A couple weeks back, I watched the art documentary I Am Belfast. Though I’d never heard the term before, I understood after a few minutes of watching what makes an “art documentary” different from a regular documentary. I Am Belfast had fewer hard facts and more emotional impressions of the city the director (Mark Cousins) spent 20 years of his life in and is still incredibly fond of. The film’s narration was more of a conversation between Cousins and an old woman who played the role of the city. We’re taken to intersections, the sites of bombings, commemorative murals, and places where the Protestant streets end and the Catholic streets begin. We’re shown how things have changed, and told about the times that needed changing. The film shares anecdotes of the city’s past, and a possible vision of the future when the last bigot finally dies. It was…interesting. It’s obvious that Cousins still feels a lot of love for Belfast despite having left it — in fact he may feel so much precisely because he has left it (expat feelings…) — but I think I prefer the objectivity typical of your standard documentary.
All that aside, my absolute FAVORITE part of this movie was when Cousins chatted with two older ladies named Rosie and Maud. I can’t remember which was which, but those women were a TRIP. Especially the one who used the word “fuck” at least once in every sentence.
“I met this f***in’ Yank. He took me out & got me drunk. He put me in a f***in’ taxi. When I got home, I opened the f***in’ door and fell out of the f***in’ car. My mam was like ‘The f**k’s wrong with you?’ and I was all ‘No! I’m fine! I’m fine!’ and me mam beat the f***in’ head o’ me. Then she said to my brother, ‘Get ‘er in the f***in’ house’.” This is my approximation of a story she told Mark Cousins. I probably didn’t get all the details exactly right, but this is the gist of that particular tale. It basically sealed her status as my hero for life.
Her friend was married and she wasn’t — she never married — but she had a common law husband. She said never having married technically means she’s “still a virgin,” and if someone wants to come handle that, they can. She said they wouldn’t need no “umbrella” neither. XD
Her friend said the reason she married her husband is b/c he had black hair & reminded her of Elvis. One lady’s Catholic, the other is Protestant, and they’ve been friends for seven years. It may make me an immature jerk, but my biggest takeaway from I Am Belfast was that I wanna be like Rosie & Maud when I grow up.
Seen any good art documentaries lately?
Happy Friday, y’all!