Pavee Lackeen (Traveller Girl) Review

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Following the lives of a traveller family in one of the poorest areas of Dublin, through the eyes of a ten year old girl, we see the day to day interferences - both well and ill intentioned - that they face.


Drawing on observations made while compiling his photo book Pony Kids, Perry Ogden’s directorial debut elliptically chronicles the travails of a traveller family living in a desolate district of Dublin. In viewing the endless round of poverty, bigotry and interference (from well-wishers, bureaucrats and busybodies alike) through the eyes of ten year-old Winnie Maughan, Ogden invites comparison with the Dardenne brothers’ Rosetta. But the digital imagery is even more pared down here and there’s a greater sense of lives being lived, as the Maughans are essentially playing themselves.

Consequently, more consciously dramatic incidents like Winnie’s expulsion from school and the family’s eviction from its roadside squat feel less authentic than the informal coverage of Winnie’s shoplifting, substance abuse and innocent attempts to amuse herself. Unflinching, but never preachy.

Compassionate but never patronising observational docudrama that benefits from a keen sense of place and splendidly natural performances from the largely non-professional cast.