With their second feature film, Mister John, due out in September 2013 here's a look back at Joe Lawlor's and Christine Malloy's previous film Helen.

an interview with the


An interview with Joe Lawlor and Christine Malloy at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2008.

Writhing on the couch across the table from me a small girl lets out an outrageous yawn. So much for my riveting interview technique. She’s clearly had a busy couple of days being carted around Edinburgh helping to present her parent’s new film. Mum and Dad, known to everyone else as Joe Lawlor and Christine Malloy, are at the Edinburgh Film Festival with their first feature film, Helen.

Following the pair’s series of award winning short films (called Civic Life) that started with Who Killed Brown Owl, Helen is an ambitious step up on many levels. It makes the most of a sparse idea creating a deeply thoughtful debut. It’s also a feature film made for peanuts from regional funding body money which has had marked implications on the film. Thematically it has similarities with the Frank Guerin film A Summer Day, where a French town reacts to the sudden death of a popular teenager.

The title character Helen (played by newcomer Annie Townsend) is an orphan about to turn 18 who takes part in a murder re-enactment. In the expected narrative style she takes the chance to be someone else a little too far. Donning the garish yellow jacket of the missing girl she starts to inhabit aspects of the other life as she contemplates her own. (more…)

19 August 2013

Wait til you hear this: the films of Lucy Walker25 October 2012

Blindsight opens with the statement that a blind man attempted to climb Mount Everest in 2001. It then fades to black... We hear footfalls crunching through snow. A calm yet breathless voice tells us that a large crevice lies ahead. There’s a ladder bridging it. Vitally, it leans to the left. ...our vision is then restored looking straight down between the feet of Erik Weihenmayer into the depths below. It’s a simple trick but an effective one. It also captures something of documentary maker Lucy Walker’s ability to sell an idea. You feel as if you are there. (more…)

Desperately seeking sensation: the films of David Mackenzie16 July 2012

It’s silly and barely credible and probably half an idea which simply won’t shift, but water trickles between David Mackenzie’s feature films. It drenches his characters, it drowns some of them, it soothes them, it flows past others, it provides status to a couple of them, and generally gushes out in some fashion or another. Admittedly this might be a specious theme to point out. Anyone making films might conceivably run their camera past some water on a blue planet. Maybe it just rains a lot in Mackenzie’s home country of Scotland. (more…)

border shocked: the films of ben hopkins25 April 2012

Characters in a Ben Hopkins film tend to be shocked. They may not realise it but they will. His films hinge upon exchange or trade in an ever changing world. People try to cope with disruption only to realise that something much bigger is going on instead, be it technological, political or otherwise. Typically it crushes them. Having made three longer documentaries and three feature films, Hopkins is a particular example of the transnational filmmaker travelling the world much like Michael Winterbottom, Alejandro González Iñárritu or Werner Herzog; Herzog particularly for telling his stories through both fiction and documentary. More so than these though, Hopkins seems fascinated with national borders and people frittering through and around them. (more…)

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