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Family and Dysfunction in Contemporary Irish Narrative and Film

Edited By Marisol Morales-Ladrón

Institutionalized through religious, moral and political discourses, the family has become an icon of Irish culture. Historically, the influence of the Church and the State fostered the ideal of a nuclear family based on principles of Catholic morality, patriarchal authority, heterosexuality and hierarchy, which acted as the cornerstone of Irish society. However, in recent decades the introduction of liberal policies, the progressive recognition of women’s rights, the secularization of society and the effects of immigration and globalization have all contributed to challenging the validity of this ideal, revealing the dysfunction that may lie at the heart of the rigidly constructed family cell. This volume surveys the representation of the concepts of home and family in contemporary Irish narrative and film, approaching the issue from a broad range of perspectives. The earlier chapters look at specific aspects of familial dysfunction, while the final section includes interviews with the writer Emer Martin and filmmakers Jim Sheridan and Kirsten Sheridan.
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Rosa González-Casademont – ‘Ireland is a tough one when it comes to filming’: An Interview with Kirsten Sheridan

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← 328 | 329 →ROSA GONZALEZ-CASADEMONT

Q.: Thanks for accepting to do this interview for a book on family tropes in Irish fiction and film.1 Since the volume will also feature an interview with your father, I’m particularly interested in your views on recent Irish cinema, and how it engages with the nuclear family as a key signifier of Irishness, from your perspective as a young filmmaker. Well, despite being young you have long been involved in cinema, haven’t you? for as a teen you had a brief acting part in your father’s first film My Left Foot (1989), and then you have written many scripts, directed shorts and features and co-run a production company (Blindside Films) and a studio space for actors and filmmakers (The Factory). What aspect of filmmaking attracts you most?

A.: I started off probably being more interested in directing than in writing. The first short that I did (The Bench 1995), I wrote and directed, as I did with a couple more (Walking Into Mirrors 1997, Patterns 1999), but the second short (Gentleman Caller 1996) I only directed. And then my first and second feature films I directed both of them but I didn’t write them. So, I’d say I started off more interested in directing and over the years I have come back more to an interest in writing. I suppose the thing with writing is that it’s always the kernel of an idea that you come back to. I’m starting to...

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