13 February, 2009

Breakfast on Pluto (2006)

Adieu, space cadet...

European Film Awards Reviews would take this opportunity to pay tribute to Hélène Noël, late of Brussels - a good friend of Colin’s and the love of James’s life, who was taken from us way too soon, at the age of 42, on 16 June 2008. Hélène was a woman of much love and many gifts and talents, not least of which was her ability to light up a room with her smile. A frequent contributor to key Brussels leisure magazine Together, she also loved film (and Ireland), as her following review ably demonstrates. Thank you for your attention.

A few years ago, I used to spend numerous weekends in the small town of Balbriggan, Co Dublin, Ireland. I used to catch an inevitable ‘Irish cold’ as soon as I landed. Weekend time was spent in mad nights in Dublin, followed by Irish sea walks to recover, and, above all, because I wanted to see this liquid dark silver beauty once again.

On our way, each time my (then) boyfriend and I passed in front of his primary school, my companion told me that when he was a boy, one of the school’s teachers, wrote his first novel: it was a story about a mouse, The Adventures of Shay Mouse: The Mouse from Longford. The teacher was Patrick McCabe.

A few days ago, this ex-boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go to the cinema. I rarely refuse this kind of proposal, except of course when made by another ex-boyfriend (I am a fanatic collector), renowned for his huge appetite for dubious gore fantasies.

The film in question, by Neil Jordan, was an adaptation of a novel by the former mouse-storyteller Balbriggan teacher.

As soon as the images came alive, I was sent back several seas West from my seat. I mean, when you speak of Ireland, most of the time people think about hordes of redheads celebrating St Paddy’s Day all year long when they’re not bombing everything around them. What I imagined in my private inner cinema resembles very closely the images on the (not-so big) screen at the Actor’s Studio - even if the story actually begins on a street in London, where we follow a young woman and a baby.

Just after, we are on the front steps of a presbytery, where another breezy blonde abandons her baby boy. The story of Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden (Cillian Murphy, who is incredible) has begun and it promises to be a (mis)adventure. It takes place in the 1970s, and details Patrick’s tribulations and subsequent ’showbiz’ careers, not to mention the provos and, of course, a London bombing. But that’s just details. What Kitten really wants is to find his, no, her, mother.

It’s a world of despair we live in, as you know for sure. But still, angels exist, even when contemplated in 36 chapters. At least, so I believe. In angelhood, you can even find fatherhood.

You never know, you know…

Awards: Click here for details.

Hélène Noël

135 mins.

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