What economic, physical, psychological and social impacts do borders have on people?
“Brexit Pain at the Irish Border” is a seven-minute film that touches on themes of identity, politics and history. It profiles residents, including teenagers, who live along the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, which belongs to the European Union. The film explores the history of the Irish border and the rearing of its painful legacy amid the British exit from the European Union.
1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.
2. After watching, think about these questions:
• What moments in this film stood out for you? Why?
• Were there any surprises? Anything that challenged what you know — or thought you knew?
• What messages, emotions or ideas will you take away from this film? Why?
• What questions do you still have?
3. An additional challenge: What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?
4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)
5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.
6. To learn more, read “Amid Brexit Strains, Anglo-Irish Relations Are ‘Fraying’.” Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura writes:
When he crossed into Northern Ireland recently, Patrick O’Reilly felt his body tense up, a feeling that was once all-too familiar but that he thought would never return. Yet now, the fear and anxiety were creeping back, like a long-lost relative suddenly appearing out of nowhere, looking for trouble.
Mr. O’Reilly blames Britain for stirring up those grievances. Its expected departure — possibly a messy one — from the European Union, known as Brexit, is reopening old wounds and resentments in Ireland against its former colonial master.
“The British,” said Mr. O’Reilly, a retired pub manager, as he wove back and forth across the barely detectable border in his car, “are about to kick us in the teeth again.”
In the tortured history between the two island nations, Brexit is just the latest in a long line of perceived slights the Irish have suffered at the hands of the British. And now, with the possible exception of Britain, no country stands to lose more from Brexit, and particularly from a damaging “no-deal” departure, than Ireland.
• See all the films in this series.
• Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.
• Our next Film Club will take place on Thursday, March 21.