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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Parked (Gestrandet)

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Starts November 29

Original language: Irish English

In this quiet Irish film, two outsiders help each other, although only one successfully changes his life. Fred (Colm Meaney) and Cathal (Colin Morgan) are unemployed and would be homeless, except that they each have a car to “live” in.  They were destined to meet, since they parked their cars in the same parking lot. Fred is about 50 and obviously used to better times. His car is perfectly organized with toothbrush and laundry and groceries in the right places. He delicately and precisely repairs clocks. Cathal is 21, and a skaghead addicted to heroin, although he initially hides his habit from Fred. Fred can’t find a job; has trouble with welfare offices, and is ashamed of his situation, and therefore shy and lonesome. Cathal helps Fred crawl out of his shell. Deep down Cathal is also lonesome, although he seems to have no qualms about doing outrageous things and tempting fate. Sometimes Fred has to protect him from his own craziness as well as from drug dealers looking to collect debts. The film follows the friendship of two unequal people who share an equal fate. Then they meet Juliana (Milka Ahlroth) a music teacher who has lost her husband.

Normally, I have little patience for the down and out, who can’t get it together, but here both Fred and Cathal seem truly to be victims of their situations and they are doing the best they can. I enjoyed watching them learn from each other for the betterment of each. The film ends on a very small positive, but still uplifting, note. Maybe mankind isn’t so hopeless after all. In real life, this prime-property parking lot on the coast of Dublin overlooking the Irish Sea would have been patrolled by police who would have encouraged the men to drive on. Luckily, they are allowed to stay (even to receive meals on wheels) and we can chose to enjoy the beautiful scenery when the suffering of Fred and Cathal become too nerve-wracking. 

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