PHOTOIRELAND Festival Screenings of “Journey to YU (in the footsteps of Rebecca West)” at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios (July 14 – 17).By Deirdre Mulrooney In Culture, Documentaries, Photography, Travel
“Journey to YU (in the footsteps of Rebecca West)” is a photo-documentary produced, written, and directed by Deirdre Mulrooney, inspired by award winning photographer Dragana Jurišić’s RHA & Belfast Exposed exhibition “YU – The Lost Country”, which follows in the footsteps of neglected Anglo-Irish/Scottish writer Rebecca West’s epic 1930s travelogue to her former homeland, Yugoslavia, “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon”.
Conveying the devastating impact of war on ordinary people, this moving documentary which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the tragic massacre at Srebenica (July 1995), features the great Olwen Fouere as Rebecca West; Zlata Filipovic (author, “Zlata’s Diary”); Dijana Milosevic (Founder, DAH Theatre, Belgrade); Colin Graham (Writer, Critic, and Lecturer in English at NUIM); photographer Dragana Jurisic; Pat Laffan, and is narrated by Deirdre Mulrooney.
In her photographic pilgrimage, Jurisic brings West’s 1941 masterpiece into the present day, for an encounter with the medium of photography – through her rolliflex camera as she follows West’s footsteps through Yugoslavia, her former homeland, from which she was displaced during the 1990s war. This photo-documentary highlights this unique and original road-trip where two women from different eras [Jurisic and Anglo-Irish writer Rebecca West], intersect in an intellectual, emotional, and physical journey through the Balkans.
Novelist, critic and ardent feminist Rebecca West was born Cecily Isabel Fairfield in 1892, the youngest of three daughters of Scots pianist Isabella McKenzie, and impoverished Irish journalist Charles Fairfield (a tumble-down aristocrat from County Kerry). West donned the name of Ibsen’s feminist protagonist from his play “Rosmersholm”, when she left school in Edinburgh initially to pursue a stage career in London. A gifted writer, West was a suffragette who contributed from an early age to feminist journal, The Freewoman. Her journalistic radicalism, and literary genius has unfortunately been overshadowed by her association with HG Wells, and by their son Anthony Wells’ subsequent sustained literary attacks on his unwed feminist mother. (Ironically, her turbulent association with Wells, who was 26 years her senior, began when she criticized his anti-feminism in her review of his book “Marriage”). West is an important pioneering figure in early 20th century literature and feminism.
“Journey to YU (in the footsteps of Rebecca West)” was crowd-funded via Kickstarter, and premiered at the Belgrade-Irish Festival, thanks to Culture Ireland, in March 2015. On the sombre occasion of the 20th anniversary of the massacre at Srebenica, these PHOTOIRELAND Festival 2015 screenings take place from Tuesday 14th to Friday 17th July 2015 at 1pm; 2.30pm; & 4.00pm in Temple Bar Gallery and Studios (Studio 6). Running time: one hour.