Search icon

Movies & TV

08th Aug 2018

A new Irish documentary about the aftermath of the Troubles is attracting rave reviews

Kate Demolder

A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot is set for nationwide cinema release on 14 September.

An extraordinary new documentary exploring the prolonged effects of the Troubles in Derry, written and directed by Sinéad O’Shea, sets out to explore the question, ‘what causes a Derry mother to bring her son to be shot?’

“One night in 2012, Majella O’Donnell took her teenage son Philly to a laneway near to her home to be shot in the legs by local gunmen,” the film’s blurb reads.

“Majella, her son and the gunmen are all part of the dissident community in Derry, Northern Ireland. The Troubles in Northern Ireland was supposed to have ended in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, but this community does not accept the government or police. To them, the war is not over, even as family life continues.

“In the absence of a normal relationship with the police, dissident Republicans step in to combat a perceived drug epidemic with their own brutal form of justice. Majella was faced with an agonising choice: cooperate with a punishment shooting or risk even worse consequences for her son.”

Clip via CAT&Docs 

The documentary was filmed over five years by renowned journalist Sinead O’Shea, whose work has previously been featured on Al Jazeera English and Channel 4 and in The Irish Times, The New York Times and The Guardian.

A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot has been described by Screen International as “fascinating and gutsy” and by RTÉ as “shocking but unexpectedly humorous”.

It’s understood that her aim is to create profound empathy, making you question how you would have acted, even as you watch the drama unfold.

Speaking to JOE about the new film’s highly anticipated release, O’Shea said: “I’m very pleased that the documentary will be reaching a wider audience during our Irish cinema release.

“It’s had such a strong reaction at festivals at home and abroad and I’d really like more people to have the opportunity to see it here. It’s been a fascinating if tough journey for the last five years from my first meeting with Majella to getting the film finished,” O’Shea continued.

“A Mother Brings her Son to be Shot is a very shocking story that hinges on the agonising decision that Majella had to make for her son yet it’s also a warm, funny and intimate family portrait with some unforgettable characters.

“I’ve made films all over the world but I’ve never encountered a community like this before.”

A Mother Brings her Son to be Shot is set for nationwide release on 14 September.

A ticketed Q&A event is also available with Sinead O’Shea after the opening night at the Light House Cinema, Dublin and in the Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast. Tickets are available here.

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge