Compartmentalized Cosmopolitans: Constructions of Urban Space in Queer Irish Cinema
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Beginning in the late 1990s, there emerged a new urban sensibility in Irish cinema that celebrated the city as a cosmopolitan and utopian space. Films such as About Adam (Gerry Stembridge, 2000), When Brendan Met Trudy (Kieron J. Walsh, 2001), Intermission (John Crowley, 2003) and Inside I’m Dancing (Damien O’Donnell, 2004) express a desire to move away from traditional narratives and iconography by disavowing the past and projecting a utopian and liberal Ireland free from political and sectarian conflict. Martin McLoone has characterized these films as promoting a brand of ‘hip hedonism’, claiming that they ‘epitomise a kind of transglobal “cool”’,1 while Ruth Barton has described this filmmaking practice as ‘the culturally specific desire not to be culturally specific’.2 Whilst this reimagining of Ireland through a reimagining of urban space can be seen as an attempt to escape traditional markers of Irish cinematic identity, particularly those related to placehood and rural imagery, this representational strategy has also been criticized for its failure to offer a clear sense of local identity. Thus, while the desire to not be culturally specific may be a strategy of avoiding a representational history steeped in issues around the nation and national identity, it also signals a potential inability to engage with contemporary political and social realities. This becomes particularly problematic when looking at the representation of sexual identity in queer Irish cinema.
KeywordsSexual Identity Urban Space Front Door Irish Society Boxed Section
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