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Equestrian gymnastics, hormonal tensions and the contours of female identity make a potent combination in this startling debut from Swedish writer-director Lisa Aschan. Emma (Mathilda Paradeiser) is 15, lives at home with dad and wee sister Sara (Isabella Lindquist), and has just started training with an all-girl troupe that performs on horseback. The trials for the big show are coming up: will she get picked for the team? Or will her increasingly intense friendship with assured fellow gymnast Cassandra (Linda Molin) affect both their chances? What’s daring about this intriguing, very tactile film is the degree to which it leaves things unsaid, though clearly the secondary thread, describing the younger sibling’s rather troubling precocity, puts the key elements in context.
A short film about love then: what it does to us when we seek it, how we protect ourselves from the hurt it might inflict on us. All three young actresses are outstanding in a film that’s provocative yet also tellingly understated. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)
IFI IRISH SHORTS
This screening will include the IFB-supported short film An Rinceoir, directed by Elaine Gallagher. At a feis, a young dancer waits nervously in the wings. Once on stage, however, she shines. 5 minutes, 2011, Colour.