Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Running time: 94 minutes
Ratcatcher (1999) is Scottish director Lynne Ramsay's spellbindingly gritty and lyrical debut about life in a Glasgow tenement during the rubbish strikes of the mid 1970s. Continuing the themes explored in her earlier, highly-acclaimed shorts, which evoked family life and the fragility of childhood, it follows the story of James (William Eadie), a pale and sensitive 12 year-old boy whose life takes on new meaning after he sees his friend drown in the local canal after semi-accidentally pushing him in. Scared to tell anyone, James roams around the neighbourhood, hanging out with his two other friends: Kenny, a sad boy who keeps a little white mouse for company and Margaret Anne, an older girl whose loneliness and need to be loved leads her into trouble with the local gang. All the while, the rubbish bags start to accumulate in the streets and the rats move in. James' guilt leads to tension with his violent and alcoholic father with whom he lives, along with his mum and two sisters, in one of the city's older and more rundown estates. The city is transforming, however, rehousing its tenants in the newly-built housing developments that James has explored on the edge of town, lending hope to his guilt-ridden existence. Despite its bleak storyline, however, Ratcatcher's hauntingly beautiful images manage to transcend its portrayal of quotidian, inner-city life and the film's sharp humour and deep sense of humanity make it beguiling and unforgettable to watch. Ramsay claims she is an intuitive filmmaker, who doesn't like things to be too black and white, and Ratcatcher remains open to the end. Although never enjoying a wide cinematic release, the film received a host of awards including The Carl Foreman Award for Newcomer in British Film at the BAFTA Awards, the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival and the Silver Hugo for Best Director at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.