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Do mam-droids dream of electric sheeple? Mother’s wit is a lot sharper than this article’s opening gambit, yet at its heart this is perhaps what the Galway Film Centre/RTÉ Short Film Commission is asking in its darkly comedic take on the perpetual struggle between woman and machine. Premiering in 2018 at the Galway Film Fleadh, the Dublin short went on to win both best Short Film Runner-up at the Dublin Feminist Film Festival and best short film at Clones Film Festival in 2019. This week it is also screening at the Dublin International Comedy Film Festival, from 3rd to 4th December.
Put together by collaborators director Natasha Waugh (Terminal) and writer Jonathan Hughes (The Young Offenders), Mother tells the story of hard-working housewife Grace, played by Hilary Rose (The Young Offenders), who finds herself in competition for the affections of her family when her husband, Chris (Lochlann O’Mearáin) arrives home with a newly-purchased fridge freezer. Without stopping for breath the short takes a fantastic plunge into the absurd with the kitchen appliance becoming a fully-fledged member of the household, taking Grace’s place on the sofa.
Mother packs a lot into its nine-minute run-time, some of which needs to be seen to be believed. This includes the fridge taking on the role of a noir villain, startling Grace at every turn. Hilary Rose puts in a fantastic turn as the paranoid (but probably with good reason) heroine, the only one who resists the allure of the seemingly benign appliance, while there are some laugh-out loud moments between the fridge and Chris, and brilliant performances from Robyn Dempsey and Charlie Geelon as the children who are disturbingly smitten with their new “mother.”
As well as a screening of Mother alongside the festival’s other comedy shorts, director Natasha Waugh and writer Jonathan Hughes will feature on the Dublin International Comedy Film Festival’s roundtable Q&As which will be shown live over zoom.