Over the past few years, Jack Reynor has used the movie sets he’s worked on as a sort of free film school.
“I’ve been really lucky throughout my whole career to have worked with great directors and people who have different strengths in different areas,” says the actor, whose credits include Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, and Ari Aster’s just released Midsommar. “I’ve interrogated all of them — to the point where they wanted to f—ing kill me — about their creative vision. I’ve learned from everybody.”
Reynor has now put that learning to good use, writing and directing the short film Bainne, which means “milk” in Irish. Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the film stars Reynor’s fellow Midsommar actor Will Poulter as a farmhand who encounters a ghostly female figure.
“It is a folk tale, which I read in a book by Lafcadio Hearn, an Irish author who lived in Japan,” says Reynor. “You might know Kwaidan, the 1964 film by Masaki Kobayashi, and that film is based on a couple of stories from Lafcadio Hearne’s book of the same name. I came across some of his essays, and in one of his essays I found just a really short folktale, that’s just one paragraph, and it’s essentially the bones of the story that you see in the short. I got writing on it, pulled it together last year, and was lucky enough to have Will Poulter come over [to Ireland] and play the lead role.”
“Will plays a nameless man who’s suffering through the later stages of the famine,” Reynor continues. “He works at a big colonial house out in the country, he’s one of the people who’s been lucky enough to keep his position as a farm hand. He’s toiling away to try and keep his wife alive after they’ve lost their child and he encounters this mysterious figure.”
Bainne is premiering at the Galway Film Fleadh in Ireland, July 13, and will likely debut in the U.S. at a film festival later in the year. Sky Arts (which co-produced the film with Screen Ireland) will broadcast the short in Ireland and the U.K. in early 2020.
Exclusively watch the trailer for Bainne, above.