Herself is the story of an Irish mother running away from an abusive ex-spouse and wage poverty and it will have you cheering for a bright, hardened woman who only wants what we all want, a little bit love and peace.
Speaking to film star Clare Dunne, 33, I tell her that I can’t think of many recent Irish films where the female character tells her own story in her own way.
“It comes from life,” says Dunne. “It was based on a true story that happened to a dear friend of mine who is a single mother with three children and who was kind of forced into a situation where she had to find temporary accommodation.”
The difficult story of her friends stuck with her as she came to New York City to audition for roles. “And one day, as I was sitting in an apartment in New York City auditioning for a role and I guess I just wished my friend could get around this whole archaic welfare system. I felt like she was in a queue to start her life.
“She was an independent person, an extremely determined mind, accompanying her children to school, working on a few jobs, and yet she was made to feel that she was kind of a drain on society.”
The experience of her friends decided her to write Herself, in which she also plays. It was important that despite all the setbacks that Sandra (Dunne’s character in the film) encounters, she never felt victimized.
She, however, faces severe emotional and physical abuse from an increasingly toxic partner who has their sights set on sole custody of their children as well as revenge for a broken relationship (albeit that ‘s). is his fault).
The film is about the almost lost tradition of meitheal, the Irish word for a work team or cooperative work system where groups of neighbors help each other achieve a goal that uplifts the whole community. Another word for it could be socialism. It’s the springboard that changes Sandra’s life and makes the lives of others around her easier.
But she herself also poses a big question about what’s going on in Irish society right now. What do we owe to ourselves and what do we owe others it asks of us? And it reminds us that we are not yet answering this question very well.
Scenes of long lines of potential tenants standing outside apartments in places like Rathmines remind us that the Irish property struggle is real and prices are stealing. When Sandra wants to take control of her life, it quickly becomes clear that this road leads nowhere. Instead, she decides to take matters into her own hands and build her own house, with some money from friends and family.
“You understood exactly what obsessed me when I was writing the film. They say that a country has to be about a hundred years old before it can start to find its voice or to become what it really is, just like becoming a person, to mature. And I find it interesting that in the last 20 years we have changed so much referendum after referendum. We grow and take our responsibilities.
With the idea of meitheal, I just wanted to remember who we were before we were colonized. Before, we were a little more community-based, there was more equality in the exchange of things because it was not as capitalized.
“I feel like I just wanted to remind us of basic things like the milk of human kindness,” says Dunne.
“A lot of people now have a very sad worldview and they say things like what’s happening to Sandra don’t happen anymore when they actually do in very small everyday interactions.”
“I’m saying if we approach it more broadly then we realize that it doesn’t have to be that way anymore, basically we don’t have to make it so difficult to get food, shelter, water and water. ‘education. “
It itself is available on Amazon Prime starting today, January 8.