Irish film-maker Treasa O’Brien has created a beneficial and empathic documentary essay undertaking about historical past, reminiscence and neighborhood; it’s govt produced by The Act of Killing’s Josh Oppenheimer, whose affect is detectable in a single verbatim-cinema-type “dream re-enactment” scene (though I need to say that that is the one artistic avenue that doesn’t actually go wherever).
City of Strangers is ready within the city of Gort in County Galway, maybe finest recognized for being the positioning of Coole House, the house of Woman Gregory and the Irish literary revival of Yeats, Synge, O’Casey and Shaw. None of that’s talked about, nevertheless: O’Brien focuses on its Twenty first-century distinction of getting Eire’s highest proportion of migrants. O’Brien auditions for folks to return and be concerned in her documentary, and these “audition” scenes evolve into being the central a part of the movie itself: the place folks merely speak about their lives, the place they’ve come from and what they count on of Gort. We hear from Brazilian folks, Syrian folks, Afghan folks, Irish Travellers and English hippies.
This movie is an invigorating, refreshing expertise due to its clear-sighted compassion and lack of parochialism, its curiosity in different folks from different cultures, with out these impulses being problematised in any manner. I’ve to say that I preferred this film virtually regardless of the way in which it supposedly shapeshifts and genre-straddles between fiction and documentary because the advertising and marketing suggests; actually, I don’t assume it does. Regardless of some pictures of the director doing native radio interviews about the way in which her movie goes, it isn’t as meta as all that: its drive lies within the easy candour of her interviewees. As movies have so usually up to now, City of Strangers proves that there’s nice cinematic impression within the easy spectacle of individuals speaking about themselves.