Religion and Irish cinema in studies
Brereton, Pat (2008) Religion and Irish cinema in studies. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 97 (387). ISSN 0039-3495
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In classics like The Quiet Man and Ryan’s Daughter representations of the clergy and religion in Irish cinema has to some extent reflected perceptions of the church in the wider Irish society. These representations were certainly favourable, validating the great reverence in which the people then held their church. An apparent anti-Catholic agenda was given voice more recently, which was precipitated by the numerous church scandals of the 1990s. However, it still took a long time for representations of institutional violence by the clergy to be documented as exemplified recently in The Magdalene Sisters (2002) and Song for a Raggy Boy (2003). This paper will concentrate on close narrative readings of these films to illustrate how cinematic representations of Catholic authority figures involved in such abuse can be read as endorsing an anti-clerical and broadly secular humanist discourse. I suggest however, that these provocative texts nonetheless remain foregrounded within religious discourses and the traumatic evocation expressed in these narratives is necessary for the therapeutic process of healing within Irish society.
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