Ross McDonnell's 'Remember Me, My Ghost' Documents Hard Lives Lived in Dublin's High Rises
Although predominantly known as a photographer, Ireland’s Ross McDonnell established a solid reputation in the world of documentary filmmaking following his debut feature (co-directed with Carter Gunn) about the world of US beekeepers old and new, Colony. While his new piece Remember Me, My Ghost may be shorter in form, it’s no less effective as a piece of revelatory cinema:
Remember Me, My Ghost developed out of McDonnell’s stills project Joyride in which he photographed teenage residents of the Irish social planning gone awry, high-rise estate Ballymun, an area of Dublin which was blighted with a variety of social problems, amongst them high crime and drug rates. The initial focus of the project was as a fictional feature with the script developed through interviews with Ballymun’s real life protagonists. However, upon McDonnell’s return to the area the tower blocks had been demolished so he decided to take another approach for the short:
The block had been knocked down and the demolition guys were busy completing a 10-year regeneration scheme. I realised that while I’d looked at the youth culture, I hadn’t really focused on domestic life in the community. So I interviewed a group of women who were part of a creative writing group instead. I recorded about eight testimonies and picked one story to try to visualise.
And so, instead of the estate’s errant youth, we get a heartbreaking story of a woman who has her hopes of a new life for her young family beat out of her, but ultimately finds her way through the other side to (hopefully) a better future.
[via. Very Short List]