Synopsis: Eggs and Soldiers: A single Irish Dad forgets to buy the tree on Christmas Eve. Ned the older son’s humanity is challenged as he risks everything to have his younger brother Marco experience a real Irish Christmas.
Eggs and Soldiers is about broken people trying to stay alive in a broken system. Nobody is perfect and everyone in one way or another has different sets of issues.
The title comes from a food game from Ireland and England where you cut the bread to look like soldiers and then dip the soldiers in the egg. It was to help get children to eat their food. I have been developing this project and in terms of visual references I used Gary Oldman’s Nil By Mouth as a starting point. We used a lot of long lenses to create the world of the characters. The tone of the film has a rugged and gritty feel to it. We shot mostly in Washington Heights in New York City. The colors in the world were muted greys and browns.
Christian wants his younger son Marco who is biracial to experience a real Irish Christmas. He buys Selection Boxes, Christmas Crackers and plum pudding which is what a typical Irish Christmas would be like back in Ireland. Christian even manages to mess that up when he forgets to buy the tree and bring it home. Christian drinks himself out of despair to alleviate the constant haunting of this displacement and the struggles of being a single parent.
During the fight sequence we used a hand held camera to show the destabilization of Ned’s world. The series does include evocative visual angles, vibrant use of shadow and light with cinematography that alternates between tranquil and edgy. Christian is living on the edge and I wanted the camera to emulate this edginess.
Director’s Artist Statement
As a writer and filmmaker I play with the borders between my relationships to reality, mystery and tension. The act of seeing and how story unfolds in the narrative. I am chasing subconscious thoughts that inform imagination and behavior and how they intertwine.
My intention is to engage viewers, lure them into a world on the surface that appears joyful but underneath I create a subtext that destabilizes the viewer using words and images as counterpoint in aesthetic and tone. When I work I begin with words but then delve deeper into images. Wallace Stevens says, “the poem is the cry of its occasion.” Poems have always been blue prints for me, in poems time is condensed and moments have more clarity. Later on when I am editing the footage I have another opportunity to reshape my ideas.
As a child growing up in Catholic Ireland I spent a lot of time climbing trees and dreaming myself out of the countryside. I invented stories and characters shaping a fictional universe they could inhabit. It is this transcendental space that drew me into a point of creating my own work process and practice. I believe creating is a form of meditation. Imelda O’Reilly.