"Man," the 2001 short Irish film, is now available to stream for free on the Irish Film Institute's IFI Archive Player.

Opening with a quotation from feminist intellectual Simone de Beauvoir -  "one is not born a woman, one becomes one" -  this arresting compendium of portraits presents a boldly female gaze, in both the gaze of director Emer Reynolds and in the frank to-camera gaze of the women who are her subjects.

More than 60 headshots of women are presented from infancy to old age, alone and in clusters, friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters, within a perfectly paced three minutes.

This film was one of the Irish Film Board’s (now Screen Ireland’s) Short Shorts Films Series, designed to promote ingenuity in creating mini-narratives. Emer Reynolds, now an internationally renowned feature director (The Farthest, Song for While I’m Away), then an esteemed film editor, packs her three minutes with heft and beauty.

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

The "F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women" collection at the Irish Film Institute

F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women presents a varied series of stories told through the prism of the female gaze. The films are drawn from collections preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. The F-rating, which tags films written or directed by women, is used by exhibitors such as the IFI to promote films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera. This collection brings together 36 films made by Irish women over four decades. Many of the films are written by women; all are directed by women. It includes drama and documentary; live action and animation; films made with generous support and films made on a shoestring; films in Irish and films in English (one in Polish, one in Ukrainian); independent films that were seen by few, and films that garnered global attention, Academy Awards and BAFTAs. 

The short form has traditionally proved more accessible for women filmmakers, and so, despite their underrepresentation in the catalogue of mainstream feature film, women’s stories have been told over the past 40 years. Many of the stories presented here subvert mainstream male-dominated narratives and present alternative perspectives that are fresh and reflective of the lived experience of women in Irish society. 

We invite you to explore this powerful collection, which shows the evolution of Irish filmmaking and indeed of Irish society itself, as interpreted by Irish women filmmakers over the past four decades. 

Programme notes for F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women have been prepared with the assistance of UCD interns Rachel Cahill and Rebekah Ryan.

"Man" is published here with thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI), who IrishCentral has partnered up with throughout 2022 to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collection entails. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.

To watch more historic Irish footage, visit the IFI Archive Player, the Irish Film Institute’s virtual viewing room that provides audiences around the globe free, instant access to Irish heritage preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. Irish Culture from the last century is reflected through documentaries, animation, adverts, amateur footage, feature films, and much more. You can also download the IFI Archive Player Apps for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

IrishCentral has partnered up with the IFI throughout 2022 to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collections entail. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.