Of all the movies I've seen depicting The Troubles in Northern Ireland -- and there have been some powerful films on the subject -- "Titanic Town" is the first one that really drove home to this outsider what it must have been like to live in a neighborhood where sniper fire is an everyday occurrence, where the hulks of bombed-out cars sit in the town square and where a quiet residential street can be invaded at any moment by columns of soldiers, armed to the teeth and coming to drag away one or more of your neighbors.
The most visceral moment in this tense but hopeful film, about an Irish Catholic mother of four who takes it upon herself to stop the undeclared war, comes in the middle of the night when the teenage daughter of this housewife-activist wakes up to the sight of paramilitary guerillas taking up attack positions in her front yard. The scene gave me chills, plain and simple.
Our passport into this perilous world is Bernie McPhelimy, a real-life woman of dogged determination who in the 1970s jumped headlong into the quagmire that was (and still is) the bitter, violent, terrorizing clash between Catholic Irish Republicans and Protestant, Britain-backed Unionists.
Continue reading: Titanic Town Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.