Whenever I watch a movie for the second time – THAT’S how I know it was a worthwhile film, at least for me. Three movies and a book. Recommendations to watch, read or avoid are impending.
Presumably, you, the reader, are privy to my investigation into my Irish…ness. My journey so far has allowed me to climb a mere 2,610 feet to the top of Piestewa Peak. Yet I stand in the shadow of Mount Everest as it towers over me with its massive 29,029 feet. There’s a long road ahead to arrive at a sufficient grasp of these things. But the land is calling to me.
Call to me, call to me lands far away
For I must now wander this wandering day
Away I must wander this wandering day
First up is Belfast!
Before I say another word, please watch this short clip from the movie (no major spoilers).
Wasn’t that charming? The whole film feels like that. Belfast takes place in 1969 Belfast during the Troubles. It offers the perspective of a Protestant family that gets caught up in the middle of the turmoil. One of the reasons I was initially interested in giving this a shot is because it was directed by Kenneth Branagh. Little did I know that the story is based on his childhood experiences growing up in Belfast during the period.
The only drawbacks are the negative views on Christianity and religion, resulting from Branagh’s influence. The acting was superb, the story compelling, and is based on true events. Belfast is a powerful movie.
Rating: Five out of Five stars.
Recommend: Yes, to everyone.
This documentary-style film includes footage of an interview late in Dolours Price’s life, a COMPLETELY different perspective than that of Belfast. Dolours Price was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Her life was memorable for such things as kidnapping & murders – the total number who went missing during the Troubles was such that they became known as “The Disappeared.”
Price was involved in a London bombing, and was caught while trying to flee the country. She made national news while going on a hunger strike in prison.
I, Dolours is a captivating story, filled with interesting detail. While this was a challenging film to watch, it was worth it.
Rating: Four out of Five stars.
Recommend: Yes, to those interested in the Troubles.
A fictional story of a British soldier deployed to Belfast at the height of the Troubles. This is now the third perspective offered out of these three films: this time from the British point of view. Almost all the actors were unknowns, save for one, which makes ‘71 that much more impressive. The story follows one British soldier separated from his unit, and trying to make it back safely. Multiple groups join the story: Protestants, Catholics, violence on both sides, and I loved how they included some scenes in the infamous Divis Flats.
My eyes were glued to the screen for this one.
Rating: Four out of Five stars.
Recommend: Yes, to those who like action movies, and/or the Troubles.
Oh boy. Here we go.
There’s no easy way to say this. I did not enjoy this novel by James Joyce. Nevertheless, Ulysses has made its way onto many top reading lists, and some have described this as “the best book ever written.” In more ways than one, Joyce demonstrates his brilliance in his writing style, and the amount of detail he includes. In fact, he boasted that one could recreate Dublin based solely on his book.
Why did I read this? For starters, he is considered the greatest Irish novelist, and one of the greatest of the 20th century. I made the mistake of having high hopes going into the read, only to be sorely disappointed. Joyce forewarned his audience that Ulysses was purposefully challenging to read. He alludes to all sorts of literature throughout the ages, including many Biblical references – although most of that discussion was a mockery of Christianity. He created a writing style called “stream of consciousness” which modern authors attempt. Allow me to say that Joyce means stream of consciousness. Consider your own thoughts for a moment – your thoughts interrupt other thoughts, and get distracted by thoughts, followed by other thoughts that have absolutely nothing to do with what came before, then are back on track with the thought three thoughts earlier. It’s maddening, LOL.
The story takes place over the course of a single day in Dublin, June 16, 1904, which also happened to be the day Joyce went on his first date with his wife in Dublin. Main characters are involved in scandalous behavior, so much so that the book was initially banned in the United States and the United Kingdom. If you read the book, you’ll very quickly learn why.
Rating: Two out of Five stars.
Recommend: No, or only to those who want to complete a “top reading list”
Thank you for accompanying me,
Until our next meeting,