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Sing Street
by Karen Pecota

Filmmaker John Carney  writes and directs another ode to music for the silver screen in his latest  project Sing Street. A believer that music has the power to breath life  into a dying soul, Carney shines a light on the musicians as well as the music.  It's those who make the music that help to take the soul to a place where it  needs refreshing. To dream a little.

Carney says, "I  wanted to do something that was personal. I didn't want to just be doing a  musical story for the sake of it." He adds, "I am inspired to show a  world where music has the power to take us away from the turmoil of everyday  life." He continues, "And, transforms us into something  greater." The film is based heavily on Carney's own high-school experiences.  The only difference was that his family was not in a state of shambles like his  film characters.

His love for music and  the nostalgia puts Carney's Sing Street in the middle of Ireland's music  scene in the 1980s. Along with its social and fashion mores that dictated  Dublin's culture. Producer Anthony Bregman parallels Carney's growing up years  when he himself formed a school band. Carney's journey during his teenage years  parallels his main character Conor (Ferdia Wlash-Peelo): fighting off being  bullied by students and headmasters, reasons for forming a school band, along  with winning-over the cool girl.

Bregman says, "A  rite of passage story with strong romantic elements and a film built on the  musical foundations of 1980s British bands, Sing Street delivers an  honest and moving perspective on the perils and wonders of teenage life."  He adds, "The idea of a fresh and yet innocent romance blossoming between  the two lead characters, was a dynamic I had not seen in filmmaking for a long  time."

The talk of U2 helping  Carney with this film is true. Carney asked for their help because he wanted to  know what it was like from their experience how a good youth band begins and  succeeds to great heights. Carney shares, "Bono and Edge were really  helpful early on, in the development stage." Their help came in the form  of pitching story ideas, talking about bands in the '80s, and talking about  youth. They'd say, "If this kid's band is going to succeed, here's what  it's like." U2 was and is successful, so they would know best. Carney sincerely  gleaned from their assistance.

In contrast to  Carney's development of a teenage crush, he adds the profound impact on  children when marriages began to fall apart during this era in Ireland's  history. Divorce was not allowed in Ireland at the time.

Carney recalls,  "It's [Sing Street] really, a 'before and after' story, which is set in  80s Dublin. It was a time of recession and immigration. A time when even the  very rich or those who should have had money didn't have cash." Adding,  "People were forced to think a little bit differently in terms of what  clothes they wore and how they expressed themselves through how they  looked."


The life of  14-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) has been turned upside down when his  dad, Robert (Aidan Gillen), looses his job. This hardship puts a strain  on the finances and the family relationships. The undue stress forces  uncomfortable choices and consequences.

Raised in Dublin's  posh private education system Conor is forced to enroll in an inner-city public  school known as Synge Street School. The school his dad, attended years  earlier. Nothing like the reputation his dad recalls because from day one,  Conor encounters the inexcusable hardships of being the new kid, from the posh  private school.

No  matter how compliant, kind and honest Conor tries to be in his new environment  he is forever at odds with someone from his new school. Under the guidance from  his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor), Conor is advised to start a band to  avoid the daily drama and mistreatment. Knowing nothing about the music world,  he takes on the challenge after he meets Raphina (Lucy Boynton), asks her to be  in his music video that's filming in four days. Conor changes his name to Cosmo  and the adventure of his life begins.