chapter  11
12 Pages

Inclusion, exclusion, conclusion

The decade since the re-establishment of the Irish Film Board in 1993 witnessed the first sustained period of indigenous filmmaking since the inauguration of the State. Some of the debate over the extent of its achievements, specifically in terms of the quality rather than the quantity of films produced, has echoed through the earlier chapters of this part of the book. It is certainly disappointing that the foremost auteurs of Irish film culture still remain Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan and, to a lesser extent, Pat O’Connor, whose reputations were made before 1993. These filmmakers do not rely on Film Board support, using their international standing to draw instead on American studio funding. Furthermore, many of those directors, actors and technicians who have emerged from Ireland in the 1990s have migrated into British, American and mainland European filmmaking where, it appears, the opportunities are greater. The extent of this trend was demonstrated by the line-up of ‘Irish’ film premieres at the Dublin International Film Festival of 2003 where, of the seven features, three had no Irish content. In the same year, Neil Jordan released his latest film, The Good Thief (GB/France/ Ireland, 2002), a remake of Bob Le Flambeur (Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1955). The Irishness of The Good Thief was limited to the appearance of identical twins with dubbed Irish accents as minor criminals. A further cause for concern has been the absence of any ‘crossover’ successes. None of the small films made in Ireland during the 1990s broke into the mainstream as My Left Foot and The Crying Game had done; nor has there been any equivalent Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, GB, 1995), The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, GB, 1997) or Billy Elliott (Stephen Daldry, GB, 2000). By and large, their core audience has been Irish, with few of the productions achieving notable success in overseas markets; whilst this suggests that their address has, therefore, been primarily a local one, a condition of a national cinema, their performance in the home market has also been in many instances unremarkable (see the Appendix).