Existential Slapstick (from ‘First Things’)

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ demonstrates again the capacity of its author, Martin McDonagh — born in London of Irish parents — to look into Irish life and see what the native-born cannot see.

Kitsch and Break-up

The idiotic, binary, self-devouring cultural dialectic of Ireland since independence has ensured that its own damaged iconographies have blocked access to certain elements of the past, and therefore stymied present-day artists.

In The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh crams the symbolic elements of bankrupt ‘Irishry’ into a tiny bar, custom built for the movie on the edge of a cliff: the fiddle, the bodhrán, the ‘pint of plain’, the lilting repetition of the English words atop the Irish syntax; and, outside, the landscape studded with thatched cottages, with animals snoozing in the kitchens, the roads traversed by donkeys and carts; here an old crone with clay pipe, there a comely maiden; now a dissipated bachelor, then another (possibly his brother); then a tyrant father bargain-binned into a crooked lawman — all simultaneous parts of both reality and myth, all hackneyed and yet breathing, all true and yet false.

Click here for my First Things article


From https://johnwaters.substack.com/