Kisses, directed by Lance Daly (The Halo Effect, Last Days in Dublin), and featuring newcomers Kelly O’Neill (Kylie) and Shane Curry (Dylan), is the story of two children, Kylie and Dylan, who run away from home in a bid to escape their problematic families, but find themselves in even more trouble on the streets of inner city Dublin. One of the most striking visual aspects of Daly’s film is the use (or non-use) of colour: the film actually begins as a black and white piece, gradually blossoming into colour as the children leave behind the drab surroundings of their estate and escape to the bright lights of the city. The colour here is not just representative of the city itself, of course, but of the temporary happiness and excitement which freedom brings, and the kindness displayed by both characters for each other. The colourful escapades which these children experience is a stark reminder of their youth and naivety which, we realise, has been too often extinguished by troubling issues on the home front: Dylan’s Dad is an aggressive drunk, responsible for Dylan’s older brother’s disappearance from home some years earlier, while Kylie has her own demons to face in the form of an abusive uncle. As disturbing as these revelations are, Daly has managed to infuse the film with enough warmth and integrity to keep our hopes alive and avoid depressing the viewers. This is largely due to wonderful performances by the two young actors, who, having been randomly plucked from their schoolyards, bring a natural charisma to their roles. In the face of the many dangers which they encounter on the streets of Dublin, they are resilient and determined to stick by one another, yet for all their self-sufficiency, their innocence is still plain to see. While some moments in the film may seem implausible, such as the children’s journey downstream on a canal boat used for dredging rubbish, Daly does not wait too long to give the magical trip a dose of reality. It is this mixture of wonder and innocence encased within the cold actuality of the adult world that results in such a memorable film. Watch out too for a cameo by Stephen Rea as a Dylan impersonator!