Stephen Porzio takes a look at Mum, Anne Marie O’Connor’s film with a trans character at the heart of it, telling a universal story.
Mum, a short film which played at the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh, is a tender meditation on both transgender issues and the process of aging. Co-written and directed by Anne Marie O’Connor (the creator of Sky 1’s Trollied), it stars Kate O’Donnell as Kate, a transgendered woman – estranged from her family – returning home after a four-year absence.
Upon arriving, she is shocked to see that the health of her mother (Margot Leiceister) has declined. Despite an underlying air of tension still remaining within the family – mainly from her father (Peaky Blinders’ Kenneth Colley) – Kate attempts to reconcile with her mum.
The short is handsomely mounted. The suburban setting provides the film with a surprising amount of beautiful imagery over the thirteen minute running time. Plus, O’Connor stages scenes in which the past briefly mingles with the present in a way which evokes the work of Terrence Malick on Tree of Life.
The performances are also impressive. Most of what we learn about the characters isn’t in the language but the way they speak and their body movements. Each actor manages to feel lived-in in their role, communicating information to the viewer subtly and effectively.
The message of Mum is a warm one – the idea that when people begin to process their mortality, they learn to put petty differences and feuds aside. Eventually, they come to understand what is truly important – family and love.
Mum screened on 13th July 2017as part of New Irish Shorts 3 at the Galway Film Fleadh.