Living in a Coded Land

Director: Pat Collins

After making his first feature, the acclaimed Silence, director Pat Collins returned to the territory he made his name on with this mesmeric documentary, a poetic and imaginative film essay that makes unexpected links between events and locations, history and contemporary life. Revolving around stories associated with place, the film reflects on the traces of the past that exist in the present. As his distinctive slow cinema style is masterfully deployed, Collins locates these traces in the footprints – mansions, battlefields, and worn-down villages – left by histories shown to be still in motion today. Making judicious use of archive footage from RTÉ and the IFI, Collins meditates on the themes of colonialism, emigration, the Famine, land, property, and art these histories contain. With all this achieved through Collins’ unique cinematic voice, the result is a film which starts a much-needed conversation about Ireland’s buried past. 

Best Irish Documentary Award at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014.

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