Friday, June 4, 2010

Movie with Abe: Ondine

Directed by Neil Jordan
Released June 4, 2010

There’s something in the water. Fear not, it’s nothing malicious, but instead a beautiful woman who may well be a selkie, a mermaid-like seal who can shed her skin and become a human. When a fisherman named Syracuse (Colin Farrell) catches her in his net, he is overcome with feelings for this mysterious creature and taken by the hold she has over him. “Ondine” is both a fairy tale and a love story that explores the landscape of Ireland and the outlook of one man who cares about only one thing in the world – his daughter – and has nothing else to anchor him to any one place until he meets the lovely Ondine.

Actress Alicja Bachleda discusses the film

“Ondine” is a film with few characters fueled by folklore. Syracuse is a lonely soul whose career as a fisherman on the seas and past habit of drunkenness has led to his separation from the mother of his child. His daughter Annie suffers from a condition that forces her to be in a wheelchair, and Syracuse attributes his shaping up to his dedication to his daughter. The young Annie is extremely mature for her age, and she seems to comprehend Ondine more than Syracuse does. When Syracuse heads to the local library to check out books on selkies, Annie has already beaten him to the punch and taken them all out to read on her own.

Director Neil Jordan and star Colin Farrell discuss the film

The movie’s story is certainly enchanting, but so are its performers. Hollywood bad boy Colin Farrell jokes that the experience of playing a “gentle, loving guy” was boring, but adds that there was something great about the “simplicity and humility to such a lovely character.” Farrell says that Syracuse has a melancholy to him that even he wasn’t aware of, and he confesses that this marked the first character in twelve years that he wasn’t looking forward to leaving. Farrell puts a lot of heart into his performance, and he’s not the only one. Polish actress Alicja Bachleda is marvelous and wonderful as Ondine, and the charming young actress described the role as a terrific chance to combine two passions: acting and singing. Alison Barry also impresses tremendously as Annie. Director Neil Jordan clearly has a passion for his subject, and he says that the reason he likes fairy tales is that he likes stories and characters that don’t fully understand themselves. He also notes that he would like to photograph the Irish landscape before he dies, and this beautiful movie certainly makes that idea sound extremely enticing.


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