This exhibition, curated by renowned Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, takes The Quiet Man (1952), John Ford’s iconic portrayal of rural Ireland, as the starting point for an exploration of representations of Irish identity in cinema. Byrne has identified key themes in the film—an emigré’s sense of “home,” politics, the role of women, religion, and Irish identity—and selected films from and about Ireland that further develop and amplify them. The Quiet Man is emblematic of an American representation of Ireland that dominated international perceptions of the country until 1958, when the establishment of Ireland’s national film studios allowed Irish filmmakers to express their own voices and visions. This exhibition presents alternative depictions of Ireland on screen and provides a multifaceted view of America’s complex cinematic relationship with the Irish.
Curated by Gabriel Byrne. Presented by The Museum of Modern Art and Irish Film Institute, as part of Imagine Ireland: Culture Ireland’s Year of Irish Arts in America 2011.This program is facilitated by Charles Silver, Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art; Sunniva O’Flynn, Curator, Irish Film Institute; and Sarah Glennie, Director, Irish Film Institute. Thanks to UCLA and Swank Motion Pictures.