Director: Pat Murphy

One of Ireland’s most critically renowned and radical filmmakers, Pat Murphy made her debut here with the unshakeably committed Maeve. Feminist in its politics and experimental in its style, the film follows Maeve (Mary Jackson), a young woman in war-torn Belfast, experiencing and opposing the internal divisions within republicanism which force women into a second-class role within society and within the political debate. A demanding, fragmented narrative shifts between crucial moments in Maeve’s life, with the greatest attention paid to her return to Belfast from London and her subsequent re-acquaintance with both military and gendered oppression. Old boyfriend Liam (John Keegan) appears as a crucial figure in this regard, with debates between the pair highlighting the gulf between militant nationalism and feminism. Maeve’s experimental aspects display the influence of critical theory Murphy had absorbed as a student, but her awareness of the Irish situation refracts this; both the conventions of mainstream cinema and the blind spots of unreconstructed nationalism are resisted in a manner that would recur throughout Murphy’s career.

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