no advance registration required.

Wed. October 20
The Butcher Boy (1997)
(Directed by Neil Jordan, 110 minutes)
Presented by Robert Epstein, PhD, Department of English
7 p.m. | DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Multimedia room
Free, no advance registration required.

Wed. October 27
The Journey (2016)
(Directed by Nick Hamm, 94 minutes)
Presented by William Abbott, D.Phil, Department of History
7 p.m. | DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Multimedia room
Free, no advance registration required.

At this time, all screenings and discussions are open to Fairfield University students, faculty, and staff only.

Learn more about the Irish Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Irish Studies at Fairfield University

Tags:  Top Stories,  College of Arts & Sciences

Last modified: 10-01-21 1:32 PM

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