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Compartmentalized Cosmopolitans: Constructions of Urban Space in Queer Irish Cinema

  • Allison Macleod
Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Sexual Identity Urban Space Front Door Irish Society Boxed Section 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Martin McLoone, ‘Cinema, city and imaginative space: “hip hedonism” and recent Irish cinema’, in Brian McIlroy (ed.), Genre and Cinema: Ireland and Transnationalism (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 212.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ruth Barton, Irish National Cinema (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 112.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    David Bell and Jon Binnie, The Sexual Citizen: Queer Politics and Beyond (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000), 83.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Michel Foucault, ‘Of other spaces’, trans. Jay Miskowiec, Diacritics 16 (1) (1986): 24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 8.
    Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), 11.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Richard Dyer, The Culture of Queers (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), 97.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Dereka Rushbrook, ‘Cities, queer space, and the cosmopolitan tourist’, GLQ: a Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies 8 (1–2) (2002): 188. By ‘world cities’ Rushbrook is referring to cities that ‘market themselves as postindustrial, postmodern places […] [that] lay claim to a certain cosmopolitanism that labels them participants in the global economy of the new millennium’, and I argue that the Limerick represented in Cowboys and Angels can be characterized within this definition.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Debbie Ging, ‘Goldfish Memories? On seeing and hearing marginalised identities in contemporary Irish cinema’, in Borbála Faragó and Moynagh Sullivan (eds), Facing the Other: Interdisciplinary Studies on Race, Gender and Social Justice in Ireland, (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), 5.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    Conn Holohan, Cinema on the Periphery: Contemporary Irish and Spanish Film (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2010), 106.Google Scholar
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    Conn Holohan, ‘Queering the green: the limitations of sexuality as metaphor in recent Irish film’, in Isabelle le Corff and Estelle Epinous (eds), Cinemas of Ireland (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), 143.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    Jenny Knell, ‘North and south of the river: demythologizing Dublin in contemporary Irish film’, Eire-Ireland 45 (1–2) (2010): 225.Google Scholar

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© Allison Macleod 2014

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  • Allison Macleod

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