Dylan Ania Winiarska

Dylan Ania Winiarska
It feels strange to get a child's perspective growing up in hostile, poverty-stricken Belfast, Ireland and call it a documentary, but this is precisely what filmmaker Ania Winiarska did. Dylan follows the titular 14-year-old throughout his dilapidated neighbourhood, capturing his most intimate thoughts of life through first-person interviews and confessionals on the fly.

Winiarska captures the grit and squalor of Dylan's surroundings, intensifying it by shooting the entire 27-minute film with a Canon 5D MK II SLR camera rather than with a fancy HD unit. The resulting gloomy visuals intensify the sadness and sense of hopelessness this boy faces as he encounters bullying, troubles at his special school and his impoverished home life.

One of the most captivating moments occurs when we see Dylan hanging out with a much older group of kids in a back alley, sucking back cheap alcohol while a shirtless, middle-aged homeless man parties with them. This disturbing, borderline pedophilic juxtaposition generates a profound sense of foresight that looms over this "day in the life" documentary, giving us a likely ending to a difficult story.

This guiding voice gives focus to an important social issue that, for the most part, is ignored. (NFTS)