The success of features like An Cailín Ciúin and Róise & Frank has seen more enthusiasm than ever among audiences for films in Irish. For those who’d like to see great shorts from years gone by as Gaeilge, the Irish Film Institute have put together Gearrscannáin ón gCartlann. See Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom and more faves for free, offering an access to Irish film history for students and film fans alike.
A selection has been made available free on the IFI Archive Player for Seachtain na Gaeilge. The Archive Player is the Institute’s virtual viewing room for the collections held within the IFI Irish Film Archive, giving viewers at home and abroad access to hundreds of home movies, newsreels, travelogues, animations, feature films, public information films and documentaries. The films in Irish likewise cover a variety of genres and formats: drama, documentary, newsreels and public information films, showing Irish life from as early as the 1940s all the up to recent times, demonstrating the scope and creative use of the Irish language across many decades through the medium of film.
Shorts from the late ‘90’s and early ‘00’s include films that are in direct conversation with the modern-day experience of the Irish language. In Lipservice (1998) secondary school students attend the Irish language oral exams, an occasion which requires trojan patience from the examiner and demonstrates a mix of nerves, incomprehension, anxiety and apathy all at once from the students. In Yu Ming is Ainm Dom (2003), the lack of Irish being spoken and understood by the people of Ireland is brought to light through the heart-breaking tale of Yu Ming from China, who comes to Ireland having learned the Irish language, only to find communicating in Irish in Ireland can be a difficult and lonely feat.
The newsreels included cover a range of topics concerning Irish life and culture from protests, to exhibitions to Miss Dublin. The Gaeltacht is a key feature of the documentaries included in this collection, Irish College Ranafast (1962) explores life in the Gaeltacht area of Ranafast in Donegal and gives insight into the Irish College experience for young people visiting from the city.
Gearrscannáin ón gCartlann can be visited here: www.ifiarchiveplayer.ie/gearrscannnain/