This documentary film, shot in 1996 and 1997, paints an authentic picture of the ongoing civil war situation in Northern Ireland. A life which fluctuates between normality, violence and unemployment. Very plain and normal people with a story to tell express their views. But what is normal in a country which knows no peace, and where violence dictates public and private life? Without allowing himself to be swayed by a particular party, Hans-Erich Viet observes a split society.
As Brexit introduces new uncertainties about the future relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, it’s worth taking a look back at the way things were in the British province before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement put an end to most of the violence during the three decades of sectarian strife in communities divided even amongst themselves by seemingly irreconcilable differences. And it’s both the extreme complexity and the fragility of the situation that this film brings home to us with its encounters with some of those especially exposed to the Irish conflict. Filmed at human height, in private or in action on terrain scarred by the ritualised provocations of one side and the desperate reactions of the other, their accounts outlining the hope of approaching peace also reveal all the difficulties of real political change in a climate that remains overdetermined by ancestral hatred and the actions of ultras from both sides.
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