In the shadow of the church: Irish and Quebec cinema
Gillan, Mary (2009) In the shadow of the church: Irish and Quebec cinema. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
Full text available as:
Ireland and the Canadian, largely francophone, province of Quebec share many similarities. Issues of religion, language and cultural identity have marked their history
and influenced their relationship with their former English colonizer. The Catholic Church was a formidable force in both societies and shaped the public and private
spheres. Quebec's 'Quiet Revolution' of the 1960s sounded the death knell of this Catholic state as rapid secularization shattered Church power. Social change and the
erosion of Church influence had a more belated arrival in Ireland by comparison. It was not until the 1990s, amid unprecedented economic growth and revelations of serious and
far-reaching clerical transgression, that the Church’s influence receded and it became a target of sustained media critique. This thesis will examine the historical and political reasons for the growth and decline of the Catholic Church in Quebec and Ireland, and highlight important differences in religious adherence.
The cultural industries, especially film, were harnessed by both states to promote national self-expression while also attentive to the economic benefits of a film industry.
However, film as it reflects national realities also problematises them, and it can be exploited to serve particular discourses. Through an analysis of key films, this thesis will track the evolving relationship of the Quebec and Irish populations with the Catholic
Church. The core concerns of the thesis are the cyclical and relatively benign nature of Quebec's relationship with its Catholic heritage in contrast to Irish cinema's more
troubled, and often bitter, one in films largely produced in the nineties. Ultimately, the trajectory of Quebec cinema’s relationship with the Church provides an intimation of the direction Irish society and its cinema is likely to take, as the full import of the loss of this grand narrative hits home.
Archive Staff Only: edit this record