Ill Fares The Land (2023)
Mermaids. Migrants. And the Far-Right. A young boy finds a mermaid washed up on the shores of his seaside home while his older brother is swept up in the rising tide of far-right nationalism.
Ill Fares The Land is a contemporary fantasy-drama that explores the ‘migrant crisis’ and the rise of the far-right in a small seaside town in England. Centered around the relationship between two brothers, the film blends together gritty drama with folk fantasy and social commentary.
Ill Fares The Land has racked up a string of positive reviews from critics, noted for its deep themes (racism, alienation, familial love) and striking imagery. Indie Shorts Mag, UK Film Review, Short Films Matter, Take 2 Indie Review and Indie Film Critics all awarded the film ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ calling it “perhaps the best film this writer has seen this year”, “powerful and poignant, pressing all the right hot button issues”, “an innovative and bold tale” and that “writer and director Patrick Ireland transcends beyond being an accomplished filmmaker in this ambitious fantasy drama".
The mermaid in the film acts as a metaphor for the asylum seekers currently making the perilous journey across the English channel to reach the shores of Britain, only to be met with hatred and violence from large swathes of the native population. Fuelled by a right-wing media and collapsing living standards, these people have become lost to fascism – and alienated from their own humanity. But what lies at the heart of the film is the commonality between asylum seekers and the working-class communities that have turned against them. Pain.
Written & Directed by Patrick Ireland
Produced by Annabella Casaburi, Jessica Romagnoli & Patrick Ireland
Starring Noah Silverstone, Ruaridh Adlington, Smilla Erlandson, Thomas Devlin, Boo Miller, Eddie Chamberlin & Mark Keegan