Pavee Lackeen: The Traveller Girl
PAVEE LACKEEN: THE TRAVELLER GIRL is an intimate portrait of Winnie, a resilient and spirited young girl, and her family who are part of Dublin’s traveller community, living in a dilapidated trailer on the side of the road in a desolate industrialized area. The film presents an unflinching portrait of a marginalized community often living in third world poverty in a modern, prosperous Ireland. It follows Winnie through several weeks of her life, as she struggles with her identity as a young traveller girl in contemporary Ireland.
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I'd also like to add that the reviewer who stated that the movie has no English subtitles is incorrect. There are English subtitles, although they are rife with errors.
It follows the daily life of a young traveler girl and her family
The travelers, perhaps Ireland's most Irish yet most marginilized race
This movie or docudrama does not romanticize the gypsy life in the least
There are some sweet humorous moments
yet you do see the poverty,violence and health issues
the traveler's face in these times
Despite this, the Irish states attempts to assimilate
The traveler gypsy population into a normal existence seems awful underhanded
And there relocation of the girl's family does seem more self serving
Image conciousness then actual concern for the travelers
the cast is made up of mostly non professional actors,(Actual travelers most of them) and lead character the traveler girl is played marvelously by Winnie Maughan
this film is so true to the core it seems hard to believe this movie is scripted
The camera work is - deliberately, I assume - as funky as any low-budget TV reality show: poorly-lit, hand-held, off-center and cramped, full of close-ups that seem to focus on facial blemishes and specks of filth. In short, it's of a piece with its subject matter. What makes it bearable is its non-judgmental objectivity. "Bearable" might be the wrong word; this revelation of social anomie is totally disquieting, embarrassing, shaming to anyone who feels that a society of wealth, even modest wealth, has responsibility for its failing members. Winnie's life would be UNbearable for most of us.
Most of the content, both narrative and sociological, of Pavee Lackeen is delivered by the camera. I had a lot of trouble comprehending the dialogue, and not only because of the Irish brogue. The girl Winnie is painfully diffident and apathetic about expressing her thoughts and/or feelings. Most of the characters mumble; most of their words are inconsequential anyway. They really don't believe that they have much to say for themselves, so the camera speaks for them. Subtitles (there aren't any) would only make their incommunicability seem artificial. Faces tell more than words in this 'narrative.'
Above the title on the packaging of this DVD, you'll note that this film has been acclaimed and nominated for more than a dozen awards. I find that odd. I have to wonder why. Is it possibly a manifestation of "our" discomfort with the reality of poverty and marginalization in our midst? I say that as a resident of America, where "denial" is the norm, but Pavee Lackeen exposes that the same sad marginalization persists in Ireland and other lands as well. This is not a film you'll care to see for entertainment; it's a deliberate assault on your conscience, an attempt to make you care, at least abstractly, for people you might shun if you met them on the street.