Our friend at The Rising, the historian and editor John Dorney has written an excellent piece, entitled “The Easter Rising on Film,” on his vivid and thought-provoking blog, The Irish Story. The Rising is the first full-length feature to depict the pivotal and often harrowing events of Easter 1916, when a dedicated band of revolutionaries (men and women alike) shocked the world and took on the British empire.
You can learn about The Rising, and a number of other events in Irish history on The Irish Story.
As Dorney writes, the events of Easter 1916 are meant for the silver screen. While films like Michael Collins (1996, dir. Neil Jordan) and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006, dir. Ken Loach) have alluded to the events at the GPO and the streets of Dublin on Easter Week, The Rising is the first film dedicated entirely to this event, which was the cornerstone of the struggle for an independent Ireland. Here’s Dorney’s take on this:
“It seems surprising in a way that such a theatrical event has never had a full length film devoted to it. It seems in many ways a perfect cinematic story, concentrated in space and time, five days in central Dublin and full of the classic elements of epic stories, heroism, loss, tragedy, betrayal and rebirth.”
Furthermore, The Rising will stand as an essential part of the international conversation about Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries. The commemoration of crucial events in Irish history is not just the territory of historians and history buffs, but for all citizens living in Ireland and abroad, and anyone interested in universal struggles for political representation and individual freedom:
The film is the brainchild of Cavan and Belfast based Kevin McCann, whose company Maccana Teoranta (The Boys of St. Columb’s, RTÉ and BBC) backed by the Northern Ireland Screen Film Board, will start filming in 2015. McCann argues that, ‘the events of Easter Week 1916 still resonate through Irish life today and it would be an act of cultural delinquency if we were to allow the centenary of these seminal events to pass by without telling the story in cinema’.
You can purchase a copy of John Dorney’s upcoming book, Peace After the Final Battle: The Story of the Irish Revolution, 1912 – 1924. It is published by the Dublin-based company New Island Books. It provides an accessible yet in-depth account of the events of the 1913 Dublin Lockout, The Easter Rising, The War of Independence, and The Irish Civil War. Like The Rising, Dorney’s book will prove to be an essential resource for anyone interested in Irish history.