Phil on Film Index

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Future Tense Review

A flight from London Stansted to Dublin Airport takes around 75 minutes. It’s a routine journey that the Irish-born, London-based filmmakers Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor have taken plenty of times, but something about this one feels different. “The ever-present noises of populism and nationalism have moved to the foreground, impossible to ignore,” says Lawlor. While the motivation for this trip is to scout locations for a film, they are also exploring the possibility of a new home in Ireland. As they weigh their growing discomfort with the UK against their ambivalent feelings towards their homeland, their position in the clouds over the Irish Sea is an apt metaphor for their state of being – halfway between two islands, and not entirely sure where they belong.

Friday, October 14, 2022

The Swimmers Review

Many athletes have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve their dreams of competing at the Olympic Games, but few can tell a story to match Yusra Mardini’s. Having fled war-torn Syria in August 2015, Yusra and her sister Sarah embarked on a dangerous smugglers’ route across the Aegean Sea in a flimsy dinghy with eighteen other refugees. When the boat’s motor failed and it began taking on water, the two sisters tethered themselves to the craft and swam towards land, hauling their fellow refugees behind them for three hours. It was an astonishing feat of endurance and survival, and the fact that Yusra then went on to swim at Rio 2016 – a stateless competitor in the newly formed Refugee Olympic Team – is the kind of happy ending that only the most shameless screenwriter would dream up.