“No art form goes beyond ordinary consciousness like film does, straight to our soul.” – Ingmar Bergman
“Cinema is universal, beyond flags, borders and passports.” – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Do you have a favourite film genre or type of film? Let’s look at some film genres and what genre of films are most typical in Ireland.
Here are examples of a famous film from eight different movie genres. You can probably think of a few more examples for each genre.
1. SCIENCE FICTION – Interstellar
2. ROMANTIC COMEDY – Clueless
3. THRILLER – The Bourne Identity
4. WESTERN – Unforgiven
5. FANTASY – The Lord of the Rings
6. HORROR – Dracula
7. WAR – Saving Private Ryan
8. CHILDREN’S – Toy Story
What genre do you think the most famous films from your country are? They might be a mix of different genres.
IRISH FILM GENRES
From the Irish films you’ve seen, or from your general knowledge of Irish culture, what would you expect a ‘typical’ Irish film to look like? What would the typical subject matter or focus be? What can you say about the language, dress and behaviour of the characters?
Here are two examples of films which might be said to contain some typical elements of Irish cinema.
1. Bloody Sunday is a film about a real political event that took place in Northern Ireland in 1972.
Many Irish films deal with the subject of Ireland’s historical and political relationship with England.
2. Intermission is a crime drama but with plenty of humour and a focus on human relationships.
Irish films dealing with serious issues often contain large elements of comedy, reflecting the strong Irish sense of humour.
EIGHT IRISH FILMS TO WATCH
Here are eight great Irish films from different genres to watch. Three of the films would include some of the typical characteristics of Irish cinema mentioned above.
- The two films In the Name of the Father and The Wind that Shakes the Barley deal with the subject of Ireland’s historical and political relationship with England.
- The Guard is an ‘action comedy’ and deals with serious issues while containing large elements of comedy.
Read the short descriptions of each film below, its genre and then watch the trailers.
Which films do you think you would most like to watch? Which films do you think could teach you most about Irish culture?
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
‘An Irishman in England is arrested for being involved in an IRA bombing and both he and his father wrongly go to prison.‘
‘A Dublin street musician and a Czech girl write and record songs that tell their love story.’
‘An unusual Irish policeman and a follow-the-rules American FBI agent investigate international drug smugglers.’
HIS & HERS
‘Different Irish women, from young to very old, talk about their relationships with the men in their lives.’
INTO THE WEST
‘Grandpa Ward gives a horse to his grandchildren. When the horse is stolen, the two boys travel across Ireland to try find it.’
P.S. I LOVE YOU
‘A young woman whose husband has died discovers that he has left her 10 messages to help her start a new life.’
SONG OF THE SEA
‘Ben, a young Irish boy and his sister Saoirse who can change into a seal, try to free the faeries and save the spirit world.’
THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
‘During the Irish War of Independence, two brothers fight in a guerrilla war against the British forces.’
Are there any more movie genres you can think of?
- If you were to list a Top 5 films of your country, what would they be?
Watching films is a great way to improve your English. And also to learn about the culture of a country.