Firinne: Searching for Ireland
“Firinne,” in the Irish language, means “truth.” This anthology of films searches for a new truth in modern Ireland, a nation in transition, where all that has been assumed to be unchanging is no more. Ireland is among the fastest-growing, most culturally saturated European countries. In the last twenty years, it has become one of the world’s top tourist destinations, as more and more people come to the country to search their Irish roots, or simply to enjoy its history, arts, and friendly residents.
In the Seventies, Ireland began to depend less and less on Britain’s economy. During that decade and on through the Eighties, Ireland started to exert an aggressive new political nationalism, fueled by the relentlessly explosive situation in Northern Ireland, the growing cultural popularity of the country throughout the world, the influx of Irish migrating back to their homeland, and the subsequent booming economy, known as the “Celtic Tiger,” which exploded in the Nineties. The modern Irish identity is a complicated, uneasy confrontation between old traditions and conservative reservations, rooted deep in the Church and a history of political rebellion; and a more forward-thinking generation of mixed ethnicities, liberal values, and an open approach to participating in the European Union and the global markets.
Continuing the centuries-old traditions of Irish storytelling, this collection of films explores contemporary Irish culture, how it reflects Irish identities of the past while striking out into new, untested territories. The dreamlike, meditative films float between documentary, fictional narrative, and avant-garde modes of address, and span a variety of subjects, including the Catholic church and the conflict in the North, the nation’s exploding economy and newfound wealth, the seemingly overnight modernization of its landscape, and its reversal of mass immigration.