Journalist Sinéad O’Shea delivers a powerful portrait of those who resisted the Catholic Church’s historic abuse of women and children in small-town Ireland ranging from corporal punishment and oppressive mother-and-baby homes.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
Irish filmmaker and journalist Sinéad O’Shea returns to her hometown of Navan in Co Meath to speak to those who stood up to the Catholic Church’s maltreatment of women and children through the 60s and 70s. We meet women who fell pregnant and were forced through shame into brutal mother-and-baby houses and Magdalene Laundries as portrayed in films such as Stephen Frear’s Philomena and Peter Mullan’s The Magdalene Sisters; a doctor couple who established Ireland’s first family planning clinic outside Dublin; a man who, as a child, was viciously beaten by his teacher for writing with his left hand, “the devil’s hand”; and the town’s complicated priest, a charismatic Kennedy type with a conservative streak. A revelatory look at the dignity of resistance and the impact individuals can have on an abusive system. — Amanda Jane Robinson
“Pulls no punches… A backward glance from a more enlightened, progressive time… powerfully documents what happened within living memory, the trauma still experienced by those who survived it and the inspiration from an often invisible resistance who helped to bring about change.” — Allan Hunter, Screendaily
“A heart-wrenching and important documentary about the abusive Catholic rule in Ireland. A crucial history lesson…a study in trauma and resistance.” — Alex Heeney, Seventh Row