Home » Berlinale opens with Irish drama “Small Things Like These”

Berlinale opens with Irish drama “Small Things Like These”

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Berlinale opens with Irish drama “Small Things Like These”

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Cillian Murphy inaugurates the Berlinale: the famous Irish actor is the protagonist of “Small Things Like These”, a film by Tim Mielants which was chosen to open the 74th edition of this year’s festival.
After the extraordinary success of “Oppenheimer”, Murphy returns to the big screen in a decidedly busy role.

The actor plays the role of Bill Furlong, a coal trader and loving father of five daughters, who lives with his family in an Irish village. During the Christmas period of 1985, the man discovers some secrets concerning the convent in his city and which will bring him back to confront his traumatic past.

Case Magdalene

At the basis of “Small Things Like These” is the novel of the same name by Claire Keegan, an Irish writer born in 1968 whose works the world of cinema had already drawn from for “The Quiet Girl”, a 2022 film which was nominated for the Oscar for best international feature film. Both the novel and the film thus go back in time to take up the theme of the Magdalene Houses, women’s institutions managed on behalf of the Irish government by nuns belonging to various Catholic orders. The aim was apparently to reform “lost young women”, but the treatment suffered by girls within these spaces was often appalling and they were exploited for very unspiritual matters.

Peter Mullan had also expressed himself on the same theme with his film “Magdalene”, winner of the Golden Lion at the 2002 Venice Film Festival, but we can also mention, among the titles relating to the topic, “Philomena” by Stephen Frears.

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A well written character

In addition to the historical-political context that is told, the character of the protagonist is equally fundamental in this film, well written and well played by Murphy, who tries to shed light on the truth while at the same time remaining focused on his family. His desire to opposing injustice goes hand in hand with his attention towards the most needy people, as is told from the very first sequences. If his gestures are capable of offering food for thought, more didactic is the constant use of editing that alternates his adult life with his childhood: the recent discoveries have reawakened the memories of a tragedy experienced as a child, but the flashbacks are quite telephonic and do not always have the necessary strength to be able to shake as they would like.

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