Influences can come in all shapes and sizes and, sometimes, even when you think the path of your life is set, something can point you in a completely different direction.
At Meme’s place, played by the wonderful Miriam Margolyes (Early Man, Harry Potter), every performer in Paris has a place. From jugglers to singers to ventriloquists, they all have a drink and a place to stay.
Amongst this hubbub is Mirette, played by the extraordinarily talented Dixie Egerickx (Genius (TV), The Little Stranger), who toils peeling potatoes and mopping floors.
That is until Jean-Marc Desmond (Boomerang, Bye Bye Blondie) arrives and begins practising his wire walking in the back-yard. For Desmond is the great Bellini, the walker who once went across Niagara Falls, stopping halfway to make an omelette.
Mirette is enticed by this extraordinary talent and, because Bellini won’t teach her, she begins to teach herself how to be a wirewalker. Eventually Bellini agrees to help after seeing how far she has got on her own.
But, Bellini has a secret, he’s been off-the-grid for a while and, when the agent Tom Conti (Paddington 2, Shirley Valentine) reveals his secret, it isn’t clear if Bellini is helping Mirette, or Mirette is helping Bellini.
Writer and director Helen O’Hanlon (How To Be A Villain) has created a wonderful second short film based on Emily Arnold McCully’s acclaimed children’s book, full of joy and hope and with a fantastic performance from Egerickx at its heart.
Sure, Margolyes is criminally underused and it’s always a delight to see Conti on screen so more of him wouldn’t have gone amiss. But this is nit-picking, Mirette is a beautiful film.
Paris of old looks great on screen and Meme’s place looks a fantastic bohemian place to stay, exactly the sort of place these characters would be.
I’m sure we’re going to see more of Both Egerickx and O’Hanlon and that, by a long way, is no bad thing.