Determined to show another side of Dublin, Fintan Connolly talks to Paul Byrne about the thinking behind his debut feature film, Flick.
When it comes to our Fair City, filmmakers tends to take one of two routes. Many concentrate on the poverty (Crush Proof, The Courier), whilst others prefer to coat all the grim social realism with a hefty dose of slapstick comedy (The Commitments, The Snapper, er, Agnes Browne). But when Fintan Connolly decided to take a break from his day job making documentaries for RTE and move onto the big screen (and, hopefully, into the big time), he decided to show another side of Dublin. And he was determined to avoid all the usual clichés.
"And that meant no horses riding in lifts," he smiles. "And no red-haired mothers giving their red-haired children a clip around the ear for eating the coal. I wanted to show the Dublin of today, and I wanted to make the city as much a star of the movie as the actors themselves."
In the end, Connolly's debut feature, Flick - which opens at the IFC this Friday - achieved his goal admirably. Following the long day's journey into hell of a small-time drug dealer after he bites off more than he can sell, Connolly is also acutely aware of the fact that such a subject matter won't exactly warm the cockles of every Dubliner's heart.
"But this is a part of Dublin that exists," he states. "And it's not portrayed as glamourous, and it's also not portrayed as being the seedy, blood-drenched world that's been put up on screen before. I was determined not to judge these people. Chances are, we've all met someone along the line who smokes some dope, and they're not necessarily axe-wielding maniacs out to eat our children. They're just fools, for the most part."
Young Dublin actor David Murray is impressive in the title role of the slowly sinking Jack, whilst German actress Isabelle Menke turns on her exotic charms as the one night stand who ends up pretty much saving his life. Of course, the one cliché Flick didn't manage to avoid is that old chestnut of modern Irish cinema where a foreign chick must at some point get her top off. In the name of art, of course.
"I know it sounds like a cliché, but the love scene between Isabelle and David was very much necessary in the film," offers Connolly. "We must believe that this girl he's just met would have a reason to feel protective of Jack, to feel connected to him very quickly. And what better way to get connected to someone very quickly than to have a one night stand with them?"
And for those keen to point the finger at Connolly for not taking a strong anti-drug stance in his film, the young director argues that it's more important - and beneficial - to tell it as it really is. Having lost a close friend, Conor Kenny, in a drug-related incident shortly after completing the film, as well as suffering the death of his own brother shortly afterwards from a drug overdose, Connolly clearly has strong feelings about the subject.
"I've learnt from making documentaries that you really have to concentrate on the facts, and show them as honestly as possible," he finishes. "There's no point in spinning real-life stories, because you rob them of their true meaning, of their worth. And that's something I wanted to achieve with Flick. I wanted to make something with meaning, something of worth. After that, the audience can decide for themselves what they feel about the issues raised."
- Paul Byrne
Visit the official Flick
website at www.flick-movie.com