Irish Film Studies: Poitín

This semester, I’m attending a course on Irish cinema. Each week, we are expected to write a blog-like journal about the film we watched in class and/or our class discussion about the film. I’ve decided to include those entries to my blog, so it would be more agreeable to read than a Word document. This was my journal entry on Poitín (week 5).

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I’m a bit mitigated on Poitín. This certainly was a film out of the common and, for our class; this was the first one I felt was very and only Irish. This 1978’s film was the first one to be shot strictly in Irish. It also was directed by Irish film director Bob Quinn. This creates an opposition with, for example, The Quiet Man, which is an American film directed by an American, but that takes place in Ireland. Poitín is a reference to a traditional Irish alcoholic beverage.

Despite showing us typical Irish landscapes like The Quiet Man does, Poitín is faithful to the 70s and the grow of screen violence during this decade (and the ones to follow). We, somehow, feel closer to the people or Ireland, and these ones seem to be presented to us as they are, without any embellishment. Of course, this is just a film, but it allows us to make a distinction between nostalgic movies like The Quiet Man and those who seem closer to reality like Poitín.

Poitin3

By the way the characters are dressed, without any extravagances, and the types of landscapes we see, I could also notice a certain connection with Man of Aran. I feel as Poitín is a very Irish film, meaning that it might not be cited as a universal one (like many Hollywood movies are) and, therefore, the story might not necessarily reach everybody. However, it remains an interesting cultural object of Ireland for those who are curious and those who are precisely studying Irish cinema.

On a side note, where I had more difficulty with the film is the fact that it was in Irish and, yes, we had subtitles, but, stupidly enough, the heads of people in front of me were sometimes hiding those subtitles and, because of that, I couldn’t catch everything properly and, as a result, I lost a certain interest in the film at a certain point. But I feel it’s this kind of film that deserves to be seen more than once to be understood better.

***

Words: 345

Images sources:

” Irish Film: Poitín.” The Star and Shadow Cinema, Mar. 16, 2014, https://www.starandshadow.org.uk/on/film/1385.

” Poitin (Film).” Alchetron, n.d, https://alchetron.com/Poitin-(film)-107720-W.

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