CinÉireann Issue 9 - Page 49

CinÉireann / Issue 9 49

And I think being around women would have been really interesting and suddenly she's thrust back into the world that she lived in growing up. And forced into a relationship and burdened by the pressures of her family, but also this relationship. And that happens more often than not. It has happened for years, women or men getting into relationships that they are not really that keen on. It's society or it's convenient. "Maybe I should, he's not a bad guy..." and actually she says no and that's amazing.

Do you see the tides shifting? Are you getting better scripts?

I think so. I think tides are shifting, but I think it's going to take a few years. I think that tides are shifting and there's already amazing women out there as screenwriters or directors or elsewhere behind the camera. So they are getting more opportunities now. They are being listened to more. And the work is being accepted more. So yes it is changing. It's just going to be another few years before we really feel the change.

This is your first film with Ole Bratt Birkeland. And you seem to have set the camera either too high or too low. It's off-kilter. Was that a decision that came from you or from him?

Lenny Abrahamson: We talked a lot about that. We did a lot of planning and we watched a load of stuff and we talked and talked and talked. But actually what always seems to happen with me, is that once I start shooting, the real language of the film reveals itself over the first few days. So some of the ideas that we had going in really set and we kept with, but we also discovered, particularly with Domhnall's character, that he would always be filmed quite a lot from above. Just subtly above eye-line and that created a feeling because you are with Faraday. He is the protagonist, he is the person who brings you into the film, into the story, that you are also being encouraged to just be a little bit aware of Faraday as something, as a person that is hard to pin down. And not being on the eye-level, being slightly above the eye-level, just allowed him to be distanced from us, as well as not breaking away from him as the central character.

You also use shallow focus when the

camera become hand-held and a

little less sure.

There's a use of very shallow depth of field for particular moments in the film. Again that was something that became something, that when we found it, felt really right. And then we used it sparingly and it has a big impact in the film I think when you go to that shallow focus. It puts you inside Faraday's head in a way that I think that probably for a general audience they don't know that's what is doing it, but you just feel like you are inside his subjective experience.

The book is from his point of view and he is the narrator...

He's an odd narrator. We had to find an equivalent for that.

How do you feel that your style has evolved over the years?

It's always a difficult thing I think for a person to judge themselves. There are probably other people who can speak to that better, but I think I am looser in how I think about things. I obsess less about making rules for myself. And I think in a way that the rule-based approach, where you would say "okay, what are our parameters in this film?" sometimes that is a way of fending off the horror of all of the possibilities. I've made lots of different things so for now, I feel much like I can find meaning in different ways, both visually and in terms of the types of films that I make.

How do you feel that the Irish film industry has changed over the years?

I feel that it is an amazing time. I couldn't have imagined, and I'm not even talking about myself, but that when Filmbase was being started in the early 80's and I was at those early meetings as a child of 17 or 18, and it's so weird that it is gone. But none of us could have imagined that an industry would be as healthy as this, producing as many films, and films that are travelling internationally and having an effect on an international audience. And very kind of outward looking. We used to obsess about what an Irish film should be as if there was one prescription for it. Now I think that there is a different sort of confidence here and that is brilliant. It continues to amaze me how many fine filmmakers we are producing for such a small industry. So I think we are at a very wonderful phase and I hope it can continue.

You come out just after Black '47 and ahead of Rosie. It's a busy period for Irish film.

Yeah Lance's film is doing incredibly well and I'm delighted for him. And John Butler is off in Toronto, and Paddy Breathnach's in Toronto. There's just so many people and I remember all of these people, we were all scratching around at the same time. There was no sort of infrastructure at all. It's lovely to see everybody thriving. I'm just so happy.

The Little Stranger is out now in Irish cinemas.