On December 3rd the Cardiff Media Summit was held in the capital. This was an initiative of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, undertaken to promote collaborative reflection on the state of the broadcasting and media sector in Wales. It was jointly sponsored by BBC Wales and the University of South Wales. The latter had a stand near the entrance with books on display which had been written by university staff. I immediately found these titles of interest but, in fact, none were for sale on the spot yet what better buying public than scores of media professionals?
BBC Radio Wales Sunday 7th December
Unanimous praise for Calvary but disagreement over whether religion has ‘moved to the periphery of Irish life’
Fun being among the reviewers but I found myself at odds with them on this point.
Far from religion being on the side-lines, this film presents it as being so close to Irish hearts that its betrayal by clerical abuse of children results in a seething anger against clerics and the Catholic Church. Religion has failed but faith, in this film, is precious.
My favourite film, Bresson’s ‘Diary of a Country Priest’ is the model here. In both films a good priest is surrounded by embittered, suffering parishioners who taunt and confront him with the monstrosity and absurdity of suffering. There is plenty of jeopardy of the usual who-dunnit type but even more hangs on the risk that the priest will compromise his principles from sheer fellow-feeling.
A key role is that of the newly bereaved French wife whose clear-eyed acceptance of enormous loss proves a touchstone. Integrity, the coherence between what a person believes and what he or she does, is a major theme.
A great cast. Brendan Gleeson and his son, Domhnall are powerful in one of the many one-to-one encounters.
Why do we get angry at suffering as though it is something unexpected? That’s a question I feel this film put in front of me.
iPlayer Radio: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04snkt6
Commentator: The Institute of Welsh Affairs: News Analysis Online Magazine
I have a varied engagement with universities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as a professional tutor, visiting speaker and workshop leader. I am a steering committee member for several academic projects and contributor to academic publications.
Currently I’m writing an article for the next edition of ‘Llafur’ the Welsh People’s History journal, about the war memorial in Merthyr Tydfil which featured in my BBC Radio Wales documentary Of Mourning and Memory.