This book examines The Commitments (Parker, 1991) for the first time as a film, rather than an adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s bestselling novel, and as a significant cultural event in 1990s Ireland.
A major hit in Ireland and around the world, the film depicts the short-lived attempts of an ensemble of young working-class Dubliners to achieve success as a soul covers band, playing the hits of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and others, on a mission to ‘bring soul back to Dublin’. Drawing upon interviews with key figures involved in the film and its music, including Roddy Doyle, Angeline Ball, and Bronagh Gallagher, as well as archival research of director Alan Parker’s papers, the book explores questions of authenticity associated with youth, music, class, and culture, and assesses the film’s legacy for the Irish film industry, Irish music scenes, and Irish youth. It also examines the film’s status as a truly transnational production.
This concise, yet interdisciplinary case study will be of interest to students and researchers in popular music, cultural studies, and sociology, as well as film and media studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Beyond Text, Beyond Film: The Commitments as Event
Chapter 1: A Commitment to Dublin? From Transnational Co-Production to Locational Specificity
Chapter 2: ‘Say It Loud, I’m Black an’ I’m Proud’: Intersections of Race, Class, Gender and Youth on Screen and Soundtrack
Chapter: 3 Youth Culture and Music Scenes in 1980s and 1990s Dublin.
Chapter 4: Songs and Sonic Authenticity: Mediating Musical Performance
Conclusion: The Legacy of The Commitments
Nessa Johnston is Senior Lecturer in Media, Film and Television at Edge Hill University, UK. Her research is about sound and music in screen media, cult cinema, media technologies, and media industries.