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ASCENDANCY

UK, 1982 (MIFF 1983)

Director: Edward Bennett

In his first narrative feature, Edward Bennett weaves a complicated pattern of political and personal elements.

Belfast 1920. A young woman, Connie, member of the Protestant ruling class (‘‘Ascendancy'', as it was known) spends her days in mourning for her brother who died fighting on the Somme. imprisoned in the past, she is oblivious to the other violence building around her in her own country.

Through meeting with a young British Lieutenant, she begins to see the truth - the inherited chaos that constitutes Irish history from the 1880's, through the I920's, to the present.

Having encountered death and horror in the streets, Connie's imaginary world is shattered: no fantasy can be as cruel as reality. Finally, she shoulders the responsibility for the violence both in her country and the Great War that killed her brother.

It is one of the prevailing qualities of this film how it takes us to the heart of today‘s continuing crisis without ever using the language of contemporary politics. The images from 60 years ago are disturbingly familiar.

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