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Jordan’s Ondine Netted by Magnolia

I caught Neil Jordan’s Ondine at the Toronto Int.Film Festival last September, and the first after-thought I had was, this’ll be a tough sell. Not that the fabric of the film is off-putting — you have your male lead in Colin Farrell, that I think people are generally interested in watching, but then you have a Sigur Ros singing mermaid, a divorced parent subplot with a spirited child years beyond her age stuck in a wheel chair (there is a resemblance to Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo) and you have antagonistic forces in the presence of a pair of thugs plotting their presence in a picturesque village that awkwardly don’t measure up.

I caught Neil Jordan’s Ondine at the Toronto Int.Film Festival last September, and the first after-thought I had was, this’ll be a tough sell. Not that the fabric of the film is off-putting — you have your male lead in Colin Farrell, that I think people are generally interested in watching, but then you have a Sigur Ros singing mermaid, a divorced parent subplot with a spirited child years beyond her age stuck in a wheel chair (there is a resemblance to Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo) and you have antagonistic forces in the presence of a pair of thugs plotting their presence in a picturesque village that awkwardly don’t measure up. Not even Christopher Doyle’s lensing can chip away at the film’s uneven tone: at times you’d think this is strictly child’s play but then you’re reminded that this for the adults: Alicja Bachleda plays the modern day mermaid who is truly thankful for her studly savior.

Movieline got the scoop that Magnolia has grabbed the pic, for an eventual release this year. Written by Jordan, this tells the story of a fisherman played by Colin Farrell) in southwest Ireland who hauls up a live girl (Alicja Bachleda) in his nets. Ondine is a mythological sea nymph, and theories about the girl’s origins blossom as she transforms the lives of the fisherman and local townsfolk.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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