Cinema Review: I, DOLOURS

Posted August 27, 2018 in Cinema Reviews

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Director: Maurice Sweeney

Talent: Lorna Larkin

Released: 31 August

In 2010, Dolours Price, a former member of the IRA gave a series of interviews to journalist Ed Moloney. Maurice Sweeney’s enthralling film is based entirely on her account of the events, splicing interviews with Dolours, newsreel footage and deftly understated re-enactments of moments as told by her (Lorna Larkin). Price, who died in 2013, is articulate in her depictions of how she became the third female generation of her family to spend time in Armagh jail. “At bedtime we wouldn’t hear Little Red Riding Hood. We would hear, they hanged my mate Jimmy.”

Price witnessed first-hand the subjugation of her people and says: “The Catholic population were downtrodden and accepting of their status as second class citizens. Republicans had this strange arrogance. We believed we were possessors of the truth and custodians of the men of 1916. We regarded ourselves as elite.”

Not content with rolling bandages, Price wanted to fight and was enlisted to transport explosives across the border. Within a year, she was elevated to the intelligence unit known as The Unknowns. They were tasked with the ‘disappearing’ of alleged informants. It is in this role that Price makes the two claims in the public domain yet highlighted again, namely that her commanding officer was Gerry Adams and that she was involved in carrying out the disappearing of Jean McConville, the Belfast widow of 10, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1972.

Price went on to serve eight years in prison for her involvement in a series of car-bombs in London. She was jailed with her sister Marian and her hunger strike action was a precursor to the incidents in The Maze in the early eighties. She was finally released and went on to marry actor Stephen Rea in 1983. Price never reconciled the actions surrounding the Good Friday Agreement and cessation of hostilities. “It’s when you realise your life’s purpose had all been for nothing.” She died from a toxic mix of sedatives and anti-depressants in 2013. I, Dolorous is an enthralling insight from the perspective of the unreconciled. Sweeney and Moloney’s work is commendable, as is that of Director of Photography Kate McCullough.

Words: Michael McDermott


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