Why We Need to Put the Easter Rising on Film

It seemed every piece of funding for films in Ireland in 2015 was specifically to do with the Easter Rising and this was not an exciting prospect to me.

Historical dramas have as much potential to be great as any other genre of film, but it was hard to shake the feeling that the resulting art-works would be derivative and maintain a fairly safe view of the event.

Then RTÉ’s €6 million drama series “Rebellion” premiered and it seemed it had all come true. Instead of focusing on the people who actually instigated the rising, the series invented characters and followed them instead.

Technically it could have worked, but two episodes in and it was obvious the show was weighed down by boring staging – two characters standing looking at each other speaking – and too many erroneous story lines that seemed to be going nowhere.

I put my grievances with the show to my mother, who was also watching, but she said she enjoyed it, regardless of my problems with it. She found it fascinating to see the events of the rising play out; the attack on Dublin Castle, the taking of the GPO, events that we’d always heard about, now finally getting the chance to witness.

Of course the show was as heavily criticised for historical inaccuracies as creative shortcomings. But it raised an interesting point nonetheless; was there some value to be extracted from this money-led project, even if it wasn’t exactly executed in the most riveting manner?

In my research I only managed to come across a handful of films actually about the Rising; Curious Journeys & Mise Éire. We obviously need more than this if we’re going to even begin to understand the significance of the rising.