Film Analysis Of James Joyce's Gas From A Burners

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Joyce wrote the poem Gas from a Burner soon after making what would be his final trip to Ireland, having had problems with the publication of Dubliners (University at Buffalo Libraries, 2015). The quote reflects Joyce’s ability to love Dublin, not in a glazed, superficial way but in a way that understands and recognises its positive and negative aspects.

This essay will attempt to examine the representation of Dublin in two recent Irish films: Adam and Paul, and What Richard Did by director Lenny Abrahamson. Eschewing the typical depictions of Dublin and Ireland seen in many postcards, advertisements and other visual media, these films over a stark and uncompromising view of Dublin. In doing so he creates an honest interpretation of the city avoiding sentimentality, which the American writer James Baldwin describes as “the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion” and is “the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel...the mask of cruelty” (Berlant,1955, p.33). We see two contrasting worlds in both films: the poverty stricken lives of two downbeat heroin addicts in one and the carefree, privileged life of a teenager in another. These characters also inhabit two opposite areas in Dublin, both geographically and economically. The element that ties these two films together is the unrelenting honesty of Abrahamson’s direction. By examining the characters in these films and their relationship to others and the city, we get an accurate depiction of Dublin.


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