Cillian Murphy 'fallen women' drama to open Berlin Film Festival

Cillian Murphy ‘fallen women’ drama to open Berlin Film Festival

/ 03:18 PM January 19, 2024

Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy attends the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards, in Santa Monica, California, Jan. 14, 2024. Image: Reuters/Aude Guerrucci/File Photo

BERLIN—”Small Things Like These,” an Irish historical drama about Magdalene laundries starring Cillian Murphy in the midst of his award-winning streak as “Oppenheimer,” will open the Berlin Film Festival next month, organizers said in a statement on Thursday, Jan. 18.

With the Murphy-led film, the festival known for being more overtly political is bringing in a massive dose of star power ahead of the Oscars, at which “Oppenheimer” looks likely to come away handsomely based on its triumphs at the Golden Globes.


“With ‘Small Things Like These,’ Tim Mielants tells the story of a man of few words, with wide open eyes, as clear as the skies of Ireland,” said festival co-director Carlo Chatrian.


“Small Things Like These” is set in 1985 and follows a coal merchant, played by Murphy, as he learns about the Magdalene laundries for “fallen young women” in his town.

Based on a 2021 book of the same name by Claire Keegan, the film will reunite Murphy with director Mielants after working together on the hit historical crime drama “Peaky Blinders” and also features “Game of Thrones'” Michelle Fairley, Emily Watson of “God’s Creatures” and Eileen Walsh.

The laundries, which have also been depicted in the award-winning film “The Magdalene Sisters,” starring Walsh, put 10,000 women and girls as young as nine through uncompromising hardship from the foundation of the Irish state in 1922 until 1996.

Run by Catholic nuns, the laundries have been accused of treating inmates like slaves, imposing a regime of fear and prayer on girls sometimes put in their care for becoming pregnant outside marriage. One in 10 inmates died.

“Small Things Like These,” of which Murphy is also a producer, along with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, will also be in competition for the Berlinale top prize, said the festival.

The 74th Berlin Film Festival runs from Feb. 15 to 25. AP

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TAGS: Berlin Film Festival, Cillian Murphy

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