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August 3rd 2020

Lior Tibet "The Irish Film Society and German cinema, 1936-1945"

This paper will look at the Irish Film Society as a case study for the complexity of international reception of German Cinema during the years 1936-1945. During the 1930s, the culturally conservative government of the young Irish state was reluctant to support local film productions and cinema culture. Founded in 1936, the Irish Film Society (IFS) wanted to counter this policy and develop the local film industry, by acquainting its members with artistical and educational films from all over the world, and promoting local film studies. Looking at the screenings and reception of German films in the IFS from 1936-45 will help highlight the importance of cinema as a cultural bridge in a time of war.

In order to reach a better understanding of Irish reception of the German cinema, this paper first reviews the situation of the Irish film industry in the 1930s. It then examines events held by the Irish Film Society during 1936-1945, relying on programmes issued by the IFS to its members correspondence and publications in Irish newspapers on German cinema. Finally, my paper focuses on one of the co-founders of the IFS, Liam O’Laoghaire, and his writing on German cinema in his book Invitation to the Film (1945). By doing so, this paper highlights the importance of local, non-governmental organizations in the reception and influence of German cinema on national cultures outside of Germany.