Remember Baghdad
Responses to Remember Baghdad
"Remember Baghdad is a window on a lost world - Iraq's once vibrant Jewish community - ordinary lives impoverished by politics, intolerance and war. It is also impressive evidence of human determination to keep faith with the past"
IAN BLACK, AUTHOR AND VETERAN MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT FOR THE GUARDIAN
"A great story, brilliantly told. Informative, passionate and with an extraordinary cast of characters. It deserves to win lots of prizes."
JAMES LE FANU, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST FOR THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
"A story you never dreamed existed, by a natural film maker."
RACHEL JOHNSON, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
The Other Irish Travellers
Storyville BBC4
"Fiona Murphy's beautiful film is a softly-spoken elegy to a lost world. The "Other Travellers" refer to the descendants of Protestants who settled in Ireland in the 1660s in the wake of Cromwell's invasion. They became what Murphy calls "the bad guys of Irish storybooks", toffs abroad who ended up living the lives of isolated and increasingly impoverished English gentry, until the were ejected. Murphy herself is the daughter of one such family, and in this film she returns to the family home in Mayo with her father, uncles and aunts who look back on their extraordinary upbringing in a house with more conflicted loyalties than mod cons."
THE TIMES: PICK OF THE DAY
"Catch it if you can! Quite the best documentary of the year, Storyville: The Other Irish Travellers (BBC4) concerned 85-year-old poet Richard Murphy and his four siblings as they recalled growing up in Milford, a country house in Count Mayo that had been in their Anglo-Irish family since the late 17th Century. Filmed, edited and directed by Richard's niece, Londoner Fiona Murphy, this worked marvellously as social and political history while also managing to be an affectionate portrait of her father, two uncles and two aunts, four of whom revisited the scene for the occasion. I only wish I had the space to do it justice, but BBC4 has the good habit of rescreening its programmes, so you can watch out for it in the schedules. Try not to miss it"
IRISH INDEPENDENT
"Fiona Murphy’s poignant film addresses a little-visited subject: Anglo-Irish Protestants. Her own ancestors claimed in the unhappiest of circumstances in the years after Oliver Cromwell’s wretched reconquering of Ireland in 1649. For her father and his four siblings, Ireland was both a place of wild romance and pigs in the parlour, while England represented sophistication, education and all they were supposed to aspire to. In a moving account of a search for belonging and identity, it is clear the conflicted upbringing has remained with them all."
THE SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE
"The ruling castes of empires are not always sympathetic characters, but they usually have a story to tell. Here, Fiona Murphy explores a rarely romanticized variety of Irish history – that of, as she puts it, “landed Protestants who spoke with English accents”. Murphy knows them well; despite her definitively Irish name, she’s descended from them, and quite recently. She takes her father and his four siblings back to the estate in County Mayo which the family left in the 1930s, when their kind became unwelcome in the newly independent Ireland. A thoughtful personalising of history"
THE GUARDIAN GUIDE: PICK OF THE DAY
"A small, careful look back at the expulsion of the Anglo-Irish Protestant gentry from Ireland, described as ‘a polite version of ethnic cleansing.’ It’s also a portrait of a family, as film-maker Fiona Murphy follows her dad back to the old family estate."
DAILY MAIL WEEKENDER: PICK
"No burly, tattooed men beating the shit out of each other here, thank goodness.
This 'Storyville' is an altogether different kind of documentary, focusing on the Murphy family; part of the Anglo-Irish diaspora, who hung on in County Mayo as the British Empire crumbled about them. Essentially, this is a film about identity and paradox. These were posh, educated Brits with no money: too Irish to fit in easily at the English public schools to which they were sent; too English not to be intimidated by the occasionally hostile locals as the world changed and independence became inevitable. Director Fiona Murphy is clearly devoted to both her quirky family and the land that sustained them - the result is a film that feels equal parts ramshackle, rambling, charming and profound."
TIME OUT
"An idiosyncratic, subtle and beautifully shot film about the decline of
the Imperial-minded Irish Ascendancy"
ROY FOSTER
"A fascinating film. I was riveted by it, both by the content and the
comparisons to my own family"
LADY ANTONIA FRASER
"A vanished world wonderfully portrayed, lyrical and honest."
FERGAL KEANE