Helen

  • 79'
  • United Kingdom
  • 2008
An 18-year-old girl called Joy has gone missing. Another girl, Helen, is a few weeks away from leaving her care home. Helen is asked to ‘play’ Joy in a police reconstruction that will retrace Joy’s last known movements. Joy had everything. A loving family, a boyfriend, a bright future. Helen, parentless, has lived in institutions all her life and has never been close to anyone.
Gradually Helen begins to immerse herself in the role, visiting the people and places that Joy knew; quietly and carefully insinuating her way into the lost girl’s life. But is Helen trying to find out what happened to Joy that day, or is she searching for her own identity?
Thus reads the synopsis of this intriguing feature film debut of writer/director/producer couple Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, who, under their alias Desperate Optimists, have been working since 2004 on an oeuvre of short films called Civic Life, featuring local community groups shot in long takes. Their last short film, Joy, a kind of precursor to Helen, won the Prix UIP here in Rotterdam in 2008. Helen was screened in various major film festivals as a new voice in cinema. Edinburgh called it the UK discovery of the year: a subtle, sophisticated psychological drama, with an atmosphere quite distinct from any British work of the moment. Hopefully it proves to be a taste of things to come. (EH)
Directors
Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor
Countries of production
United Kingdom, Ireland
Production Year
2008
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Length
79'
Medium
35mm
Language
English
Producer
Joe Lawlor
Production Company
Desperate Optimists
Sales
Desperate Optimists
Screenplay
Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor
Cinematography
Ole Birkeland
Editor
Christine Molloy
Sound Design
Fonic
Music
Dennis McNulty
Cast
Annie Townsend