Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s films often have recurring themes of death and the response to grief told through images and music rather than dialogue. Not surprisingly, her first field of study was photography, then direction and cinematography at the National Film and Television School. Ramsay’s final school project, the short film Small Deaths (1996), won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, and she won again the next year for Gasman (1998).
Her feature debut, Ratcatcher (1999), garnered several awards, screened at Cannes and was the opening night feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival. In 2007, she placed as #12 on the Guardian Unlimited’s list of the “40 Best Working Directors.” Despite acclaim, Ramsay has never rested on her laurels, saying, “You have to keep going or this industry will roll over you and leave you for dead.” Her best-known film, We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), about a mother dealing with the aftermath of a school shooting, was a multi-year struggle to get made. Production lasted only 30 days on a budget of less than $7 million. Her next feature You Were Never Really Here (2017) received a seven-minute standing ovation at Cannes and won Ramsay the Best Screenplay award.