Opening with a quote from Lamentations ‘How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people’ and the melody of Londonderry Air (more recognisable to many as the tune of Danny Boy), this expository documentary is an early collaboration between Terence McDonald and John Hume, based on Hume’s research towards his 1964 thesis on the city of Derry (later published as Derry Beyond the Walls, 2002).
By focusing on Derry’s economic and social history, the film explores the divisions between the Catholic/working class and Protestant/merchant class communities. Multiple locations within the city feature, from the Bogside to the Waterside, which are captured on black and white 16mm film. While problems including demoralising unemployment, overcrowded housing conditions and disparities in living standards are described as plaguing the soul of the city, this film ends on a hopeful note that the hardworking people may be able to unite and build the bridge for Derry’s future.
This film is part of The Terence McDonald Collection. To watch more of the collection click here.