A former IRA member's story comes to vivid, brutal life in Maurice Sweeney’s hybrid documentary
I, DOLOURS (Maurice Sweeney, Ireland). 82 minutes. Rating: NNNN
In 2010, journalist Ed Moloney sat down with former IRA member Dolours Price for a wide-ranging interview – under the condition that it be locked away until after Price’s death.
Price died in 2013, and now Maurice Sweeney’s hybrid documentary illustrates that conversation with elaborate re-enactments to create a decades-spanning study of what it meant – and what it cost – to be a Republican in Northern Ireland.
The bulk of the film is composed of those re-enactments, in which Price and her sister and comrade Marian are played by Lorna Larkin and Gail Brady, respectively. I’m usually put off by re-creations in documentaries, but the stylistic choices Sweeney makes allow us to understand that we’re seeing an interpretation of Price’s memories rather than a strict factual accounting.
It’s an important distinction, and one that works very well. I, Dolours brings Price’s story – which included seven years in an English prison for the 1973 bombing of the Old Bailey – to vivid, brutal life.