Paveen Lackeen means traveler girl in cant, a code language developed by a group of Irish people who maintain a culture separate from the rest of Ireland’s populace. These Travellers were the subject of Perry Ogden’s 1999 book Pony Kids and now one family, the Maughns, is at the center of his first film. Using non-professional actors, improvised dialogue, and a largely structureless plot, Ogden vies for a sense of extreme docu-realism that’s impressively sustained but oddly detached. This emotional aloofness is rather surprising given that one of Ogden’s goals was to collapse the distance between the events being filmed and the story—a la Alan Clarke’s Christine. Throughout the film, the audience gets a sense of social institutions allowing the Maughn family to slip through the cracks, but it’s unclear if the story’s lack of righteous indignation is deliberate on Ogden’s part or a sign of his weakness. Context is slim here and may seem necessary, but many a fine director—including the ones whose works Paveen Lackeen aspires to—have created affecting dramas about impoverished people without such niceties. The film doesn’t work much of a polemical or lyrical sweat, doodling back and forth between the adventures of 10-year-old Winnie (Winnie Maughan) after she’s expelled from school for a week—she goes to a Russian video store, pretends to be interested in buying hair extensions, and goes huffing with a friend at a local dump—and her family’s housing drama after her mother Rose (Rose Maughan) receives a notice of eviction. It’s the complete opposite of Bresson’s Mouchette and the Dardennes’ Rosetta: a not-so-dense or musky fog that’s easily parted and forgotten.
- 87 min
- Perry Ogden
- Perry Ogden, Mark Venner
- Winnie Maughan, Rose Maughan, Rosie Maughan, Paddy Maughan, Michael Collins, Helen Joyce, Abbie Spallen, Brian Dignam, Martin Maughan, Kate Maughan, James Maughan
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