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UK, 1999 (MIFF 2000, International Panorama)

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Ratcatcher makes you see the world with a clearer vision, revealing layers beneath the surface, capturing the richness of everyday life. The film is set in a tattered Glasgow during a 1970s garbage strike Stinking refuse piles up around rundown council flats, ominously encroaching on the inhabitant's lives. Twelve year old James witnesses a tragic accident as the film opens: a child drowning in a canal that runs through director Lynne Ramsay's multi-award winning, haunting elegy to innocence lost.

The tender relationship that develops between James and gawky Margaret-Anne, together with his hard-drinking father and laconic but good-natured mother, forms the basis for a deeply affecting first film. Sly, spiky humour, the extraordinary sense of colour that ripples through it and superb naturalistic performances make Ratcatcher a tribute to the indestructible desire to change the world and escape into a kinder, more forgiving place. A triumph.

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