Irish Film Institute -Ratcatcher


Director: Lynne Ramsay

Esteemed French critic Michel Ciment acclaimed Lynne Ramsay’s first feature as ‘the best British film of the past fifteen years.’ As her excellent new film Morvern Callar confirms, Ramsay is a genuinely original and uncompromising talent whose work isn’t easy to pigeonhole. A plot synopsis would make Ratcatcher sound like another slice-of-life drama in the British realist tradition. The setting is a rundown Glasgow housing estate during the refuse collectors’ strike of the 1970s, and the narrative focuses on a working-class family. It’s familiar material, but Ramsay confounds expectations of a grimly realistic kitchen-sink drama by employing a powerfully imaginative visual style that reveals the richness amidst the squalor of everyday life. Her images are carefully composed and the film works by homing in on small, telling details or adopting unusual angles that enable us to look at the world afresh. The film’s subjective viewpoint is reinforced by the way it shows events through the eyes of its young protagonist, James (William Eadie), whose perceptions are coloured by his involvement in the drowning of a local kid.
U.K., 1999. Colour. Dolby stereo SR. 98 mins.

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