Why Hollywood is so wrong with the Irish

0
71


Barton sees the emergence of a vibrant and outgoing local film industry over the past decades as an essential counterweight to international cinema which has used Ireland as a stage set with weed. “I don’t know if we are as sensitive as we were to the Irish performing, because we are now producing our own renowned films which reflect our society as it is, and speak to us with our own voice, but there are some Oirish Stereotypes that deserve special mention. She is quick to name the film she believes to be the worst offender. “The 1937 Will Hay Comedy Oh, Mr. Porter! Maybe almost forgotten now, but it was a smash hit in its day and is just a succession of incredibly awkward clichés, ”she says, adding that the depiction of the Irish as cunning peasants in Far and Away , the talkative ne’er-do-wells in Snatch (2000) and the complicit hawkers in Waking Ned (1998) all fell into the same reductive traps as decades before.

And while the Irish haven’t played windswept dudes or glittery alcoholics, they have been seen shooting balaclavas and planting bombs. The painful history of the unrest and how she was awkwardly portrayed in Hollywood is a complex subject, but Barton says special mention should go to the 1994 thriller Blown Away, in which Tommy Lee Jones portrayed a mad Irish bomber. with a particularly indecipherable, twisted accent and a limited understanding of his own political goals. The modestly successful film was part of a ’90s thriller subgenre focused on Irish terrorists that included Sean Bean in the Tom Clancy adaptation of the 1992 Patriot Games, accent repeat offender Brad Pitt in The Devil’s Own (1997) and a slow blink. Richard Gere in The Jackal of the same year.

Grennell does not feel the need to list the advances the Irish film industry has made over the past decades to present a more realistic picture of a multi-faceted Ireland to international audiences. “If I had to do a roll call, we would be here all day,” he said. “The short version is that Ireland is now striking far above its weight in world cinema: in acting, in writing, in directing, in music and in all technical aspects of film production. We just picked Tomás Ó Súilleabháin’s Arracht, a hard-hitting Irish-language film about the great famine of the 1840s, to represent us at next year’s Oscars. For 99% of the world, Arracht will be a foreign language film, so accent and dialect are irrelevant. If the film is going to mean anything to an international audience, it has to work emotionally. Wild Mountain Thyme is a very different proposition, but it has to make the same connection if it keeps us laughing and makes us laugh with it. ”

Do you like cinema and television? Join BBC Culture Film and TV Club on Facebook, a community of moviegoers from all over the world.

If you’d like to comment on this story or anything you’ve seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or send us a message on Twitter.

And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly newsletter of bbc.com features, called the essential list. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.



LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here