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The Jackets Green
A Video by Arthur MacCaig
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"What are you fighting for?"

Armed simply with this question, Arthur Mac Caig goes to Northern Ireland to confront Irish Republicans. The result is an inside look at the ghettos of Belfast.

The first image is of a young man marching through the city streets. He is 20 years old, but very much a child. His face belies enormous tension, as does the tight grip on his rifle. His teeth are clenched in fear. Rita O'Hare, director of "Republican News," a nationalist weekly, was severely wounded by British soldiers. Later imprisoned for 3 years, she now lives in exile in the South of Ireland. Then there is Brendan Hughes, former IRA leader, who has spent 13 years in prison, conducted a 53 day hunger strike, and been tortured on several occasions. He says, "In the beginning when a soldier or a policeman had been killed, I was happy. But now I feel sadness. I don't wish the death of anyone, but here the only reality is war."

THE JACKETS GREEN calls no one to arms, but offers simple portraits of a few men and women most often represented as fanatical zealots. As they speak candidly about their cause, it becomes difficult to continue branding them as "terrorists."

"An expressionistic and very lyrical trip through the streets of Belfast. [Mac Caig's] camera, subjective as it may be, delivers rare emotional forces."—Humanité (Paris)

"The images carry an emotional charge that is incompatible with objectivity. Rather, we have a poem about an endless revolt, the lament of the IRA, and of British torture. There are the troubled looks of the children, songs that warm the heart and the cold prisons that destroy them."—Antoine Perraued, Telerama (Paris)

14 minutes / Color
Release: 1996
Copyright: 1988

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Ireland, Western Europe

Related Links:
Other films and videos by Arthur MacCaig

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