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Xcèntric 2022

Maeve. Being a woman is a nationality.


Maeve, Pat Murphy's first feature film, shows how it's possible to approach the complex issues of the history of the Northern Ireland conflict through fiction. Originally intended as a political document rather than a film, this work approaches the period of the Belfast riots from a female point of view and examines some unresolved issues between feminism and nationalism, providing an alternative to the conventional narrative of the conflict.

Shot in Belfast with both professional and non-professional actors, and at the height of the conflict, this film creates a story in which the personal and the political are interwoven at a profound level. This Irish filmmaker, together with the editor John Davies and the director of photography Robert Smith, use fiction to create a critical space and to explore another type of representation far removed from the dominant visual discourses on these riots, also including autobiographical elements. They weave a portrait of a young woman who, on visiting her city after a long absence, is confronted with the violence that haunts her streets and memories.

However, Maeve is not only a political document about Northern Ireland's dark past but also a challenging work in terms of its formal approach, both in the Brechtian dialogues between the characters that prevent the viewer's identification, in the interior and outdoor scenes meticulously filmed at a serene distance, and also in the tenuous line between past and present that avoids any linear development, enabling the different times to dialogue with each other.

Maeve, Pat Murphy, John Davies and Robert Smith, 1981, 16 mm, 110 min.

DCP screening. Copy from the British Film Institute.

Directors: Pat Murphy

This activity is part of Xcèntric 2022

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