JDIFF 2013: Milo

 

Matt Micucci runs away with Milo, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Milo

Sat, 23rd  February
Cineworld 11
15.45
90mins

 

The Irish-Dutch co-production Milo is the tale of a boy with a mysterious skin condition which prevents him from living a normal life. One day, he decides runs away from home to join his class on a camping trip against his oppressive father’s wishes. The film boasts an impressive fragile central performance from 12-year-old debutant Lorcan Bonner as the titular character.

 

‘When we first heard of this story, we were totally drawn to it,’ says Roel Boorsma, the young Dutch filmmaker who directed Milo along with his brother Berend – both participating in the post-screening Q&A at Cineworld. ‘For me, this was a story about a boy who was lied to, and sets off on a journey of self discovery, having an impact on the lives of whoever he meets.’

 

Also in attendance was Martina Niland from Samson Films who still recalls the brothers’ pitch, ‘While they pitched, one was shaving the other. This made me think that working with them would have been a lot of fun.’

 

The story was originally to be set in the Netherlands, but Roel and Berend didn’t seem to mind the shift in location to Ireland. Indeed Berand was delighted admitting that ‘Ireland looks kind of hairy to me.’ He continued on to tell the audience that ‘The story is universal. The script work came close to taking two years. It was the lengthiest part of the project. We needed it to feel Irish.’

Niland recalled  approaching the Irish Film Board with the idea and ‘we became the minor financing partners, but the whole film was shot and cast here in Ireland. There was no big budget but Berend and Roel managed to make it look beautiful.’

 

Considering the small budget, and the fact that this film is the first feature length film by the young Dutch filmmakers, the photography is quite impressive. The theme of photography is also a key element in the story. Little Milo always has a polaroid camera around his neck. ‘Usually, everything is perfect in pictures,’ said Berand. ‘It’s a different and unique look at reality. But taking photographs is also his way to get closer to his peers, as he is always forced to look at them from a distance.’

 

For the brothers “It was a storyline we wanted to convey. It’s just as much a film for young people as it is for adults. We were very open and did not want to be restricted by boundaries. Also, we didn’t want to be judgemental. We like making non-judgemental films.’

 

As supporting characters, the film is enrichened by Jer O’Leary and Charlotte Bradley as an older Irish (what might have happened) version of Bonnie and Clyde, Star and Mickie, who ‘accidentally’ end up being the kid’s kidnappers, but eventually grow fond of him. Charlotte told the audience that ‘Playing Star was very different. She is very down to earth, optimistic and strong. Her acceptance of this kid and his condition is so pure .’

 

Milo, has enjoyed relative success on the festival circuit, picking up a special award at the Giffoni Film Festival, the world’s biggest children’s film festival which takes place every year in Italy. It was well received this Saturday in Dublin too. It’s an intense but imperfect film which manages to mix a certain darkness with moments of pure sweetness. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this film…

 

Matt Micucci

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkiDRYiv3RM

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