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Bogwoman

Director: Tom Collins


Acclaimed documentarist Tom Collins makes his feature debut with this powerful and moving portrait of two decades in the life of Maureen (Rachel Dowling), an Irish woman who journeys from innocence through experience and adversity to finally take her place behind the barricades as the Civil Rights movement explodes and the British Army arrives to keep the peace in Northern Ireland of 1968.
It’s a political and individual coming of age story which begins in 1958 as Maureen moves from the boglands of Donegal to the Bogside of Derry, where she tries to build a new life for herself and her young, fatherless son. She soon marries the good-natured Barry (Peter Mullen) and finds herself trapped in a conservative marriage in which she is defined mainly by the number of children she bears. The film captures the segregation that prevailed within such marriages at the time, the taboo on contraceptives and the daily struggle against poverty. As collins has noted, at the time a lot of women would have felt powerless but were hoping that their daughters wouldn’t be, that they would get control of their own bodies.
One of the film’s strengths is the wealth of information it provides about the changing political situation of the time through a judicious use of documentary footage, which carries over from Collins’ previous films. Bogwoman also boasts a powerful central performance from Rachel Dowling, and Sean McGinley is excellent in a strong supporting cast.

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