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22/5/12: A Last Hectic Day: Falls Road
We spent a last hectic day in Belfast, first meeting a group of interviewees who lately published a book about their time as republicans prisoners in Armagh jail. This autumn, they will come to Berlin and launch the book in Germany.
Later, in a pub on Falls Road, we interviewed the singer whose concerts we recordedt he last days. In comparison with the city centre, this area still has preserved its own style: many little shops and not a single Starbucks in sight. The solidarity for Marian Price is really strong in this community. Even murals with motifs from the 1970ies and 80ies now appeal for her release from prison. The community spirit in Belfast was surely strengthened by the "Troubles" on both sides. Whenever Belfast suceeds in becoming a "normal" European city, this intense climate of caring for each other will probably also vanish - a sobering thought.
Tomorrow, we will have to head back to Berlin: We now have shot the last missing scenes. Goodbye, Belfast!!! We will come back with the finished film...
21/5/12: Filming The "New Belfast"
Recording the concert worked out fine yesterday. We have beautiful music we can use for the film now!
Today, we spent the day filming the city-centre and the touristic sites. In the centre next to nothing still reminds of the Troubles. The city works hard on rewriting its history, as if the Troubles are not worth mentioning anymore and should better be forgotten. As the majority of citizens over 20 years of age is traumatized by the decades of violence, this surely cannot work. And the outcome? A city-centre that looks like millions of other shopping areas anywhere on planet Earth…
Also, we spent time filming Belfast’s tourist attraction number one, the new Titanic museum. Despite raving press reviews, we did not find a single Belfastian who is proud of it. The general feeling seems to be that its is quite tasteless to celebrate (indirectly) the deaths of 1500 passengers. Also, even building the ships in Belfast killed a probably even larger number of people due to terrible working conditions in the harbour.
20/5/12: Next Try Recording Music
19/5/12: Filming A Loyalist March
The event was very carefully planned with various groups that took part in order to “to ensure that their presence is as inoffensive as possible”, as the Belfast Telegraph put it. Surely, there were no riots.
From a feminist viewpoint: an absolutely male-dominated huge spectacle and demonstration of power. Very, very few women had joined the parade. We were literally recording hundreds of military-style dressed marching the streets of Belfast. One of the few exceptions is the girl we spontaneously christianed "little Miss Sunshine" because she is so cute. Okay, this parade officially was to commemorate an event 100 years ago, when surely few women would have joined the ranks... but still, this is the 21st century now. And also newer groups like “Loyalist Ardoyne, est. 1972” were marching.
A personal remark: Running beside the parade with really heavy equipment for miles and miles (and before breakfast!) felt more like having joined the army than working on a feminist film. At least we found time for a cappuccino before we had to get started. Recruits in all likelihood will do not even get that…
Tonight, we will be recording a concert in a pub in the republican neighborhood of Ardoyne.
18/5/12 West Belfast: A Lot Of Anger
For our second shooting, in West Belfast, we met some republican women we already know from earlier stays here. We asked them the same question as the loyalists in Shankill. Their view of the current situation and the future is a lot more pessimistic, for good reason.
On the one hand, the money that has been spent on the gigantic Titanic theme park is missing now in economically quite desolate Belfast. The social misery might lead to new riots, they assume. Furthermore, the fact that republican ex-prisoner Marian Price is in jail again is contributing to climate of anger and fear.
Price had her licence revoked in 2011 due to new evidence. This never happened before. Now many former IRA-members fear that they might be next on the list. Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State who took this course of action, is the highest-ranking politician in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State is not a publicly elected politician but appointed by the British monarch. This hardly democratic procedure makes him a very unpopular politician over here anyway.Secretary of State is not publicly elected, but appointed by the British monarch. Price’ arrest caused a scandal. Like our West Belfast interviewees, many more people feel betrayed.