BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 13 – 28 October 2010
Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s compelling and deeply moving documentary follows a campaign trying to prevent Shell lay a pipeline in county Mayo.
When it was discovered that there was a reserve of 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas 80km off the west coast of Ireland, a consortium led by Shell developed plans to lay a pipeline into County Mayo, through the village of Rossport. Without having been consulted in the planning process, the small farming and fishing community objected, fearing the risk of environmental damage, and understandably keen to protect their land, fishing grounds and, indeed, their very way of life. Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s compelling, moving film followed the campaign against Shell over four years. There are disturbing scenes of Irish Garda being deployed to remove protestors and drag people to jail; and implications that the Irish government is backing Shell, motivated by economic greed. Tension mounts when the protestors disagree on the best way to take Shell on, and individuals feel compelled to take increasingly more desperate action. Ultimately, The Pipe serves as a stirring tribute to the brave men and women fighting for their rights, and standing up to a corporate giant. Yet there’s poignancy, too, as its inhabitants accept, whether Shell stay or go, Rossport will never be the same again.