reviews

Duncan Campbell, The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy, 2016, HD video, black and white, sound, 31 minutes.

Duncan Campbell

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Duncan Campbell, The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy, 2016, HD video, black and white, sound, 31 minutes.

Duncan Campbell’s breakthrough film, the remarkable mini-documentary Bernadette, 2008, is an inventively intimate portrait of a public figure. Focusing on the life of left-wing activist and politician Bernadette Devlin—a magnetic, motivating presence in the Northern Irish civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s—Campbell constructed an unorthodox, and perversely intrusive, style of filmic biography. Principally assembled from fragments of news footage, Bernadette shows its young protagonist (born in 1947) rallying crowds and railing against authority with astonishing, beyond-her-years composure and off-the-cuff oratorical flair. But bookending this pacey, cut-up compilation of interviews and public speeches are two strange, newly produced sequences that point, by contrast, to moments of fraught privacy. In these “faked” passages, Campbell pushes the apparent

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