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Finding a Voice: The Role of Irish-Language Film in Irish National Cinema


Finding a Voice: The Role of Irish-Language Film in Irish National Cinema

Macdougall, Heather (2012) Finding a Voice: The Role of Irish-Language Film in Irish National Cinema. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This dissertation investigates the history of film production in the minority language of Irish Gaelic. The objective is to determine what this history reveals about the changing roles of both the national language and national cinema in Ireland. The study of Irish-language film provides an illustrative and significant example of the participation of a minority perspective within a small national cinema. It is also illustrates the potential role of cinema in language maintenance and revitalization.
Research is focused on policies and practices of filmmaking, with additional consideration given to film distribution, exhibition, and reception. Furthermore, films are analysed based on the strategies used by filmmakers to integrate the traditional Irish language with the modern medium of film, as well as their motivations for doing so. Research methods included archival work, textual analysis, personal interviews, and review of scholarly, popular, and trade publications.
Case studies are offered on three movements in Irish-language film. First, the Irish-language organization Gael Linn produced documentaries in the 1950s and 1960s that promoted a strongly nationalist version of Irish history while also exacerbating the view of Irish as a “private discourse” of nationalism. Second, independent filmmaker Bob Quinn operated in the Irish-speaking area of Connemara in the 1970s; his fiction films from that era situated the regional affiliations of the language within the national context. Finally, films made since the 1990s benefited from generous public subsidies from TG4 (the Irish-language television station) and the Irish Film Board; this funding attracted a large cross-section of filmmakers whose diverse linguistic identities are reflected in the texts of the films themselves. Although historically there have been successful examples of independently produced Irish-language films, current production is dependent on public funding, and the future of Irish-language cinema appears to be very closely linked to policy decisions of both film and language agencies.

Divisions:Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Macdougall, Heather
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:November 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Wasson, Haidee and Kenneally, Michael and Teffeteller, Annette
ID Code:974958
Deposited On:17 Jun 2013 18:54
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:39
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