THE Broadway Cinema, an immensely popular venue in the centre of Nottingham, is an oasis of culture and cinematic glory.
First generation Irish woman Caroline Hennigan, the cinema’s programme planner, invited Carlow-born Loughborough University Irish literature lecturer Deirdre O’Byrne to speak at a special screening of the Irish language film An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl).
The film is a masterful creation of contemporary Irish cinema. Set in rural Ireland, the story focuses on a quiet, neglected girl sent away from her dysfunctional and poor family to live with foster parents for the summer.
She blossoms in their care, but in this house she discovers a secret,
The film leads on with an enthralling narrative.
Directed by Colm Bairéad, An Cailín Ciúin is based on the novella Foster by Claire Keegan.
The lead role in the film, Cáit, is played by Catherine Clinch; it seems very likely we will hear more about her in the cinema world very soon. She is already being spoken about as “the next Saoirse Ronan”.
But every cast member in the film delivered creditable performances and for me Kate McCullough brought her cinematography talent to a new height.
When you hear audience members audibly reacting to a scene with a collective “Oh no!” you know you’re part of a brilliant storytelling collaboration — with words from the author and the skills of the film and cinematography directors to give them life.
The Broadway Cinema is a pioneer in showcasing ‘foreign films’ and I have enjoyed many an introduction to world cinema there — using subtitles, of course. An Cailín Ciúin based in Co. Waterford with its Gaeltacht area in Ring was the same. With my albeit limited ability to understand spoken Irish, I was able to follow some of the dialogue as it wasn’t rushed — but the subtitles certainly helped.
Before the screening, Deirdre O’Byrne told the audience that the film resonated greatly with her, echoing Irish rural life as depicted by writers like John McGahern .
The film is also close in genre to Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls. Deirdre wonders if the title was chosen to remind us of another Universal Studios classic The Quiet Man — is Cáit mirroring Kate Danagher’s quest to establish her rights?
When Cáit did speak she delivered her lines with innocence and pathos. The following almost brought me to tears: “Mam won £10 on the sweepstake, so we had jelly.”
The film is at selected cinemas nationwide.