When there's no place to call home
On set with Rosie
40 CinÉireann / Issue 9
We arrive at midday on a crisp March day to a nondescript West Dublin hotel, where CinEireann has been invited on set to see Paddy Breathnach and crew film some key scenes for his latest drama on the homelessness crisis, Rosie.
We are ushered into a remote corner of the hotel where Breathanch, DoP Cathal Watters and their camera crew are lighting an elevator lobby for a scene that involves the entire Davis-Brady family, led by Sarah Greene's Rosie and Moe Dunford's John Paul, exiting and moving down the hall.
Multiple camera positions and lighting decisions are enacted as Breathnach resets and films over and over until they have the perfect scene. Then the cast and crew pack up and decamp to the floor below to set up for another key scene in this unfolding drama.
As cast, crew, and us bystanders are moving around the hotel from location to location it becomes increasingly obvious that this is still very much a working hotel ,and that the film is a temporary interloper. Porters and cleaners bustle about their business as equipment and technicians try to take up as little room as possible in the long corridors.
We now find ourselves outside the door of the room in which the family has spent the first frantic night in the film, a room with three beds where 2 parents and four children get to spend one night with all of the worldly possessions that will fit inside their car.
Rosie, the film , is the story of 36 hours in the life of a Dublin family who find themselves without a permanent residence. As the titular Rosie says "Not homeless. We never use that word". Their home is in the process of being sold by their landlord, and despite John Paul's full-time position in the kitchen of a higher-end restaurant, they find themselves victims of circumstance, unable to afford to buy the house in which they've lived for many years and unable further to find a place to rent in the increasingly narrowing rental property market in Ireland's capital. This forces them to pack their dog and most of their belongings for storage in a family member's small apartment and fit their necessaries into their MPV that has become their ark. All the while life goes on, kids need to be brought to school, John Paul needs to work, and Rosie needs to find a place for one night or more as she tries to hold her family together against increasingly difficult odds. Small everyday occurrences become huge dilemmas. Things as simple as their youngest daughter needed to pee
Words: Niall Murphy