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Northern Ireland and the problem of identity in Divorcing Jack (1998) and Wild About Harry (2000)

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The dominant theorization of contemporary British cinema is one in which multiple axes of identification (race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, region) are contained within an overarching concept of hybrid national cinema. However, such a concept fails to include films that represent Northern Ireland, despite the fact that the problem of multiple identities is as relevant in the cinema of this part of the United Kingdom as it is elsewhere. This article focuses on questions of individual identity in two films from Colin Bateman – Divorcing Jack (1998) and Wild About Harry (2000) – in which we are presented with individuals possessing multiple, fractured and contradictory identities. In these films, the problem of identity in Northern Ireland is not the representation of a unique and coherent identity that can be successfully contained within a hybrid national framework that is typical of films that are set elsewhere in the United Kingdom; rather, it is a struggle to come to terms with too many identities that is ultimately unresolved.

Keywords: British cinema; Colin Bateman; Divorcing Jack; Northern Ireland; Wild About Harry; hybridity; identity

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The Journal of European Popular Culture investigates the creative cultures of Europe, present and past. Exploring European popular imagery, media, new media, film, music, art and design, architecture, drama and dance, fine art, literature and the writing arts, and more, the journal is also of interest to those considering the influence of European creativity and European creative artefacts worldwide.
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