This month sees the release of two must-see, Tallaght-set films. On April 17, the Gerard Barrett-directed Glassland opens, with Frank Berry's (Ballymun Lullaby) I Used to Live Here in cinemas from April 3. Barrett's film focuses on the mother-son relationship, while in Berry's it's a father and daughter's. Both use their stories to explore two of society's biggest issues: in Glassland it's addiction, in I Used to Live Here it's suicide.
Amy (Jones) is a 13-year-old struggling with the passing of her mother three years earlier. She has become an adult before her time, with her father Raymond (Kelly) delegating the domestic responsibilities to her. Their bond is strong, but real communication and empathy have become lost in the fog that comes with the stresses and strains of the everyday.
When a local youth takes his life, the tragedy has a profound impact on Amy, and her thinking becomes more troubled. Her friendship with Dylan (Flynn) is a deep one, but it is also characterised by how little they feel comfortable in telling each other. Raymond, meanwhile, must deal with more emotional upheaval at a time when his daughter needs his presence most.
In terms of cinematic achievements this year, Berry's transformation of an untrained cast, largely drawn from Killinarden, into actors that can handle the complex and heart-rending drama of his story ranks among the greatest. I Used to Live Here is far more compelling than many a film with household names and 1,000 times the budget - the authenticity here is something money can't buy. Its central trio of Jones, Kelly and Flynn are superb, and it would be a real pity not to see them all on the screen again, so good is their work here. That old adage about how the camera can read someone's mind without them speaking will come into your own on numerous occasions.
Researched with the assistance of Headstrong, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, I Used to Live Here's reach needs to extend far beyond cinemas into as many homes, schools, colleges and community centres as possible - word of mouth will never play a more crucial role. At 88 minutes it is, perhaps, a quicker watch than it needed to be, but the impact is long-lasting. Most importantly of all, it will help people to talk after watching. Gratitude to Berry and his team - behind and in front of the camera - can be shown with your time.
For more on the work of Headstrong, www.headstrong.ie.
For more on the work of Samaritans, www.samaritans.org.
For more on the work of Console, console.ie.