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North Circular: SBIFF US Premiere 2/16/23

North Circular is a documentary film that brings forth stories of the North Circular road that runs through Dublin, Ireland. The film is an immersive experience- the film director’s (Luke McManus) intent is to walk the viewer through the districts along the route through personal interviews with locals. McManus wants the viewer to experience conversations you would overhear while passing through. Irish folk songs are sung throughout to tie in historical struggles to the societal issues within Dublin. Shot in black and white, the film can be dark and ominous at times. This shows an interesting contrast to the light that shines through. Some of the issues brought to light in this film are the impact of colonialism and imperialism on Dublin’s people and culture, war and those who fought in the British army, jailing and religious force on women, poverty, and squatting due to home eviction. It’s serious, but visually striking: as seen with its lighting reaching through windows to light the singers of the film, who sing songs that honor the people who fought and struggled before.
North Circular is a truthful and informative film. Its individual interviews are extremely personal as they tell the stories of where they have lived in Dublin and where they have been. One place that is a cornerstone of the film is the Cobblestone pub – a place for locals to sing and perform folk music in large groups. Dublin’s culture is kept alive in places like these. Many of the songs that are performed in the film are in this pub, and one musician who plays there is interviewed. However, this place was threatened by eviction; a major issue in Dublin at the moment is that with the development of new structures (such as skyscraper hotels) the more difficult it is for small businesses and locals to thrive there. The film showcases a protest for the pub: a large collection of people who stand for the protection of Dublin’s culture. In some ways, North Circular speaks for itself: it truthfully showcases how history can never be erased, it lives within the hearts of people. The beautifully sung poetry seems to bind the people of Dublin to the earth. Truth is found in the dark corners, on the streets, and in the hearts of those that live there.


  • Ella Bailey

    Ella is a VADA Senior here at SBHS. She was born and has roots in Sweden and moved to Santa Barbara when she was young. She chose to become a contributor to The Forge because she enjoys writing creatively and analytically in her free time. She loves to write about arts and culture, and hopes to bring her artistic passion to The Forge.

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