Fatso is the kind-hearted owner of a rather bad take-away place in Dublin. His employees are a bunch of incompetent people, whom he keeps on mostly to help them survive. Also, he has a ... See full summary »
Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the drama follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. Despite ... See full summary »
On Christmas Day two kids run away. Trust me, they had good reason. "Kisses" takes us on the next 24 hours of their lives as they wander through Dublin looking for a guy named Barry who will supposedly take care of them. At the same time they are running from the imaginary "sackman" who, the girl insists, takes young children and animals, throws them in a sack and beats them to death for fun. The story of these 2 runaways is charming, terrifying, bleak, beautiful, and just about everything else in between.
There is an instantly recognizable poetic quality to this film. That means: things are not necessarily spelled out, but instead we are made to piece together a backstory based on images, events and clues. Like the story of the 2 kids following the trail of this mysterious Barry fellow, we learn piece-by-piece exactly what's going on.
There is a subtle yet strong structure to this film. It is told in chapters with each chapter ending with a kiss (hence the name "Kisses"). Each kiss is symbolic and meaningful. Another interesting thing to note is the way the film changes between black & white and color, almost imperceptibly, yet in a very symbolic & meaningful way.
If you haven't guessed, this film has a lot more going than what's on the surface. Add to the mix a very appropriate soundtrack of Bob Dylan songs (in particular, great use of "Shelter from the Storm"), and you've got yourself an artistic treat.
The dialogue is mostly between the 2 young figures, and I was surprised at how authentically child-like it was while figuring in some absolute pearls of wisdom. One of my favorite lines is what the girl says to the boy as they're wandering off into the night: "You were right. There is no Devil. Just people."
The 2 young actors Kelly O'Neill ("Kylie") & Shane Curry ("Dylan") are, of course, what bring this film to life with a magical quality as only 2 genuine kids can display. It came as no surprise to me when I found out that these 2 were not actors. They were chosen from a bunch of kids that had been found at malls, schools and other such places. The result is a powerful film with a lot of honesty... not a pretentious art-house romp but an artistic film with real humanity.
If you enjoy meaningful "slice of life" movies as seen through the eyes of kids, then definitely check this one out. Also be on the lookout for "48 Angels" about a young boy who wanders off in search of Jesus, "Io non ho paura" ("I'm not afraid") about a boy who finds a deep hole where another boy is being held prisoner, the Wim Wenders classic "Alice in the Cities", and my favorite "Kikujiro" about a boy in search of his mother... accompanied by the grumpiest, foullest scoundrel in all of Japan.
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