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Sunday Movie: ‘The Commitments’ (1991) (Ireland Month)

Having searched a lot about which Irish movies to watch for Ireland Month, I decided to start off by watching one of the most well-known Irish films (or at least I presume it is, since it was featured in most of the lists I found), The Commitments. Directed by Alan Parker in 1991, this movie is an adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s novel The Commitments.

The film is set in Dublin and it follows the endeavours of of a young Irishman, Jimmy, who, being tired of listening to the same Irish music again and again, aspires to make a world famous soul band comprised entirely by Irish people. When trying to decide the genre of music his band will be playing, he indicatively says that he chose soul music, since Irish are ‘the black people of Europe’. The band is made up of people who are completely different from each other, yet they all share a common dream of becoming famous and making it big in the music industry. Overcoming most of the shortcomings that they face, the band achieves to successfully perform on stage and gain some recognition. However, things are not as simple as they may seem.

I have to admit this film was not what I initially expected. There were a lot of comedic elements in it, which helped alleviate the heavy atmosphere that might have been created by all the hurdles of each character’s life that we came to witness. I feel that not enough time was given to develop all of the characters or at least to let the viewer create a more stable image of and relationship with the characters. I liked the fact that everyone had a bad (and at times really bad) side to them, and that was revealed steadily throughout the film.

Since it is a rather old movie now, I doubt the images of Dublin shown and how people’s lives were depicted are similar to those of today. However, it was really nice taking a glimpse into the Dublin of the ’90s and seeing how people made it through the day or how they spent their time. I feel, though, that if I was more familiar with and accustomed to some more Irish cultural elements, I would have enjoyed this film a lot more.

The Commitments is a film full of music, people mainly from the working class who struggle to make a difference, people different from one another and some really unexpected views of Dublin. Usually, films like this are a hit or miss, and even though I didn’t love the film, I certainly enjoyed watching it and gaining a view of Irish life I would be unaware of otherwise.

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March Project: Reading Ireland Month

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Today marks the beginning of Reading Ireland Month, a project hosted by the lovely Cathy746books and The Fluff is Raging. During the month of March, all participants have the opportunity to delve into the Irish culture in any form they desire, whether by reading novels, poems or plays set in Ireland or written by Irish authors, by watching Irish films, listening to Irish music or even by making attempts at producing traditional Irish culinary treats.

Both hosts have kindly prepared lists with suggested books, films, music etc. which you can consult if you are at a loss of what to read, watch or listen.

I’m really excited about this project, since Ireland is a country I’ve always been fascinated by, and I’m planning on participating as much as my free time permits.

Here is a list of the books I plan on reading and reviewing during March (the list may change if anything unexpected occurs, but I will keep you updated):

  • Cathleen ni Houlihan by W.B. Yeats
  • Translations by Brian Friel
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • Dubliners by James Joyce
  • The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch
  • Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen

I also plan on continuing the Sunday Movie posts, presenting a different Irish film each Sunday. Since I haven’t prepared anything else as of yet, I think I will simply try to get through all of my books planned for this project.

Are any of you participating as well? If you are, I would be delightful if you please let me know, so I can be sure to check your posts as well 🙂

Let’s all enjoy the Reading Ireland Month!