The national collective consciousness – what a sublime thing, eh? There are some moments that resonate with entire nations. The Great British Bake Off results. The USA Presidential election results. Micro and macro, but they capture our attention. Regardless of the fact that America has just elected a cartoon character, I feel more than ever connected to my fellow huwomans right now.
Kev Cahill’s short film The Nation Holds Its Breath resonates for this reason. It captures the impact of collective investment in one cause, both from the personal and public and the intersection of the two. The pregnancy ward of a hospital is the perfect setting for this idea to flourish in, being a place where the personal process of giving birth is nurtured and supported by unrelated people. Add the fact that it’s set on June 25th 1990 in Ireland – the first year Ireland qualified for the football quarter finals – on match day, adds an entirely wider set of interests to the situation. And a lot of potential for comedy.
Centred around a lovely Irish couple’s journey into birthing (we open with them doing breathing techniques on the sofa whilst watching the football commentary on the box), The Nation Holds Its Breath is instantly relatable for its down-to-earth tone combined with caricatured moments of comedy. The man is desperate to watch the match but at the same time concerned with his wife’s impending labour. When they rush off to hospital, it is apparent that everyone else there is equally as invested in the game and can’t believe the irony of people going into labour, or being ill, on match day. The midwives are particularly incredulous. And through this comedy, herein lies the power of the film: the joys of life are as important as the “big things.” Human nature is tough, resilient, and at every moment will seek out lightness.
The film is a product of a collaboration between The Weinstein Company and Lexus called Lexus Short Films which nurtures emerging filmmakers through short filmmaking. It’s truly an injection of fresh energy in what could be seen as a bleak week.