Irish history is often dominated by male names such as Pearse, Collins, Wolfe Tone, and Emmet; Anne Devlin rejects this imbalance by narrating the life of its titular figure, who resisted torture and confinement rather than betray her comrades to the British Empire. With her father imprisoned in the wake of the 1798 rebellion, Devlin (Bríd Brennan) is radicalised and comes to the aid of revolutionary leader Robert Emmet (Bosco Hogan) when he needs someone to pose as a housekeeper at his headquarters. Captured along with her family after Emmet’s failed rebellion in 1803, Devlin withholds her information even after brutal torture and the death of her young brother in prison.
Committed to retrieving Devlin from the footnotes of history, director Pat Murphy brings a formidable artistic talent to bear in this depicting of Devlin, deploying symbolically-charged imagery that transforms the historical narrative into a celebration of Devlin’s unyielding determination.
Remastered and available to screen from DCP.
121 minutes, Ireland, 1986, Colour
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