1st Edition

The Commitments Youth, Music, and Authenticity in 1990s Ireland

By Nessa Johnston Copyright 2022
    134 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    134 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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.