To Cailín Ciúin: “We have failed to fulfill this line in the proclamation on the care of our children”


IT was hailed as one of the best Irish films of all time when it was released this week.

but in fact, A Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) has been making quiet waves since debuting at the Berlin International Film Festival last February. He was awarded two prizes at the renowned film festival.

The Irish-language film swept away at this year’s Irish Film & Television Awards (IFTAs), winning seven awards including Best Director for Colm Bairéad, Best Actress for Catherine Clinch and Best Picture.

Even more impressive is the fact that A Cailín Ciúin cut off Kenneth Branaghs Belfast for the grand prizes.

Bairéad describes the win over the multiple Oscar nominee as “overwhelming”.

“For our literally quiet little film to make so much noise was pretty extraordinary. Certainly not a night we will forget,” added Bairéad.

Much has been made of the fact that the film is in Irish, while the novella (Support financiallyby Claire Keegan) is in English.

Bairéad shot the film in Irish to take advantage of Screen Ireland’s Cine4 programme, TG4 and BAI.

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He also wanted the film to reflect “the limitations of the Irish language” and how “we often fail to use language as a means of expressing how we really feel”.

“I’ve always been aware that I wanted to keep things organic and respect Irish society, to show that it’s not this monolingual world where people speak for no particular reason,” he says.

“My own experience is being raised bilingual and I was interested in adding that structural quality.

“I was also interested in using language as a form of characterization and not just commentary. For example, you have the father figure (played by Michael Patric) who speaks English in the family.

“I like the idea that if you’re not able to communicate in that language, that creates another barrier and so he strives to make a meaningful connection with his kids or his wife.”

Bairéad adds: “I was also interested in the non-verbal. As a filmmaker, I’ll deal with that anyway.

“This is cinema – it’s Hitchcockian. You should be able to understand 90 parts of a film without dialogue. And then there are so many different kinds of silences in the film.

“There is the stillness of shame, the stillness of sorrow, and strangely even the stillness of love that is so difficult for us to say and express to those close to us.”

Bairéad held open auditions, mostly in Gaeltacht areas of Munster, to find his title role. However, it was a tape by a little girl from Rathmines, south Dublin, that stole his (and later the audience’s) heart.

“Cleon [Ní Chrualaoí] The producer, who is also my wife, saw the tape first. She called me and said, ‘Oh my god, you have to see this. This girl is amazing.”

“It was just obvious from the start. She (Catherine Clinch) even recorded in the right rooms in her house, so she took her performance one step further.

“And the beauty of it was that she just had this inwardness that her character was about. That’s what makes them so compelling.

“She just has this extraordinary ability to emote with real strength, and she’s also very careful in a way that’s ideal for this character and her character’s psychological makeup.”

Bairéad talks about how to do the impulse A Cailín Ciúin was to “give a young person a voice at a time when young people often had none”.

He continues, “When we were making the film, we were very aware of the time the film was being made [came from] and this bad story in Ireland in terms of how we have treated our younger citizens.

“We somehow failed to live up to that line in the Irish proclamation of caring for the nation’s children. And while our film isn’t really a critique of institutional abuse or anything like that, I’m still very happy to see that people were very aware that this is the backdrop for our film.”

A Cailín Ciúin is for general release in Irish cinemas.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/an-cailin-ciuin-weve-failed-to-live-up-to-that-line-in-the-proclamation-about-taking-care-of-our-children-41647986.html To Cailín Ciúin: “We have failed to fulfill this line in the proclamation on the care of our children”

Fry Electronics Team

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