Cáit is a nine year-old girl from an over-crowded, dysfunctional and impoverished family. Quietly struggling at school and at home, she has learnt to hide in plain sight from those around her.As summer arrives and her pregnant mother’s due date approaches, Cáit is sent to live with distant relatives. Without knowing when she will return home, she is left at the strangers’ house with only the clothes she is wearing. The Kinsellas, a middle-aged couple she has never met, dress the girl in what clothes they have.They are farming people, like her own, but hard-working and wanting for nothing, it seems. Despite a warm reception from the woman, Eibhlín, the man of the house, Seán, keeps his distance from Cáit and she from him, but over time, their strained relationship begins to deepen.Slowly, in the care of the Kinsellas, Cáit blossoms and discovers a new way of living. But in this house where affection grows and there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one painful truth.

Director's Statement

THE QUIET GIRL (An Cailín Ciúin) is an Irish-language adaptation of the acclaimed story "Foster", written by Claire Keegan. First published in the New Yorker and declared “Best of the Year” by the magazine, the story was expanded and published as a standalone book by Faber & Faber in 2010. Writer/director Colm Bairéad first read "Foster" in the summer of 2018 and was immediately captured by the idea of adapting it as a film."Thematically, it touched upon so many areas of concern for me, things that had been present in my short drama work up to that point - the complex bonds of family, the question of emotional and psychological growth and, crucially, the phenomenon of grief and its capacity to shape us.From a formal perspective, the telling itself was immediately compelling - a first-person, present tense narrative told through the eyes of a young girl. It felt utterly immersive and empathetic and innately visual - so much of it, is what this girl is seeing and feeling moment to moment. The narrative tension of the story is completely derived from the girl’s experience, rather than from any over-reliance on plot. And that felt like an appealing challenge from a film-making perspective. The idea of shaping this girl’s experience and this being the overriding concern of the film, where the exploration of character and relationship dynamics was completely to the fore. But it was also the “smallness” of the story that I believed in. There’s a quote by Mark Cousins where he says that art shows us again and again that if we look closely and openly at a small thing, we can see a great deal in it.I’m very much drawn to this notion, that something quite expansive and profound can be found in small places, in a kind of narrative humility. More than anything else, however, it was the emotional undertow of the story that convinced me of its potential as a film. Its restraint - and its eventual cathartic release - mesmerised me and I could envision a film adaptation that might produce that same response in its audience."

Director's Biography

Writer/Director Colm Bairéad Colm was born in Dublin, Ireland and was raised bilingually through both Irish and English. He developed a fascination with film at a young age, which was cultivated by his father who introduced him to silent cinema, early Hollywood musicals and 40s noir once the household invested in a VCR player. Following an adolescence experimenting in the production of short films, Colm went on to the Dublin Institute of Technology to study film and broadcasting.His first commissioned short film after leaving college was MAC AN ATHAR (HIS FATHER'S SON), a semi-autobiographical film about an Irish-speaking family in Dublin, which enjoyed success on the international festival circuit. The film was funded, in part, by the national, Irish-language broadcaster, TG4 and marked the beginning of a long, continuing relationship with that organisation. Colm’s development as a director has been strongly supported by TG4 for over fifteen years.His Irish-language shorts have garnered awards worldwide and his extensive documentary output has earned him numerous international and Irish Film & Television Academy award nominations and wins. Colm is the recipient of a distinction from the Screen Directors’ Guild of Ireland for his “outstanding work as a director in the Irish language”. THE QUIET GIRL (An Cailín Ciúin) is Colm’s narrative feature film debut. The film premiered at the 72nd Berlinale where it won the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for Best Film. It opened the 2022 Dublin International Film Festival, winning the Audience Award and the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Irish Film. Colm also received an Aer Lingus Discovery Award during the festival. The film scooped 7 Irish Film & Television Academy Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress. Colm was also the recipient of the Screen Ireland-IFTA Rising Star Award. THE QUITE GIRL has become the highest-grossing Irish-language film of all time and has been one of the most critically and commercially successful Irish films of recent years.

2022 - THE QUIET GIRL, Feature
2020 - MCGUINNESS, Documentary
2018 - THE MAAMTRASNA MURDERS, Documentary
2015 - THE JOY, Documentary
2013 - AN CEOLDRÁMA, Documentary
2010 - AN TÁDH, Short
2005 - MAC AN ATHAR, Short

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Colm Bairéad

Written by: Colm Bairéad

Produced by: Cleona Ní Chrualaoi

Cinematography: Kate McCullough

Editing: John Murphy

Production Design: Emma Lowney

Costume Design: Louise Stanton

Make-Up & Hair: Linda Mooney, Avalina Mooney

Original Score: Stephen Rennicks

Sound: Steve Fanagan, John Brennan, Brendan Rehill

Cast: Carrie Crowley (Eibhlín), Andrew Bennett (Seán), Catherine Clinch (Cáit), Michael Patric (Da), Kate Nic Chonaonaigh (Mam), Joan Sheehy (Úna)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Cinematographer 2022
  • Feature Film Selection 2022