Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey

Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey

“A stirring story told in an endlessly compelling voice… Every twist and turn is illustrated with similarly compelling slices of footage.” — Donald Clarke, Irish Times

Director: Lelia Doolan
Year: 2011
Country: Ireland
Running time: 88 mins

Producer: Lelia Doolan
Photography: Joe Comerford
Editor: Gordon Bruic
Music: Hugh Doolan
Colour and B&W/DigiBeta

With: Bernadette Devlin McAliskey

Festivals: London 2011

A fearless, fiercely articulate Irish Republican firebrand in a miniskirt, Bernadette Devlin became Britain’s youngest elected female MP at 21 in 1969. Her maiden speech was a stinging attack on the British in Ireland; and when Home Secretary Reginald Maudling claimed that the British army had fired in self-defence on Bloody Sunday she strode across the House of Commons and punched him. Veteran Irish producer Lelia Doolan, a significant mover and shaker herself, has worked for ten years to produce a rousing and thorough picture of this woman who was once recognisable throughout the Western world as the embodiment of politicised youth in revolt. She’s survived imprisonment, a near-miss assassination attempt and years of struggle within and on behalf of the Republican cause. She remains a committed activist and organiser. Doolan builds the film around her own interviews with an often wry, but enduringly passionate, Devlin. The wealth of archival footage should convince any newcomer to her remarkable story that she was once a riveting fixture on the nightly news and an unstoppable force for change. — BG