Rob Ulitski - 28th Apr 2020

A man comes face-to-face with his shadow for the first time in Sinéad McDevitt's stunning visual for Mick Flannery. 

Devastated from past mistakes, the man - played by Steve Wall - is spiralling out of control. Haunted by memories of a steamy affair with a woman in the backseat of his car, he attempts to walk away from his problems. But he is followed by another version of himself, and things lead to an unexpected and poignant climax. 

Shot in dreary black and white, the mood is very much reflected in the aesthethic, with DoP Ashley Barron contrasting expansive, lonely shots of the landscape with up-close, uncomfortably intimate portraits. 

Sinéad Mcdevitt:

"When I first listened to Wasteland, it hit me in the belly with a wallop. F**k that's powerful. Mick's new song spoke straight to that universal struggle between inner and outer self- inner self calling out for attention whilst the outer self shoves it away.

"I started writing the treatment and as I listened more and more, I was reminded of the older men in my life. The generation who embody that stoic, outer ‘performative’ self – with the inner, softer, more vulnerable self hidden away somewhere. Growing up on the northside of Dublin through the '80s and '90s, I certainly felt – even as a child – the social expectation upon men to act as financial provider/'head of the family' and remain stoic, no matter the circumstances.

"Any open disclosure of mental health struggles, restrictive gender roles or repressed childhood injury would've been alien, maybe even taboo, to the vast majority of men and women– certainly in the 80s. I imagine that suffering in silence with depression or addiction must have felt (and still feels to this day) like an isolated emotional wasteland.

"And so as Mick sang, the story of an everyday man running from his pain through a Tarkovskian landscape played out in my mind. I saw it set in '80s recessionary Ireland; shot in black and white to represent the timeless theme and polarity in conscious versus unconscious. Key film references for the piece included 'Shame' by Steve McQueen and 'Song of Granite' by Pat Collins among others.

"As for casting – we couldn't have asked for a more perfect fit than Steve Wall in the lead role. Star of recent Chet Baker feature 'My Foolish Heart' and upcoming Ridley Scott series 'Raised by Wolves' among many others, Steve is a master of nuanced micro-expression with an incredible dexterity of emotional range. It was a director's dream to work with him on set.

"Wasteland has been an epic labour of love. It was made on a shoestring from beginning to end with an incredibly talented and generous cast, crew and team. My hope for our film is that it might light a spark inside the audience – a little reminder that underneath our self-sabotaging or self-destructive human behaviours lies the simple truth that we're all worthy of love, maybe even the hidden bits the most."

Credits

DirectorSinéad McDevitt
ProducerSeamus Waters
Production CompanyBold Puppy
1st ADJim Corr
Director of PhotographyAshley Barron ACS
Focus PullerMeagan Spellman
Focus PullerJp Quill
2nd ACAoife Quinn
GafferLuke Daly
Art DirectorClaire Morrissey
WardrobeAnne O'Shea
WardrobeIseult Deane
Hair & Make-upBer Drennan
EditorKris Rowe
Editing companyKris Rowe
ColouristAngela Cerasi
Grading companyPeachy Keen Colour
Post ProducerSinéad McDevitt
VFXBeto Prado (minor Vfx)
VFXPiers Mcdonald (minor Compositing)
Lead actorSteve Wall
CommissionerBlue Grace Music
LabelBlue Grace Music
Other creditsSound Designer: Abigail Sie At Song Zu Additional Photography: Kevin Minogue Camera Assistant: Donnagh Fitzpatrick Sound Recordist: Anthony Egan PA: Kevin Henry, Emmet Gallagher Special Thanks: Vast Valley, Cine-Electric, Wexford Arts Office

Rob Ulitski - 28th Apr 2020

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