Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Constitution and the Field

Irish films, like Irish history, tend to be a pretty bleak lot. This week's case in point: The Field.

Starring the brilliant Richard Harris (who was nominated for an Academy award for this role) and a terribly attractive young Sean Bean (remember, Boromir?), the Field basically demonstrates the pretty bleak lifestyle of many rural Irish at around mid-century. Irish males were either the family heir, expected to care for the land, or a younger son, with little choice but to emigrate.

Besides being horribly depressing, this film also introduced to me the concept of the American Wake. Family members who emigrated might as well have died, and together with the Potato Blight, emigration is one of the primary reasons Ireland's population went from about 6 million to about 3 million between 1841 and 1941.

That's all I'm going to say about The Field. Truth be told, emigration is not really a big part of the movie. It's more about the almost fanatical tie of the Irish to their land, and it explains the mentality that would make them kill or die to protect that land. I'm not a believer in spoilers, but be warned, this movie is a downer.

A slightly less blatant but no less poignant illustration of the love of Irish people for their land can be found in the song "Four Green Fields". The old woman of the song is Ireland. The four fields are the four provinces of Ireland, and the one that is lost is Ulster, which is still under British rule.

To close, I want to say a word about the Constitution of 1937. No, actually, I don't. I feel like this blog post has become too didactic and has ceased to be entertaining. If you're interested, look it up.

No comments:

Post a Comment