‘Promise and Unrest’ chronicles a migration story of maternal sacrifice and love labour. Separated from her daughter Gracelle at 7 months, Noemi Barredo left the Philippines for work in Malaysia to support her parents and extended family before arriving in Ireland in 2001. Filmed over a five-year period Promise and Unrest is an ethnographic portrayal of a migrant woman performing caregiving and long-distance motherhood, while assuming the responsibility of sole provider for her family back in the Philippines. Dublin may be a long way from Noemi’s hometown of Babatngon, yet she retains a sharp eye on the welfare of her family, attentive to a range of small businesses she has financed, paying for the education of her daughter and son, medication for her terminally ill father and her sister’s nursing degree. Through the camera lens, home video footage and mother-daughter scripted voice-over narration, the film captures the material and emotional dimensions of global care work, the transnational reach of Noemi and Gracelle’s relationship situated in a wider familial context, together with their reunion in Ireland and the beginnings of a domestic life together in the same country for the first time.
Aine O'Brien is Head, Department of Media Technologies, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. Her work moves fluidly between documentary production and critical written engagement with visual epistemology and ethno-graphic method. She is currently researching and co-directing with Alan Grossman an ethnographic documentary on the subject of migrant Eastern European Jewish labour practices in Dublin in the early 1900.
Alan Grossman is a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Media Technologies, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. He has a longstanding visual ethnographic involvement with the cultural politics of migration and diasporic formations in a variety of transnational contexts.