Guardian reporter's vision of Ireland in 1968
In the same year that John Lennon questioned the world's commitment to change in Revolution, his namesake and Guardian reporter Peter Lennon produced this scathing snapshot of a republic that had failed to make the most of its break with Britain some 45 years earlier. With contributors like Sean O'Faolain suggesting that Ireland was an nation of “urbanised peasants” whose lack of moral courage was the result of its repressive religion, there's no wonder this documentary caused such a storm both at home and across France during the turbulent spring of 1968, where rioting students took it to their hearts as a symbol of a nation rebelling against its Catholic establishment. Helped by the immediacy of Raoul Coutard's vérité imagery, it retains its potency and human interest value, notably through Fr Michael Cleary, who was subsequently revealed to have fathered a child with his housekeeper.
Odd premise and conclusions but despite Peter Lennon's controversial viewpoint this remains compelling.
Reviewed by David Parkinson