With polls too close to call, Scottish independence could imminently become a reality. For many film fans the idea conjures up Mel Gibson in war paint declaring ‘They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom’. It’s some coincidence then that it’s 20 years since Braveheart was filmed, bringing a slice of Hollywood to Irish shores in one of the biggest film shoots ever to take place in Ireland. To celebrate, the IFI will be screening Braveheartas part of its ‘From the Vaults’ strand on Tuesday 30th September at 18.30, preceded by an Afternoon Talk with Military Historian Lar Joye at 16.00, by which time Gibson’s rally cry may be taking on a new real-world resonance.
The powerful historically-based mediaeval epic sees iconic Scottish rebel William Wallace (Gibson), outraged by the brutality of British invaders, dedicate his life to uniting Scotland’s tribal clans and lead them in their battle for freedom from Britain. Ireland is well represented throughout with lush Wicklow, Kildare and Meath locations and a wildly hirsute supporting cast lead by Brendan Gleeson and over 1,500 Irish extras in the film’s spectacular battle sequences.
The Irish army involvement in filmmaking has a long and colourful history which will be explored by Lar Joye (Curator of Irish Military History, National Museum of Ireland) in September’s IFI Afternoon Talk (30th September, 16.00) which is presented in partnership with Dublin City Council’s Festival of History. Joye’s expertise stems from his current role in the NMI, his former role as Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive and, most excitingly, from his work as an extra on Braveheartand Michael Collins. He will be joined by History Ireland Editor, Tommy Graham, and Prof. Seán Duffy (TCD) to discuss the historical merits of Braveheartand its influence on Scottish nationalism.