Hush-A-Bye-Baby

An overview of Derry Film & Video's first feature

Seminal to film making in Northern Ireland was Derry director Margot Harkin’s Hush-A-Bye-Baby. The film dealt with teenage pregnancy in Derry and the social mores thus contravened.

The idea for ‘Hush-A-Bye-Baby’, Derry Film & Video’s first feature film, was conceived as early as 1984 following a series of shocking scandals which surfaced in the Irish media that year. These included the case of Anne Lovett, a fifteen year old schoolgirl who died giving birth to a baby in a field in Granard, Co. Westmeath and the case of Joanne Hayes who was falsely accused by Gardai of the murder of her baby in Cahirsaveen, Co. Kerry.

The script was developed out of a process of drama workshops with local young people over a two year period and through the experience of pregnancy outside marriage.

The film’s central protaganist, Goretti Friel, is one of four fifteen year old disco hopping girlfriends who have an intense interest in boys. She begins to date Ciaran who is subsequently jailed by the British Army. Goretti Friel finds herself pregnant and is later rejected by her imprisoned boyfriend. The film, which has won awards worldwide, is a powerful examination of female adolescence and reveals the tension between the young women’s Catholic upbringing and the dilemma over the unwanted pregnancy.

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