She saw him in a dream—then, she saw him in the real world when she needed him most. The premise of Irish filmmaker Aoife McArdle's first feature film, Kissing Candice (not to be confused with the Long Island horror metal band of the same name), is improbable in the same way everything important is improbable when you're a teenager. Starring Ann Skelly in the titular role, Kissing Candice debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Friday, and a new clip debuted today on The Hollywood Reporter .
The film culminates McArdle's extensive repertoire of short films and music videos. Her work is typically beautifully shot, embracing the paradoxical relationships we have when we're young. Even when she shoots commercials, they're the kind that make YouTube commenters proclaim, "This is literally the only youtube ad I've ever watched the whole way through." [sic]
McArdle has also received props from heavyweights like Spike Jonze and Alejandro G. Iñarritu, who praised her short film for U2's "Every Breaking Wave" for its "size of life" and "fucking guts," respectively when it debuted on VICE's Creators in 2015. That film follows a Romeo and Juliet-like love affair between two kids on opposite sides of the Protestant-Catholic divide during the outburst of violence in 80s Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.
Kissing Candice also follows a romance across enemy lines. From the official TIFF description:
Seventeen-year-old Candice (Skelly) is a dreamer, and the dreams she has during her chronic seizures are the most lucid of all. In one, she meets a beautiful sleepwalking boy. It's a dream she can't shake off, especially given the nature of her reality. Candice longs to escape this gloomy seaside town still reeling from the disappearance of a local boy. "Things were a lot safer here during the Troubles," Candice's police detective father proclaims, referring to the violence regularly wreaked by a vicious gang. Candice's world seems to brighten when she meets a man who perfectly resembles her sleepwalker — until she learns he is part of the very gang her father is determined to abolish.