Stars: Catrin Stewart, Dyfan Dwyfor, Carwyn Glyn, Sharon Morgan, Ryland Teifi | Written by Fflur Dafydd | Directed by Euros Lyn
I have to admit, I’ve never really taken notice if a film is Welsh, but The Library Suicides (aka Y Llyfrgell) is different. Actually, in Welsh, it stands out as a film that feels more a part of Nordic Noir than British in style and manages to be something a bit different and special.
When famous author Elena Wdig (Sharon Morgan) commits suicide, she leaves her twin daughters, librarians Ana and Nan (both played by Catrin Stewart) to deal with the loss. Her final words to them suggest the name of a man who may have murdered her, leading them to look for revenge.
One thing that is noticeable about The Library Suicides is the theme of duality. While to go too far into what happens in the movie would spoil the experience, it is fair to say that duality is a fairly important theme. The twins have a certain way of mirroring each other, especially at the start of the film, but it is as the story progresses that we see the differences between the two.
This duality between Ana and Nan is also important to the main story as well. The secrets that are revealed, and Wdig’s own personal demons may be masked by our lack of knowledge of what actually happened, but as the film progresses we see that even history itself has a certain duality. The more we know, the less the events in the present and in the past can mirror each other though, even if the conclusion feels in a strange way relatively similar to how the film begins.
What makes The Library Suicides stand out is the performance, especially from Catrin Stewart. Playing the parts of the twins well, her nuanced performance creates two characters that are both spookily similar but also just different enough for us to know which is which. While the film could have gone down a fairly formulaic path with this similarity that it creates, I’m glad it didn’t.
This is where The Library Suicides feels more like a Nordic Noir movie than a typical movie that we come to expect coming the UK. We are presented with a story that at first may seem a little basic, but we can tell that there is more bubbling under the surface. The more we learn about the twins and the dead writer, the more is revealed. What we believe is true, is in fact very much different from what actually happened.
In between all the seriousness of the planned revenge, we also have the character of Dan (Dyfan Dwyfor) the guard who was not meant to be there. A slacker whose easy-going nature not only messes up the plot, but also leads to a different conclusion to it is somewhat of a darkly fashioned comic relief. Played well by Dwyfor, at times he almost steals the movie from Catrin Stewart, but it is the chemistry between the two which keeps things interesting.
The Library Suicides is a film that is well worth watching, especially because it’s something a little different that deserves recognition. Proudly Welsh, it may seem strange that it features subtitles, but in truth I’d question why we don’t see more Welsh movies take this route. If you are a fan of Nordic Noir, this is well worth checking out, even if its routes are very much in the UK.
The Library Suicides is available on DVD in the UK now from Soda Pictures.