Updated June 7
A new documentary was recently released about the making of this film, entitled John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man, directed by Sé Merry Doyle.
The film was part of the festival curated by Gabriel Byrne at MoMA and here is a clip, narrated by the Cultural Ambassador for Ireland himself.
The long-awaited film festival, Revisiting “The Quiet Man”: Ireland on Film, one of Imagine Ireland’s premier events this spring, curated by the Cultural Ambassador for Ireland, began May 20 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.
This exhibition, curated by renowned Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, takes The Quiet Man (1952), John Ford’s iconic portrayal of rural Ireland, as the starting point for an exploration of representations of Irish identity in cinema. Byrne has identified key themes in the film—an emigré’s sense of “home,” politics, the role of women, religion, and Irish identity—and selected films from and about Ireland that further develop and amplify them. The Quiet Man is emblematic of an American representation of Ireland that dominated international perceptions of the country until 1958, when the establishment of Ireland’s national film studios allowed Irish filmmakers to express their own voices and visions. This exhibition presents alternative depictions of Ireland on screen and provides a multifaceted view of America’s complex cinematic relationship with the Irish.
The films included in the festival are:
- The Quiet Man 1952. USA. John Ford.
- The Magdalene Sisters 2002. Ireland/Great Britain. Peter Mullan.
- Dreaming “The Quiet Man” 2010. Ireland. Sé Merry Doyle.
- The Dead 1987. Great Britain/Ireland/USA. John Huston.
- The Informer 1935. USA. John Ford.
- This Other Eden 1959. Ireland. Muriel Box.
- The Wind That Shakes The Barley 2006. Ireland/Great Britain/Germany/Italy/Spain. Ken Loach
- Kisses 2008. Ireland. Lance Daly.
- The Butcher Boy 1997. Ireland. Neil Jordan.
- Darby O’Gill and the Little People 1959. Ireland/USA. Robert Stevenson.
- In the Name of the Father 1993. Ireland/USA. Jim Sheridan.
- Hunger 2008. Great Britain. Steve McQueen.
- Into The West 1993. Ireland. Mike Newell.
- Silent Films: The Lad from Old Ireland 1910. USA. Sidney Olcott; Come Back to Erin 1914. USA. Sidney Olcott; Come On Over 1922. USA. Alfred E. Green.
There are several videos of Gabriel Byrne discussing these films at the main page for the festival.
Here are two provided by MoMA on YouTube:
Our Quiet Man
Gabriel was interviewed on the Leonard Lopate show and also identified some of his current favorite things:
What have you read or seen over the past year (book, play, film, etc…) that moved or surprised you?
The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer
What are you listening to right now?
Under Milk Wood – original cast recording
What’s the last great book you read?
Edna O’Brien, Saints and Sinners
What’s one thing you’re a fan of that people might not expect?
Leonard Lopate Show: The Quiet Man and The End of the World
Renowned Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, Ireland’s cultural ambassador, discusses organizing the exhibition “Revisiting the Quiet Man: Ireland on Film” at MoMA, which explores representations of Irish identity in cinema. Byrne chose films with key themes—an emigré’s sense of “home,” politics, the role of women, religion, and Irish identity, including “The Quiet Man,” “The Dead,” “The Informer,” “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” “In the Name of the Father,” and “Hunger.” Byrne will also discuss the Imagine Ireland program in New York City, and his cultural ambassadorship.
The panel afterwards (love those socks!)
More pictures from the event are in the Gallery!
Why did you choose The Quiet Man as the central title?
Because it’s very controversial among Irish audiences. Many Irish people have a problem with it because they think it perpetuates certain stereotypes. John Ford, who was himself Irish, had a huge love of Ireland. But he was also an exile—exiled from a culture that he felt was in his DNA. So when he made a story about returning to his homeland, it was deceptively simple, full of stereotypical characters and situations. But he was actually making a mythical film about the notion of returning and what that means to an exile. You don’t really belong in the place that you’ve left, and you don’t really belong in the place that you go to.