Anyone who frequents Dublin’s inner city knows to whom this title refers; a particular social group who walk the streets wearing obnoxiously brightly-coloured pyjamas. These girls are not from one particular area of Dublin but often seem to be found near Dublin City Council flats. Maya Derrington’s intimate documentary chooses one such girl and follows her for a few months in2009.
The wonderful thing about Pyjama Girls is that it does not try to be shocking, it doesn’t try to attack the culture that bred these girls, it doesn’t try to condescend to anyone; the film merely shows, very personally, the lives that these girls lead. Our leading lady, Lauren, while not always likeable, is brave and honest and clearly never allows the camera to influence her actions and reactions. She proves a perfect subject as she hides nothing, nor is she ashamed of anything. Her reasoning for wearing pyjamas is slightly odd though, as she claims they wear them around “the flats” because they are like one big house and it feels normal to just wear your pyjamas around. So why wear them into town? Who knows? That question was left unanswered, but the film alludes to the idea that society cares little for these girls so they care little for society’s norms. This may be a rather grandiose claim, but one that may, in some way, be true.
Personally I was expecting a documentary about the phenomenon of the pyjama girls and how widespread it is, but what this film does is far more intimate. Perhaps my questions about these girls who swarm all over my local Spar were left largely unanswered, but the content itself is sincere and touching enough to make up for that and this is ultimately and engaging and enjoyable human drama.
- Charlene Lydon