If These Walls Could Talk

Short Film, Documentary, F-Rated
Directed by:
Anna Rodgers
Produced by:
Siobhán Ward


13 mins
English with English subtitles

IFTA-winning director Anna Rodgers highlights the plight of those who suffered and died in Dublin’s old psychiatric institutions.  

Opening with a quotation from Sebastian Barry’s novel The Secret Scripture, in which the main character is a resident in a Roscommon mental institution, the film takes us on a haunting tour of a vast and desolate  building, once an Irish asylum. The voices of former residents describe their experience recounting their loneliness and suffering, and the harsh practice of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Their recollectionsreveal how people were committed and shed light on the social, economic and political factors that lead to their admission. The decision to feature voices and not faces allows the residents to maintain their anonymity. 

This film won the IFI’s Best Short at the Stranger Than Fiction Awards (now IFI Documentary Festival) and Best Documentary at the Kerry Film Festival in 2010.  Two of director Anna Rodgers’ other films can be viewed on the IFI Archive Player: Novena and Hold On Tight.

This film is part of F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women. To view more from the collection click here.

Bonus Content