WE DID WHAT HAD TO BE DONE
A centuries-long conflict in Ireland that had led the country to be divided into a southern and northern part in 1921 escalated in 1969. Republican-Catholics entered armed battle with the Unionist-Protestants. Thousands of people lost their lives. Women are invisible in the historical documentation of this conflict. Directors Friederike Berat and Ulrike Ertl tell these women´s stories. They visit those who fought on both sides and record the interviews on camera. "Without the women the war could not have happened!" says Veronica. She describes the women´s involvement in the conflict as an emancipatory undertaking, an opportunity to expand their existence as housewives with the dimension of struggle. Not all interview partners share this view, the memories of the "troubles" are diverse, thus forming a dynamic picture of the events. They tell of the political influence that shapes world views on both sides already in childhood, they offer different estimations of women´s status in the conflict, they find words for mourning, trauma, and the effects of (domestic) violence, and they describe a hopeful environment in which women take the initiative, reconcile with the opposing side, and thereby speak out in favor of opening socio-economic perspectives for young people.
In addition to the talks, information is inserted into the calm atmospheric images and booming archive footage of the "troubles" thus making the political climate in Belfast tangible. In the montage of the protagonists´ reports, the dry statement, "We did what had to be done," transforms into a dynamic, feminist historical document of the times. (Melanie Letschnig)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt