Director: Colm Barrett| Script: Colm Barrett| Cast: Catherine Clinch (Cáit), Carrie Crowley (Evilín Clinchesalach), Andrew Bennett (Seán Clinchesalach) ea | Time to play: 95 minutes | Year: 2022
With tact and feeling, he enacts Irish drama. the quiet girl the world of a shy nine year old girl. There’s no evidence that director Colm Bairéad is only delivering his first serious feature with this modest but significant coming-of-age story..
The shy Caít is one of the youngest of a family that cannot be counted on the fingers of one hand and whose end is not yet in sight: when the film starts, her mother is pregnant again and it turns out that her father does not have the children. .care that can be expected from him. With summer vacation approaching, Cáit’s responsibility is outsourced: she can turn to a distant cousin and her husband, who give the girl full time and opportunity to develop and slowly come out of her shell.
It takes time to feel at home somewhere, and it’s not just Cáit who accepts the new situation: in a subtle but unmistakable way, Bairéad (who also wrote the screenplay) makes it clear that Eibhlín and Sean have sad pasts. On the estate where Cáit is temporarily allowed to live, memories of the past coincide with heartwarming interactions between the girl and her “second mother.” The hidden protagonist is the house, which radiates both emptiness and warmth.
During a discussion at the Ghent Film Festival, Bairéad explained how he discovered the idyllic filming location (farm, garden and trees). His partner (and producer of the quiet girl), Cleona Ní Chrualaoí, searched Google Earth for remote farms that somewhat fit the desired profile. Luckily the filmmakers headed to a location in County Meath (near Dublin) and actually found the perfect setting for the film. Although Claire Keegan’s adapted story Foster is set in 1981, the found farm could also have moved to the 1950s.
Everything breathes tightness and scarcity in the spaces that have never been renovated: from the checkered kitchen to Cáit’s custom-made bedroom, and the atmosphere in the stables and stables is cold and the paint is peeling. The reduced image format (a nearly square 4:3 frame) reinforces the contrast between the existence within the walls and the forest-green outdoor scenes, and yet the farmhouse never feels like a prison.
“It’s not just about the place, but also about the people who live there,” Bairéad expresses without words. Time and time again he makes Cáit occupy the symmetrical center of the frame, allowing the curious eyes of the silent child to do the talking: Small as her world is in the yard, the love of her surrogate parents makes her slowly bloom. . Catherine Clinch plays the wonderful part of her with few words, her body language does the real work.
Given that Bairéad wouldn’t even have made a movie without this nine-year-old natural, the value of the many visual details can easily be underestimated. For example, the choice of long, still shots suited Cáit’s shy and observant demeanor perfectly, but this stylistic approach was not entirely apparent due to the logistical constraints of the main shooting location. “Let’s take the camera in hand, then we won’t miss anything, is often the thought,” cinematographer Kate McCullough said in an interview. Even in the car (mini version) it twisted in the corners to be able to record with a fixed camera.
The result is a thoughtful and sensitive coming-of-age portrait of childhood vulnerability, which thankfully doesn’t kick too much of the parental nest from which Cáit hails. The inevitable return home, which no longer feels like “home” to Cáit, could have disturbed the film’s calm and non-judgmental tone. The distinction between the two concepts is suddenly emphasized in the final act. In the end, it all comes down to viewers unintentionally starting to compare the concise environment of home to where Cáit hails from.
The sentimental closing images certainly contain a message, but the girl’s most touching expressions don’t point a finger. The creators’ committed approach is too positive for that – it always makes a difference by offering a child a true safe haven.