"Rosie" Review: Portrait of a Working Class Hero

Fans of Ken Loach and the Dardenne brothers shouldn’t miss Paddy Breathnach’s Rosie. This moving portrait of working class life is kitchen sink realism without the sink. The film stars Penny Dreadful’s Sarah Greene as Rosie Davis. She is a mother of four desperately trying to find her kids a home. She struggles daily, schlepping the kids from hotel to school, and searches for lodging both temporary and permanent to manage their homelessness. However, with few options in their reach and fewer resources to support them, Rosie’s family embodies a familiar struggle. Rosie puts a human face on the ordinary families who suffer in the present housing crisis. For anyone who has ever worked hard and worried about how to pay for tomorrow, Rosie hits a nerve.

Roddy’s Return

Rosie comes to the screen as an event of sorts despite the dire subject matter. It’s the first screenplay in nearly two decades from Roddy Doyle. 18 years after When Brendan Met Trudy and nearly 30 years after his masterful The Commitments, Doyle is back in his element. (We’ll forgive him for all those novels in between!) Rosie could easily be the child of two Dublin scenesters who saw their lives explode on screen in The Commitments. But where The Commitments found hope and optimism within the life-affirming pulse of soul music and rock-n-roll, Rosie sees its young Dubliner scrape desperately for a lifeline. Doyle’s scripts capture the hope, or lack thereof, that divides these two generations.

There is barely a note of rock to be heard in Rosie. The young woman, barely 30 years old, hardly finds a moment of respite. She spends each day calling numbers on a list of hotels that offer rooms paid for by Dublin city council. Rosie and her kids spend their lives on standby. The film captures the grating uncertainty of homelessness as their odds for securing shelter dwindle with each hour. Each day sees them clear house for paying guests. Rosie can’t secure long-term shelter for her family when concerns for the day-by-bay consume her.

A Working Class Hero

But where musical beats fuel The Commitments, Rosie’s heartbeat drives this film. Breathnach, who showed such a wonderfully observant hand at depicting the margins in the 2015 Oscar-shortlisted Viva with its portrait of Cuba’s gay community, injects Rosie with the same vitality that made his queer Cuban drama so strong. While Rosie evokes the working class spirit of Ken Loach, it isn’t “old man’s cinema.” (I literally have a Pavlovian reflex and yawn whenever I hear or read the name “Ken Loach.”) Instead, Rosie pulses with the restlessness of its protagonist’s generation. The film hones in close on Greene, invading her privacy and getting up in her face, as it observes hard-working families who can’t afford homes. The film positions Rosie as a working class hero simply for her indefatigable devotion to provide her kids a functional present and a hopeful future.

Greene carries virtually every frame of the film. She repeats the same lines over and over as Rosie searches for shelter. Rosie knows the drill, but Greene’s performance conveys both the crushing monotony and the element of performance it involves. Each call hinges on Rosie’s pleasant demeanour and her willingness to put on a brave face that hides her struggles. Greene is remarkably good. She finds excellent screen partners not only in Moe Dunford as Rosie’s spouse John Paul, but also in the quartet of young performers who play her children. The film authentically drops audiences into one family’s everyday struggle and leaves us waiting in suspenseful hope for their survival

Source: Rosie Review: Portrait of a Working Class Hero – That Shelf

The Trip To Greece Q&A

Ever since Seinfeld, story arcs in comedy centred on nothing in particular have grown to become something of a genre standard. No show took that quite as literally as The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, which first aired on BBC Two in 2010. The original conceit, and the comedy, were simple: two well-established comedians (and quasi-friends) have expensive meals at fancy Lake District restaurants while doing impressions of the likes of Michael Caine, Marlon Brando and Ronnie Corbett. On paper that doesn’t sound like comedy gold, but something in the chemistry of Brydon and Coogan’s easy banter and Michael Winterbottom’s skilful direction made for an immediate hit.

Sadly, that journey – or, this time, that Odyssey – looks to have reached its conclusion. Ten years, four series and three more countries Continue reading

Kermode & Mayo Film Reviews: Parasite, more

Film reviews including Robert Downey Junior in Dolittle, Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn and Kristen Stewart in Underwater.

Mark and Simon chat through all the films worth seeing in UK cinemas in the UK Box Office Top Ten, we tell you the best and worst films on TV next week and recommend a home entertainment purchase in DVD of the Week.

00:27:55 Box Office Top 10
00:44:33 Bong Joon Ho Interview
00:59:51 Parasite Review
01:11:20 Dolittle Review
01:20:26 Underwater Review
01:25:19 Plus One Review
01:35:19 Daniel Isn’t Real Review
01:41:33 Birds of Prey Review
01:45:09 Mr Jones Review

Cynefin: Dilyn Afon “Following A River”

An essential masterpiece in traditional music collection and interpretation…a journey piece of pure and utterly beautiful music and singing.

By Glenn Kimpton

If you are a listener who enjoys plenty of context and a rich sense of place and history to an album, this highly accomplished project from West Wales native Owen Shiers, who creates under his Cynefin name, a palimpsest of a Welsh word meaning animals’ trails in hillsides and the sense of familiarity and belonging, will absolutely delight. The album is packaged beautifully with an introduction by Shiers and extensive notes on each traditional song and tune in Welsh and English. For a debut piece, this is a luxurious and high-quality product that is a good indication of the level of thought, passion and apparent dedication that has gone into its creation.

Shiers clearly has music running through his veins, having grown up around his father’s harp workshop (lucky!) and since worked on many projects based at the Real World studios, among other claims. His debut album is full of gorgeous nuanced music, all considerate of the underlying theme of the album, which translates to ‘Following a River’. Being a particularly skilled finger-style acoustic guitar player, the instrument is never far away from the front of the tunes, but what struck me quickly when listening to the album was the often sympathetic roles of other instruments, so delicately arranged. On ‘Y Fwyalchen Ddu Bigfelen’ (‘The Yellow Beaked Blackbird’; all song titles are translated in the notes), Shiers’ voice and guitar are gently prominent, but also present are violin, cello and harp among other instruments and the result is a soothing, softly undulating sound that carries along Owen’s clear vocals perfectly. Most of the songs are sung in Welsh, which has an effect on the non-Welsh speaker of something like birdsong, where the words can wash over the listener. With excellent notes on every song included, the story is never lost, so for this instrumental music fan, the vocals can become another instrument, helping create a fully cohesive soundscape.

The opening track, ‘Cân O Glod I’r Clettwr’, a version of blacksmith Daff Jones’ song, has probably the loosest structure here, with sharp ethereal strings and low bowed notes coming in after a solo rendition of the verse, creating a slow dark mood that slips into a far more rhythmic tune for ‘Dole Tefi / Lliw’r Heulwen’, two traditional Welsh folk songs set to a great double bass line and some wonderful trombone playing by Michel Padron. Following them is ‘Y Ddau Farch / Y Bardd A’r Gwcw’, a stunningly beautiful medley of two pieces focused on the slightly more psych-folk topic of anthropomorphism and animal communication. This is a fine example of how Shiers’ voice can blend in so well with the musical arrangements surrounding it. The guitar sound here is clear and the melody is lovely; the violin of Flora Curzon softly haunting the background is subtle and enriches the tune wonderfully when it steps in line and the cracking double bass of Alfie Weedon changes the texture of the tune in the second half. The result is one of the most innocently romantic folk songs I have heard in some time.

After listening to Dilyn Afon for some time, I feel it unnecessary to write a response to each of the tracks on there and instead will simply hail it an essential masterpiece in traditional music collection and interpretation, performed to an exemplary level quite astonishing in a first solo collection. The music played throughout by Shiers and his band is finely arranged and meticulously considered. Take final track ‘Ffarwel I Aberystwyth’ as example; the song is almost a solo piece, with a lovely slow acoustic guitar line confidently carrying Owen’s voice as he sings a tale of sailors leaving for Cardigan Bay, until the subtlest bowing of Curzon’s violin towards the end adds a pinch of texture and longing to Shiers’ final vocal refrain. Dilyn Afon is a memorable set that will undoubtedly feature in my albums of the year list come December. It is a journey piece of pure and utterly beautiful music and singing in the most generous of album packages and I implore you all to buy it.

Source: Cynefin: Dilyn Afon (Following A River) | Folk Radio