Irish Film Festival: Wildfire

 

This year’s Irish Film Festival Australia will offer audiences across Australia a stimulating line-up of feature films and documentaries.

Due to the pandemic, the Festival has had to remain online for the second consecutive year.

Enthuses Irish Film Festival director Dr Enda Murray: “We have a cracker of a line-up with seven Australian premieres, including hilarious comedies, award-winning drama, sports and musical documentaries, and the voices of women coming through loud and clear.”

Festival award-winners including stunning animation from Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon,  Wolfwalkers, and  Cathy Brady‘s feature debut, Wildfire (see Ros‘s review below) for which she won Best Director at this year’s Irish Film & Television Awards, where Nika McGuigan was post-humously awarded Best Actress.

The Festival includes two documentaries which explore two of Ireland’s top singer/songwriters, and black comedy Deadly Cuts by director Rachel Carey.

And there’s much more. For programme details head to www.irishfilmfestival.com.au

 

 

Set in a small town near the Northern Ireland border, Wildfire is a powerful and engrossing story of the bond between two sisters, reunited when one returns after a year’s absence.

The story could be seen as a modern reflection of the traumatic history of Ireland.

The opening credits are shown with a background of the Troubles outside Belfast, and the lead-up to the forming of Brexit – and the film opens with back-packing Kelly (brilliantly played by Danika McGuigan) on a cargo ship returning to Ireland. On arrival she is strip-searched and told that she has been listed as missing, and that people are concerned about her.

 

 

She has been on the road for a year, after the death of her mother who suffered from mental illness and who died in rather mysterious circumstances in a car crash. Her father was killed in a terrorist explosion, and the orphaned sisters were cared for by their aunt Victoria (Kate Dickie).

Hitching a ride in a truck Kelly arrives at night at the home of her sister and wakes her brother-in-law Sean (Martin McCann). Her sister Lauren (talented look-alike, Nora-Jane Noone) is at work in an Amazon type warehouse.

 

The sisters were born less than a year apart and look like twins. They have a life-long bond and dependency on each other, and It seems they have trans-generational sycosis inherited from their mother – Kelly the more wilful and impulsive. Both have disturbing memories of their mother (shown in flashbacks) and their behaviour causes concern with family and friends.

The actors are a perfect foil for each other as they face their shared past and become increasingly wrapped up in each other. The chemistry between them is extraordinary – almost like lovers at times.

 

 

In her first Indie feature director/writer Cathy Brady has made a film, heady with atmosphere and raw emotion. It is dedicated to Danika McGuigan who at 33, died from cancer two years ago, while the film was in post-production.

Cathy Brady won Best Director at the Irish Film and Television Awards this year, and Danika Mc Guigan won Best Actress posthumously.

 

Watch the trailer…

 

 

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