IRISH DIRECTOR RUTH MEEHAN FOUND CATHARSIS BY MAKING A FILM ABOUT BREAST CANCER

19. 9. 2021, 11:00
MFF Praha - Febiofest

“THE TOPIC CHOSE ME,” SAID THE IRISH FILM DIRECTOR RUTH MEEHAN DURING THE POST-SCREENING DEBATE, WHEN SHE WAS ASKED WHY SHE CHOSE THE STORY OF A WOMAN WITH BREAST CANCER FOR HER FEATURE DEBUT.

Both my sister and my best friend died of this disease; the film is dedicated to them. I decided to go to India to disconnect for a bit, and I bought a book by Anne Gildea at the airport. Gildea is a stand-up comedian who talks about her experience with breast cancer. She was able to write about it with a sense of humour which I found very refreshing. It was also quite similar to my late sister’s sense of humour,” said Ruth Meehan, whose film The Bright Side has been selected as a contender in Febiofest’s Main Competition.

She then took the story of a young comedian whose diagnosis forces her to face her life head-on, and directed it as a drama. “I use humour as a crutch to help me deal with difficult, painful issues. I know from experience that it can be truly liberating when you’re dealing with pain and grief,” the director said, adding that working on The Bright Side was cathartic for her.

She says that for the lead role, she was looking for someone who looked like her sister. “And in the end I cast an actress who looks nothing like her, and who is younger than the character in the screenplay,” she revealed. Prague IFF – Febiofest is the first festival to show the film in a cinema, not online. The audience at the debate learned about the regenerative effect of fly-fishing and rowing on the lymphatic system, about the original ending of the film, and about what the author of the book thought about the film. “We sent Anne every version of the screenplay, and she loves the film we made. She thinks it’s emotionally truthful,” Ruth Meehan said.

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