2006-12-02

Belfast Girls

Category: TV

"In a bar when I guy chats you up you ask him where he lives and then try to figure out if he is Protestent or Catholic. The best way is to ask what his favorite teem is." Girl in the excellent documentary " Belfast Girls" airing this weekend in Canada on the documentary channel.

This happened to me. Only it was a 7 foot guy trying to decide if he should beat the living crap out of me. I'd forgotten which teem was which, so I didn't know if he was Protestant or Catholic. It wouldn't normally matter, but in Northern Ireland, it does.

Living in Belfast, something occurred to me: people can't tell if you are Catholic or Protestant!

There are two small ghettos in Belfast. Both are adjacent. Both are poor. One is Catholic, the other is Protestant. The rest of Belfast is essentially mixed, including the downtown area where most of the shopping and nightlife occurs.

The documentary follows two girls, one Catholic, one Protestant. Their lives are so similar you'll quickly forget which is which (the Protestant has a kid). There are some great moments, like when the Catholic girl is brought to tears when describing a stretch of road she wouldn't dare go down. Then she giggles as two people walk by. "They must be senile!"

In an other scene the same Catholic Girl attempts to describe that Protestants wear their hair differently, to which her friend responds that she hadn't noticed.

It was a crazy civil war. But it was real and many people paid the price with injury, death and jail time. Peace wasn't that great either with Catholics being economically discriminated against in a clear attempt at "ethnic cleansing" by some Protestants.

Amazingly, there are still Catholic and Protestant schools in Northern Ireland. So for people living in the ghettos (where most of the violence came from), there isn't that much fraternising with the others.

The documentary is great. My only criticism is the lack of subtitles. Even having lived in Belfast, I found the girls difficult to understand. Record it and watch it again, otherwise you will miss most of the dialog.

Related post:
The Boxer: IRA in Belfast

Other Blog:
http://belfastblogger.com/ (contains links to local newspapers)

1 comment:

Fredrik Gertten said...

Hi, great that you liked our film "Belfast Girls". We are proud to. Regarding subtitles, we will soon release a DVD including English subtitles. Check out www.wgfilm.com

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