- 06 Sep 18
I, Dolours is a complex and uncomfortable film about IRA woman Dolours Price.
In 2010, Dolours Price agreed to be interviewed by a journalist, Ed Moloney, but only on the condition that the interview not be released until after her death. That would come just three years later, when she overdosed on prescription pills. Price had struggled with her mental health for some time; she suffered from PTSD and addiction. Given the circumstances, her desire to tell her story takes on a tragic tone that’s captured in the film’s title; that of a confessional or last testament.
This interview becomes the centre of I, Dolours, which reveals Price’s devotion to the IRA, and her role in both the bombing of the Old Bailey in 1973 and the kidnap and murder of Jean McConville; a tragedy that became emblematic of the death and destruction caused by the Troubles. Sweeney switches between the interview footage and recreations of Price’s memories, as told, giving the film a dreamlike quality – though the violence of these recollections turns nightmarish.
Price recounts her upbringing in West Belfast in a staunchly republican household. As a teen, her idealism and commitment to republicanism led her to join the IRA, where she undertook a series of increasingly unpalatable tasks, including ferrying informers across the border to be killed.
Price is fascinating and self-assured, unflinchingly revealing secrets about how the IRA operated. But her endurance of humiliation and force-feeding by prison officers during a hunger strike also reveals her vulnerabilities – which led to PTSD and anorexia later in life. Complex, deeply uncomfortable and endlessly compelling, this is a film about history seen from the perspective of a fascinating woman. It makes excellent if troubling viewing.