With such a spirit of international openness, coupled with an obvious formal requirement, All Good Children could only enthuse the editors of the inescapable Cineuropa website. The day after the public presentation of the film, Bénédicte Prot dissected the forbidden games of Alicia Duffy pointing out at the outset that “the pupil of the Cannes Film Festival (her residency at the Cinefondation in 2002 resulted in the short The Most Beautiful Man in the World, in official selection in 2003), is now in the running for the Camera d’Or with her first feature film, All Good Children.”
Right from the start, we know that the site has adhered to the director’s approach: “This educational film offers small progressive touches, supported by a photography that knows how to capture the magic and anxiety of a child’s gaze (that of Dara, whose blue eyes the camera intensely scrutinizes), a realistic picture by the very fact of this delicately subjective approach.”
With an almost impressionistic talent, the editor then evokes the moment when the film leaves its tracks to plunge the protagonists and the spectators into an increasingly disturbing tension: “The poetic-nevrotic reflections that the latter utters in voice-over accompany the descent into the darkness of his fragile young mind and his cowering in a fetal position: the brighter the light, the darker the darkness. There is only one step in the void from innocent bickering to spontaneous violence like a moment of oblivion, from the pastoral to the awful denouement whose starting shot is given by a detonating firework. The disgusting insect of the tipping over into madness will finish off the remains of the joyous country banquet of the last moments of innocence.”
On“target=”_blank”> theexcellent Cannes blog of the no less relevant site Film de culte. com Nicolas Bardot is also enthusiastic: “We obviously don’t know the final word from the Caméra d’or jury, but all the indicators are green for All Good Children, the first feature film by British director Alicia Duffy. From the tale, Duffy borrows the setting, woods rustling with secrets, children and a quest to learn, and then there is her own look that makes everything magical (the sun’s rays in a spider’s web, insects finishing the remains of a meal at dawn). From the tale, Duffy also borrows the darkness, because behind the big eyes of the young hero, the beautiful red hair of his partner, the first emotions and the bucolic onirism hide death and its traumas. Stingy with words (we don’t talk much about the mother’s death), All Good Children plays on the atmosphere, bewitching or stormy, with a sensitivity that is on the skin until it burns. From the tale, All Good Children also has the cruelty, the grace too. Here is a filmmaker to be reckoned with.”
Evene.fr, for its part, deals with All Good Children from an “ethnic” angle in its very interesting section “Un film, un Pays .
An ideal opportunity to tease the French moviegoer from the start: “In Ireland, there is not only the ‘Lakes of Connemara’ told by Michel Sardou, the moors and the Guinness. There is also a cinema, often committed, historical and political, born from the painful history of the country and which turns slowly towards the future.”
After an intro that frames the cinema there in a wide shot, the journalist zooms in on Alicia Duffy’s film: “Between an unacknowledged love triangle and the search for reference points and limits, these young people play innocently in the forest before repainting the walls of the family home in “FUCK”. The director captures this transitional age, where one feels strong and vulnerable at the same time, innocent and guilty because unconscious of the consequences of his actions. A naturalistic and ethereal approach to a new face in the Irish landscape.”
The website The News looks, for its part, at the wave of island women directors who have descended in this beautiful month of May to assault the Croisette, highlighting the fact not often mentioned that “Women are a rare genre in Cannes. In any case behind the camera. An assumption naturally shared by Alicia Duffy who “continues to question why the film industry tends to exclude women”. But beyond this angle of attack, the text insists above all on the strength of All Good Children: “Thanks to two excellent young actors, a staging and images mixing realism and dreaminess, Alicia Duffy captures in a sensitive way this in-between world.”
The British newspapers and websites have of course followed with great attention the presentation of the film at the Fortnight. In the Guardian Peter Bradshaw praises the performance of young Jack Gleeson: “Gleeson’s sky-blue eyes have an unearthly look, suggesting eerie depths, and his face is a picture of pain, wonderment, frustration and resentment. But he is also quick to point out the excellent work of Alicia Duffy, who saves the film from falling into the clichés that were lurking: “But Duffy’s intelligence makes this film a success; with daring, she holds on to the feeling and texture of the visual scene.”
A trajectory to follow, without a doubt.