Films for emancipation of the common people

However, whether the message is conservative (Arracht) or progressive (Herself), it is usually oblique, as overtly radical content rarely gets screened. Cinema is an extremely costly business, and screenplay and finished film decisions are made by wealthy and conservative producers. Yet, every now and then films depicting working class life and struggles are produced which are significant, for example, Salt of the Earth (1954), The Organizer (1963) (Italian), The Battle of Algiers (1966)(Italian-Algerian), Blue Collar (1978) (USA), Norma Rae (1979) (USA), Vera Drake (2004) (UK), I, Daniel Blake (2016) (UK).

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

Violence and the State: Examining Two Recent Irish Films: Arracht and Herself - CounterPunch.org









Norma Rae, Martin Ritt, 1979 - Union Sign Scene - YouTube




Despite the fact that the legitimacy of the state is maintained in Herself (winning custody of her children through the courts, her husband being caught and put away for years), the message of struggle, learning, and co-operation towards a common goal is quite subversive. She learns not only how to fight the system but also how to construct a new way of being within the system which has profound possibilities for the future (learning new skills, working collectively, solidarity, etc.).

A similar situation can be seen in The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006), a film by Ken Loach set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923), wherein the First Dáil sets up a parallel court system to the colonial institutions, which not only became accepted and recognized by the local people (de facto) but were eventually to become de jure with the setting up of the new Irish state.



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