Ascendancy

Ascendancy

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Details

Location

Belfast

Year

1983

Source

National Film and Television Archive

Format

35mm, film

colour

Length

85min 00sec

Silent

sound

Courtesy

British Film Institute

Rights Holder

British Film Institute

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.

Description

Set in Belfast in 1920. The story of a young Protestant woman, distressed by the death of her brother in World War One, who becomes involved in the rebellion against British rule.

Notes

This film was joint winner of the Golden Bear at the 1983 Berlin Film Festival. Filmed on location at Harefield, Middlesex, and in Liverpool, London, and South Shields, England. 'The beetle-browed Protestant speechmaker is, of course, [Sir Edward] Carson'. (Nigel Gearing, quoted Monthly Film Bulletin 1983:125). 'This film is obviously the product of careful research and, unlike many English films about the North, it makes a real effort to reflect the complexity of both personal and political life.' (The Sunday Press (Dublin) 29/01/1984:16). Source: Kevin Rockett, The Irish Filmography, Dublin, Red Mountain Press, 1996.

Shot List

'In the sheltered Protestant/Unionist world of a Belfast ship-building family against the background of the War of Independence and as partition is about to be introduced, a young woman, Connie, remains traumatised since the death of her brother during World War One. She is treated for a paralysed arm, an hysterical ailment connected with her brother's death. She writes letters to him as if he is alive, and tries to gain entrance to his old room. Connie's father seeks to use sectarian differences during the Orange marches to divide his work force, and thus stave off trade union agitiation, as he is seeking to win a German order. With the war in Ireland intensifying, he succeeds in inflaming the Protestant crowd against their Catholic workmates. With the upsurge in sectarianism, even Connie's maid, a Catholic, is affected as she is forced from the house by the Protestant servants. British troops are called in, ostensibly to restore order, but in reality to aid the creation of the Northern Ireland state. Some of the officers are invited to a tea party at the house. Among them is a young lieutenant, Ryder, who wishes to distance himself from the duties the army have been instructed to perform. The political situation continues to deteriorate. One of the servants is killed in retaliation for a sectarian murder, while Connie's fantasies about her brother's death become more violent under the pressure of events. She meets Ryder again as the army fortifies against attack. While her father is persuaded to stand for the Parliament of the new state, Ryder and his fellow officers train Protestant shipyard workers in preparation for the coming fight. At the house, Connie drags Ryder up to her dead brother' s room, but his patience snaps and he rejects her sympathy on his going to war, accusing her of being a deluded invalid. Connie becomes more confused about the events around her until her fantasy world is shattered by first-hand experience on the streets of Belfast of the fighting between Catholics and Protestants, and Republicanism and British forces.' Source: Kevin Rockett, The Irish Filmography, Dublin, Red Mountain Press, 1996.

Credits

Cast - Julie Covington - Connie; Ian Charlston - Ryder; John Philips - Wintour; Susan Engel - nurse; Philip Locke - Doctor Strickland; Kieran Montague - Doctor Kelso; Rynagh O'Grady - Rose; Philomena McDonagh - Mary; Michael McKnight - Vesey; Jeremy Sinden - Darcy; Walter McMonagle - Dawson; Shay Gorman - Keir; Liam O'Callaghan - Sir Edward Carson; Joe McPartland - butler; Tony Rohr - chauffeur; Charles Lawson - boy; Ann Hasson - first maid; Zena Daire - second maid; Marjorie Hogan - housekeeper; Sean Caffrey - Baird; James Coyle - Hardy; Michael Melinger - Schulz; Wolf Kahler - Muller; Gary Whelan - soldier; Tony Steedman - colonel; Valerie Lilley - mother; Michael Cochrane - officer; Shevaun Briars, Cora Kinnaird, Frances Quinn - girls at party; Kevi Moore - RUC officer; Gerard O'Hagan - man in street; Production Company - British Film Institute Production Board. In association with Channel Four; Producer - Penny Clark, Ian Elsey, Head of BFI production - Peter Sainsbury; Director - Edward Bennett; Screenplay (writer) - Edward Bennett, Nigel Gearing; Director of Photography - Clive Tickner; Camera Operator - Mike Tomlinson; Additional Camera Operator - Dusty Miller; Art director - Jamie Leonard; Editor - Charles Rees; George Akers; Assistant editor - Charles Ware; Jane Mitchell; Continuity - Melinda Rees, Jenny Haworth; First (1st) Assistant Director - Peter Price, Andrew Warren; Second (2nd) Assistant Director - Bill Rudgard, Nigel Goldstack; Assistant Art Director - Miranda Melville; Music composed by - Ronnie Leahy; Music performed by - Ronnie Leahy, Morris Pert; Sound Mixer - David Stephenson, Denis Nesbitt; Sound Editor - Anthony Sloman; (Sound) Dubbing Mixer - Paul Carr; Music recorded by - Dave Bascombe; Sound re-recordist - Roger Cherrill Ltd, Costume Designer - Gabey Odee; Costume Designer Supervisor - Doreen Watkinson, Susan Snell; Wardrobe - Peter Halston, Maggie Smith; Make-up Artist - Sally Harrison; Assistant Make-up Artist - Sandra Carr; Hairdresser - Maureen Hannaford-Nesbitt; Assistant Hairdresser - Sancia Simpson, Jane Fox; Casting Director - Simone Reynolds; Locations Manager - Terence Fitch; Focus Pullers - Steve Alcorn, Anne Cottringer; Boom Operator - Colin Wood, David Gatrell; Props - Henry Harris; Assistant to Art Department - Glyn Fielding, Alison Stewart-Richardson, Tina Carr; Special Effects - Tom Harris; Stills - Tony Harpur; Colour Consultant - Len Brown; Producers Assistant - Victoria Seale, Kim Nygaard; Clapper Loader - Steve Parker; Grip - Olly Hoeben; Gaffer Electrician - Tommy Brown, Al Watson; Electrician - Neil Gamblin, Phil Fegan, Mal Bray; Unit driver - Mannie Michael; Unit runner - Ken Shane; titles - Framelone; Distributor - British Film Institute. Source - Kevin Rockett, The Irish Filmography, Dublin, Red Mountain Press, 1996.

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