As the novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen wrote, “All wars are fought twice — the first time on the battlefield, and the second time in memory.” That’s certainly true in Northern Ireland, where the battle to win independence from the United Kingdom has left a sociological scar on the region and its inhabitants, years of Troubles having cost lives on both sides of the ongoing conflict.
That’s the jumping-off point for Cathy Brady‘s new film Wildfire, the first trailer for which premieres exclusively here at Little White Lies today. In it, two sisters reunite after one of them mysteriously vanishes for a year, only to find her Irish home changed and hostile.
The locals don’t appreciate that the un-disappeared Kelly (Nika McGuigan, in her final performance prior to her tragic death from bowel cancer at age 33) has been snooping around asking questions about the death of her mother, despite warnings from sister Lauren (Nora-Jane Noone). Their late mum seems to have been a casualty of the IRA’s violent doings, but investigating that much violates the strictly enforced code of silence — “say nothing,” went the mantra — that governed the area.
Though Brady may be new to feature directing, she and the late McGuigan both got their start on TV with the comedy-drama series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope in their native Ireland. This film project looks to be in a grimmer register, confronting the national character on darker terms, melding Irish pride with the nastier corners of their history.
Wildfire has already been feted on the festival circuit, having graced the online marché at last year’s scaled-back Cannes as well as the virtual Discovery Showcase at the Toronto International Film Festival. Brady represents an intriguing, promising new voice in the Irish cinema as it continues to grow on the world stage, an instant one-to-watch.
Wildfire comes to cinemas in the UK and Ireland on 3 September.
Published 29 Jun 2021
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