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The Magdalene Sisters

Director: Peter Mullan


An unflinching and compelling film depicting a shameful episode in Irish history, The Magdalene Sisters dramatises the experience of women incarcerated in Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Asylums, known as ‘Magdalene Laundries’. The story focuses on the lives of three women in 1964 – Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone), and Patricia (Dorothy Duffy) – forced to work in the laundry for reasons of perceived disgrace in the community. The three women deal with physical, mental, and sexual abuse at the hands of the religious orders controlling them, as the community and local authorities stand-by implicit by their inaction. With escape seeming impossible, the film explores the different responses the women have to their imprisonment. This incendiary film, directed by Peter Mullan in 2002, won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival; it would be another eleven years before the Irish government would provide a State apology to the women sent to the ‘Laundries’.

Awards:
Golden Lion Award at the 59th Venice Film Festival 2002.
Best Film Audience Award at the Dublin International Film Festival 2003.

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