'Bloody Sunday': National Trauma and National Cinema

Jennifer Beckett


This paper examines Paul Greengrass’ 2002 docudrama ‘Bloody Sunday’, paying particular attention to the way in which the film operates within the sphere of trauma therapy. To this end it analyses the role the film plays in re-narritivising or demythologising the historical event and how this helps to achieve acoming to terms with the violent break in the history of Northern Ireland that Bloody Sunday constitutes. In order to do this the paper focuses on the way in which Greengrass has attempted to achieve, in his own words, ‘an account[of the story] we can all broadly share’ through his use of the documentary aesthetic, non-actors, binary characterisations and large amounts of improvised dialogue in his script. Finally, the paper examines the way in which the film breaks with traditional narratives of the event and the effect this had on its reception in both Ireland and Britain.

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