“Victory Doesn’t always look the way other People Imagine It”

Post-conflict cinema in Northern Ireland

Authored by: Stephen Baker

The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Politics

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415717397
eBook ISBN: 9781315678863
Adobe ISBN: 9781317392460


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Casting off Northern Ireland’s atrocious image and reputation has been a priority for policy makers in the region. Once better known for violent sectarian conflict and a reliance on a substantial subvention from the British exchequer, there is today a determined attempt to present Northern Ireland in a more affirmative light by rebranding it as politically stable, ‘open for business’ and competitive in the global free market. To this end, film has played a largely complimentary role in the makeover of the region and its citizens. First it aided the transformation of Northern Ireland’s image on-screen from one of interminable bloody conflict to a much more pacified and domesticated version. Lately the emphasis has been on marketing Northern Ireland to major global media corporations as an attractive film location, so raising the region’s international profile as a site for inward investment and tourism. However, while attempts at image transformation and economic regeneration are welcome, they have come at the cost of a politically engaged cinema that might illuminate, investigate and question Northern Ireland’s new dispensation.

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