By on April 10th, 2015

Mise Eire (1960)

Mise Eire (1960) Dir. George Morrison – QFT Belfast 12 April

Who’s in it? Liam Budhlaeir, Padraig O’Raghallaigh (Voice)

What’s it about? Featuring as part of the BFI’s Conversations about Cinema: Impact of Conflict initiative, which offers ‘a timely reflection on the repercussions of conflict and the ways this has been presented through film’, George Morrison’s 1960 feature length documentary reflects on events in Ireland leading up to, during and following the 1916 Easter Rising in which Irish republican’s attempted to end British Rule in Ireland by establishing a independent Irish Republic while the British army was heavily engaged in World War I. The first Irish language feature film and the first Irish film to use an orchestral soundtrack, Mise Eire has been hailed as a masterpiece of Irish cinema, using original newsreel footage from the time to chronicle a pivotal point in the Irish Civil War, providing an historical perspective on a formative yet divisive chapter in Irish history. Due to the contentious nature of its subject matter, given the instability across Northern Ireland at the time, the film was initially banned in Belfast on its original release.

Memorable Moments?In one scene Volunteers and members of the ‘Citizens Army’ are seen marching along country roads in their best attire, the cheery score jarring somewhat with the tangible tension building as the revolutionary leaders mobilize the troops.

Look who’s talking: ‘George Morrison’s landmark Irish film is Ireland’s most significant historical documentary film and first wholly Irish language feature’ – Filmireland.net

Like that? Try this: The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006), is Ken Loach’s acclaimed look at the Irish Civil War. Full of Indy grit the film is perhaps less accessible than Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996), on the same subject, though it arguably pulls fewer punches.

Trivia Pursuit: The film’s title, meaning ‘I am Ireland’, is taken from a 1912 Irish language poem by poet and revolutionary leader Padraig Pearse.

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