Belfast Telegraph

Movie passnotes: We look at cinematic classic Mise Eire

By Ronan Wright

What's it about? Part of the BFI's Conversations About Cinema: Impact of Conflict initiative, which offers 'a timely reflection on the repercussions of conflict and the ways this has been presented through film', Morrison's 1960 feature-length documentary reflects on events in Ireland leading up to, during and following the 1916 Easter Rising in which republicans attempted to end British Rule by establishing an independent Irish Republic while the British Army was engaged in the First World War.

The first Irish language feature film and the first Irish film to use an orchestral soundtrack, Mise Eire has been hailed as a masterpiece of Irish cinema, using original newsreel footage from the time to chronicle a pivotal point in the Irish Civil War, providing an historical perspective on a formative yet divisive chapter in Irish history. Due to the contentious nature of its subject matter, given the instability across Northern Ireland at the time, the film was banned in Belfast on its original release.

Memorable Moments? In one scene members of the 'Citizens Army' are seen marching along country roads in their best attire, the cheery score jarring somewhat with the tangible tension building as the revolutionary leaders mobilise the troops.

Look who's talking: "Morrison's landmark Irish film is Ireland's most significant historical documentary film and first wholly Irish language feature." -

Like that? Try this: The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) is Ken Loach's acclaimed look at the Irish Civil War. Full of indie grit, the film is perhaps less accessible than Neil Jordan's Michael Collins (1996).

Trivia Pursuit: The film's title, meaning 'I am Ireland', is taken from a 1912 Irish language poem by poet and revolutionary leader Padraig Pearse.

Director: George Morrison (1960)

Who's in it? Liam Budhlaeir, Padraig O'Raghallaigh (voice)

Mise Eire is showing at the Queen's Film Theatre, Belfast, on Sunday at 6pm. For details, visit



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