Bernadette presents an unravelling , open-ended story of the female Irish dissident and political activist, Bernadette Devlin. Duncan Campbell is interested in fusing documentary and fiction in order to assess both the subject matter and the mode of communicating it.
‘Documentary is a peculiar form of fiction. It has the appearance of verity grounded in many of the same formal conventions of fiction–narrative drive, linear plot, and closure. Yet, the relationship between author/subject/audience is rarely investigated in the same way as it is in meta-fiction. I want to faithfully represent Devlin, to do justice to her legacy. Yet what I am working with, are already mediated images and writings about her. What I produce can only ever be a selection of these representations, via my own obsessions and my desire to make engaging art of her. My film is an admission of limitation, but I have too much respect for Devlin for it to be an expression of nihilism or irony. I am striving for what Samuel Beckett terms, “a form that accommodates the mess”. I want to broaden the scope of the film to include this space and tension, which is typically excluded or concealed, and that is the reason for the overlapping strands in the film…’ DC.