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The Gun and Irish Politics

Examining National History in Neil Jordan’s 'Michael Collins'

Series:

Raita Merivirta

In the 1990s, Irish society was changing and becoming increasingly international due to the rise of the ‘Celtic Tiger’. At the same time, the ongoing peace process in Northern Ireland also fuelled debates on the definition of Irishness, which in turn seemed to call for a critical examination of the birth of the Irish State, as well as a rethinking and re-assessment of the nationalist past. Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996), the most commercially successful and talked-about Irish film of the 1990s, was a timely contributor to this process. In providing a large-scale representation of the 1916-1922 period, Michael Collins became the subject of critical and popular controversy, demonstrating that cinema could play a part in this cultural reimagining of Ireland.
Locating the film in both its historical and its cinematic context, this book explores the depiction of events in Michael Collins and the film’s participation in the process of reimagining Irishness through its public reception. The portrayal of the key figures of Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera comes under special scrutiny as the author assesses this pivotal piece of Irish history on screen.

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Index 185

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Index Academy Awards 2, 8, 10, 21, 24, 38 Adams, Gerry 140, 147–148 alteration in historical film 57–59 America see United States American Civil War 7, 41 anachronisms 10, 142–143 Angel (film) 21, 23 Anglo-Irish Agreement see Anglo-Irish Treaty Anglo-Irish Treaty 23, 60, 68, 90, 140– 141, 147, 157 anti-Treatyites 112–114, 121, 123 Collins’s attitude towards after sign- ing 102–103, 108, 117–118, 137, 140 de Valera’s opinion of 104–105, 109–110, 112–113 debate in Ireland over 4, 59, 103–111 negotiations in London 96, 99–101 ratification of, by the Dáil 111 signing of 31n, 101 split over 112–119, 122 terms of 101–103 Anglo-Irish War see War of Independence anti-Englishness 13, 61–62, 65–66, 83, 138, 139 anti-materialism 19 Ardmore Studios 22 armoured vehicles 56–59, 120, 122, 147 Attenborough, Richard 12 Australia 2, 16, 63, 101 Auxiliaries 51, 53, 56–57, 69, 70 Banderas, Antonio 25 Barrie, J.M. 47 Barry, Tom 52 Barton, Robert 96, 98, 100, 106 Battleship Potemkin (film) 8, 9 BBC (British Broadcasting Corpora- tion) 22 Béal na mBláth 56, 125–126 Ben-Hur (film) 8 biographies and biographical films 32 of Collins 3–5, 32, 52, 68, 76, 79, 89, 92, 94n, 98, 105, 107, 109, 128, 134, 166 heroic biographies 78 biographical films 7, 11–12, 31–32, 36 biopics see biographical films Birth of a Nation, The (film) 8, 41 Black, Cathal 19n Black and Tans 53 arrival of, in...

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