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ROME 2012 Alice in the City

Babygirl, being a teenager in the Bronx


- The Irish American coproduction by Macdara Vallely tells the story of a mother daughter relationship in New York’s Latino community

Babygirl, being a teenager in the Bronx

One of the most interesting film to be included in the Alice in the City selection is Irish American coproduction Babygirl [+see also:
film profile
, a dramatic comedy written and directed by Northern Irish director Macdara Vallely (his Peacefire, an adaptation of his play which won the Edinburgh Fringe First Play Award, was in competition during the Karlovy Vary 2008 festival).

Cartoon like scripts open onto a noisy apartment block in the Bronx, where Lena, her Puerto Rican mother, and her baby from yet another failed relationship, have just moved. Lucy, a young, single mother, who is teenage–like in her thirst for love, seems to collect unsuitable boyfriends one after the other.

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And as Lena, a fifteen-year-old who has had to grow up fast, looks on, Lucy manages to plunge herself into further disaster. She becomes infatuated with a Hispanic American man she meets on the bus, who is interested in mother as much as he is in her daughter.

“It’s a n actual scene I witnessed on a subway in New York,” the director explained. “I asked myself: what will happen to the daughter? I didn’t want her to be a passive victim. I wanted her to react. And that is what happened in the script.”

To save her mother from further failure, Lena puts her life on hold and tries to distract her mother’s new lover – something which, inevitably, will quickly take a turn for the worst.

The best part of the film, which was filmed in the Summer of 2010 between Fort Totten, in Queens, and the Bronx, is without doubt the description of a neighbourhood full of the noises and colours of life. The vitality of the Latino community is rendered by a Brendan Dolan’s vivid soundtrack, which adds rhythm to a script - enjoyable, even if void of any surprises.

Costing less than $1 million and having premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, Babygirl was produced by Gigi Dement and Paul Miller for Escape Pictures (USA), and David Collins for Samson Films (Irlanda) with support from the Irish Film Board.

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(Translated from Italian)

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