Keepers of the Flame
Nuala O'Connor's feature directorial debut tells the universal story of generations dealing with the consequences of war and civil war; of what is remembered and what is forgotten.
The film delves into the archives of the Irish Military Service Pensions; what emerges is a personal retelling of a brutal and divisive period in the birth of a nation and the devastating legacy it left in its wake, for the individuals who took part and their families who suffered long after the fighting ended.
The film reveals the diverse experiences of some of the 85,000 ordinary Irish men and women who made pension or dependents allowance claims for having actively served during the violent revolutionary period from Easter 1916 to the end of the Civil War in 1921. Of those 85,000 applicants, just over 18,000 received any payment. Their stories lie in the Irish Military Pension Archives, stack upon stack of applications detailing involvement and actions, thousands of different interpretations of the same events lying side by side.
'Over two decades after winning an Emmy for her TV documentary about the global influence of Irish music, director Nuala O’Connor makes her feature debut with this fascinating study of how memory becomes history and how facts come to be interpreted over time… (A) thoughtful treatise on a nation’s ongoing relationship with its past.' David Parkinson, Radio Times