The Boxer: IRA in Belfast

Once in a while, IFC justifies the 2$ or so a month that I pay for it. Tonight I watched The Boxer (1997). A truly excellent film.

The film isn't about boxing, it is about an IRA prisoner let out after 14 years who tries to adjust to life in Norther Ireland in the 90s.

Perhaps it is because I briefly lived in Belfast in 1999 or that I'm the same age as the main character, but I really enjoyed this film.

In 99, Belfast still had the watch towers, the walls, the violent murals. More importantly, there were also all those young men limping around (after getting their knee caps knocked out). Belfast is a crazy place. There is a Protestant ghetto and a Catholic ghetto. Everybody seems to get along well enough in the rest of the city but in those two ghettos, it is civil war. In the ghettos there are no buses and there actually is a wall with a door between the two neighborhoods.

All this in the context that Dublin and London are not that far away and much more prosperous. You'd think the locals were trapped in Belfast. Many of the husbands are. In some areas, one household in three had a member in jail.

The events this week about the released prisoner trying to blow up the NI parliament makes this movie current.

Monday, the Canadian Parliament will be recognising Quebec as a nation. Far better than the Irish and British ways of doing things if you ask me.

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