Four Seasons in a Day (2021, Annabel Verbeke)

Hot Docs ‘21

Belgian director Annabel Verbeke received the Emerging International Filmmaker Award at Hot Docs for her second feature. This documentary covers the ferry that traverses the Carlingford Lough back and forth between Northern Ireland (UK) and the Republic of Ireland. Many subjects are interviewed or followed which makes for a diverse representation. However, it also limits the personable aspect as sometimes we do not get enough screen time with certain people in order to get to know their stories.

Although not named, the family that stands out to me is family comprised of a mother, father, and two sons. They are Protestant and the children play with Catholic children; the father explained that he was unable to play with Catholics when he was a child, because of the religious conflict.

Later in the film, a group of kids explain that they don’t know anything about Brexit and would rather be playing on their tablets. Brexit is definitely a topic that is discussed throughout the film, with most people interviewed preferring no hard borders.

The most powerful part of the documentary for me was the explanation of the Irish flag. Green represented Ireland, white stood for peace, and orange was for Protestants and dissenters. Peace was meant to unite the green and the orange.

Overall, I think the target demographic would be people already familiar with Brexit and the situation between North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, because not much context is given. However, its sparseness and slice-of-life style is perfect for those who are drawn to cinéma verité.

Article was written by Allison McCulloch, follow her Twitter.

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