‘Victory doesn’t always look the way other people imagine it.’ Post-conflict cinema in Northern Ireland

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This chapter considers films and filmmaking in post-conflict Northern Ireland and argues that one striking feature of the new democratic dispensation in the region is the relative absence of a politically engaged cinema. This appears to have been forsaken for a more banal cinema, part of a determined cultural effort to interpolate the region within global capitalism and render it attractive to foreign investors and tourists. This has culminated in Northern Ireland’s new executive offering financial inducements to global corporations like HBO to use the region as a film location in the hope that such global exposure will reap an economic dividend. Examples of films that speak to Northern Ireland’s past or political present are rare. One example is Good Vibrations, a film about Terri Hooley, Belfast’s ‘Godfather of Punk’. While not a resolutely political film, it nevertheless, in some instances, offers an ‘alternative Ulster’; a rejection of sectarianism and an intriguing counterpoint to the capitalist pretentions of the Northern Ireland today. The chapter concludes with a warning that Northern Ireland’s claim to post-conflict status should not be seen as the occasion for a post-political cinema; that in this new dispensation there are residual and emergent political contests in the region that film can and should speak to.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Cinema and Politics
EditorsYannis Tzioumakis, Claire Molloy
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-71739-7
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2016


  • Northern Ireland
  • post-conflict society
  • capitalism
  • propaganda
  • rebranding
  • cinema


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