FADING AWAY || 2015, Ireland || Drama || Directed by – Edwina Casey, David Johnston, Lisa Winstanley / Written by – Viko Nikci / Produced by – Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Grace Coughlan, Alan Fitzpatrick, Andrew Loughran, Dave Minogue, Conor Murphy / Music by – The Minutes / Cinematography – Bianca Grudinschi / Editing – Eamon Cahill / Production design – Margot Cullen / Starring – Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Mark Austin, Emma Eliza Regan, Kate Stanley Brennan / Running time: 85 mins.
Fading Away is the typical film made by film school students as part of absurd structures of end of the year projects. The film school in question is Irish and it’s called Filmbase. For years it has been placing three promising filmmakers in the unenviable position of co-directing a feature film that is then ensured some level of exposure, especially on a national scale. Usually, these are films that rely on comedic structures but, despite the involuntary humour of Fading Away, this one specimen seems to take itself quite seriously, as it tells the story of Leila, singer songwriter who entertains dreams in making it big with her band by stealing what she believes a kick-ass forgotten tune from the indie Dublin scene of a bunch of years ago. Haunted by regret, remorse, and a good deal of substance abuse.
To Irish audiences in particular, the story will recall an episode of the the deeply influential sitcom Father Ted, in which the leading duo enter the Eurosong contest. Of course, the film’s intentions are presumably very far from being comedic. Its narrative disintegration could have been incredibly interesting on an arthouse level, if it hadn’t been so carelessly put together, perhaps the element which most highlights a fundamental creative divergence in the directing team. Or perhaps the problem is that it ultimately constantly feels as if it is lowering its own standards, without giving into excesses albeit awkwardly and half heartedly.
Substandard overall production values make the whole excercise even more unrewarding. The top quality music score by Dublin three-man rock band The Minutes is one step above everything else. As for the usual low budget excuse, it simply doesn’t hold. Countless features are made for almost no money every year all over the world, features that are far more worthy of exposure than this. The most dreadful part of the film, however, is that occasionally its sparks of creativity reveal some degree of ambition in the vision, but all this does in the end is make it seem even more of a sadly wasted opportunity. – 1/5