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Heather Ehrichs Angell, Published March 21 2010

Writer misses a bigger picture

According to Forum writer John Lamb, Irish films weren’t smiling this St. Patrick’s Day. Lamb cites several “Irish” films without care or cause as to justifying why he is placing them under that category. Irish directors? Irish writers? Filmed in Ireland?

Lamb merely throws in a factoid here and there such as that “Waking Ned Divine” was Irish subject matter filmed in Ireland but the brainchild of a foreign storyteller.

What Lamb and many American film enthusiasts fail to realize is that because we spend more than any other country the world over on our film industry, we often end up buying the scripts and novels of stories that could have become great foreign films like the one Lamb claims Ireland is missing.

The other and more concerning thing that Lamb and many Americans fail to realize is that with the funding of the film changing from euros to dollars, control over the storytelling also changes. Dublin is no longer the bustling metropolis that it really is; it becomes a quaint countryside village with stone walls, pubs with fires in the fireplaces – the realities of life in Ireland are skewed in favor of romanticized versions.

One of the best things about Dublin (and possibly Ireland in general) is Irish realism and pragmatism. They don’t get excited about celebrities or distract themselves with fairy tales like we Americans believe they do. “Once,” for example, tells you exactly what Dublin city center is like in a simplistic way, from the buskers who line Grafton Street at all hours of the day and night to the influx of Polish immigrants/

migrant laborers, and the fact that dreams sometimes have to be put on hold to pay bills.

Maybe if our film industry would allow the growth of other markets, those dreams would become happier realities as Lamb seems to prefer on his big screen.


Ehrichs Angell lived in Dublin for just over two years and England for five years.