Introduction: Dermot Corrigan
One of the distinctive trends of Irish animation is represented by the adaptations of literary classics and works that regard national history, mythology and folklore. Within each of the films there is imprinted the revisionism and the reflection of some traditinal taboos, but there are also films that are a sincere celebration of Irish character.
The short film series Irish about Irish focuses on films in which Irish filmmakers comment on the history or mythology of Ireland, or in which they thematize or problematize the image of their nation, as created for centuries both inside and outside Ireland. They are part of the line of Irish animation that takes literary classics and historical themes as their subjects. The trend also resonates with the current cultural debate in Ireland, ongoing since the 1990s, in which not only thinkers and theoreticians, but also the wider public, deal with the question of national identity with respect to European integration.
From the 1920s to the 1940s, Ireland fought its dominion status, trying to prove that it could retain economic stability and independence even without the control and rule of the British king. Until the social thaw and revisionism of the 1980s, subsequent decades carried on the spirit of central consolidation of traditional nationalist iconography, filling the media with content that contributed to the rigidity and conservatism of the population. The 1980s brought not only social loosening, such as the revealing of taboo themes and reflections on the current character of the country, but also a rapid development of animation and a global opening up of Ireland to the world, in both economic and cultural terms. The opening up of the job market to foreigners and of trade to international investors was a significant factor.
Due to animation being able to use shortcut, caricature and overstatement, and, due to its specific means of being able to express comprehensible messages within a limited space, it became an ideal instrument for the dissection of deep-rooted prejudice and the problematization of the yet unchallenged. In agreement with the cultural revivalist movement of Ireland, the animated films also show the effort to find roots deeper in history, even before the constitution of the Irish Republic and before the struggle for the right of national selfdetermination; in the mythology and the primeval pantheistic Christianity of devotion.
AMONG STRANGERS dir. Naomi Wilson | Ireland | 2005 | 8 mins
AN BONNÁN BUÍ dir. Maria Murray, Padraig O´Neill | Ireland 1995 | 9 mins
AN CAILLEACH BHÉARA dir. Naomi Wilson | Ireland | 2007 | 8 mins
REHY FOX dir. Naomi Wilson | Ireland | 2001 | 7 mins
THE KING'S WAKE dir. John McCloskey | Ireland 2000 | 30 mins
MIDNIGHT DANCE dir. John McCloskey | Ireland | 1996 | 6 mins
TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND dir. Eoin O´Sullivan | Ireland | 2008 | 3 mins
DING DONG DENNY O'REILLY'S HISTORY OF IRELAND dir. Cathal Gaffney | Great Britain | 2007 5 mins
GIVE UP YER AUL SINS dir. Cathal Gaffney | Ireland | 2001 | 5 mins
REPRIEVED dir. Ben Hennesy | Ireland | 2008 | 2 mins
CELTIC MAIDENS dir. Nora Tworney | Ireland | 2003 | 3 mins
CUILIN DUALACH dir. Nora Tworney | Ireland | 2004 | 12 mins