New York finds Hidden Ireland
by Naman Ramachandran
The Irish Film Institute (IFI) and the New York Public Library will feature a season of Irish documentaries, Hidden Ireland (March 19-May 29) in New York City. This is part of Culture Ireland’s Imagine Ireland, a yearlong celebration of Irish arts in North America.
The 19-part series of rarely seen films and television programmes is drawn mainly from the IFI’s Irish Film Archive with a series of US produced documentaries from the New York Public Library Film Collection. Highlights include the recently restored The Seasons (1935), and the recent hit Irish documentaries The Pipe and His & Hers.
IFI Curator Sunniva O’Flynn said, “Hidden Ireland juxtaposes films which are contemporary and archival, Irish and “foreign”, professional and amateur to create a fascinating lens through which Ireland, the Irish and Irish-America can be explored. It includes work by US ethnographers, television reporters and documentarians; tourist films made by Irish agencies for US audiences; local films made by Irish amateurs to document their own lives; and films made by returned emigrants exploring changes to their homeland.”
Apart from focuses on Irish music and society, the season will demonstrate through promotional films from the Irish Tourist Board that it was not just American filmmakers who helped to create the idea of Ireland as a whimsical land untouched by the modern world. Hidden Ireland also looks at European perspectives on Ireland and Irish emigration like in the controversial film Irland und Seine Kinder (1961) by the Nobel prize-winning German writer Heinrich Böll.