Urban Spatial Practise in Donal Foreman’s Out of Here (2014)
Trinity College Dublin
(at time of presentation)
Deirdre Molumby is a MLitt Film Studies student in Trinity College Dublin. Her research topic is Urban Masculinity in Recent Irish Film and Television. Last year, Deirdre’s work was presented at the Postgraduate Research Showcase in Trinity and at Discover Research Dublin. Last November, Deirdre presented a paper at the New England American Conference for Irish Studies at University of New Haven, Connecticut. Her work has been published in Estudios Irlandeses and she has also contributed to IFTN (the Irish Film and Television Network). She is a film journalist for Film Ireland and Scannain, and is co-editor for Features on acisweb.org. In May, Deirdre will present a paper on Gender in Post Crash Irish Film at a conference in Hong Kong, and in June she will present at the conference Precarious Subjects in Trinity.
The film relates the story of Art college dropout Ciaran (Fionn Walton), who has returned home to Dublin after travelling abroad. With its minimalist plot, low budget means of production, and focus on young people who are hesitant to mature into adulthood, Out of Here draws much from the ‘mumblecore’ film aesthetic. Like the characters of mumblecore, Ciaran’s status is one of ‘liminality’ (being ‘in between’), which is also expressed spatially in the film.
Out of Here reflects on lost Irish youth during the recession. As would be typical of the period, Ciaran lives at home and is financially dependent on his parents. Interestingly though, he does not express frustration at these circumstances. In fact, Ciaran speaks little at all. Instead, he spends a great deal of time simply walking around Dublin’s city centre in a seemingly aimless way.
In my paper, I argue that this act of walking is the key to understanding subconscious processes of identification at work in the character. I explore the implications of subjective spatial practise, a mode of interaction between individual and space which involves spatial appropriation through walking. I contend that in the film, the protagonist utilises the city to find a means of agency where the domestic space has rendered him disempowered. While urban spatial practise author-ises Ciaran, in the end, the character comes to instead embrace a space of liminality which is inherent to the film’s genre roots.