JDIFF 2013: Call Girl

Lynn Larkin makes a call on Call Girl, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Call Girl

Thurs, 21st February

Light House 1

20.20

 

For most good stories it seems reality wins out over fiction every time. Call Girl tells the story of underage prostitution in the world of high society. Hidden behind a curtain of glitz and glamour a truly painful and disturbing story of child grooming is unveiled.

Set in Stockholm in the late 1970s on the cusp of a Swedish scandal known as Bordellhärvan, the story is based around a shamefully corrupt world of politicians, prostitution, drugs, and stripping discotheques.  Iris Dahl (Sofia Karemyr) is a young adolescent girl who is living in a youth house for troubled teens when she is recruited into a sordid underworld with her friend. Dagmar Glans (Pernilla August) is at the heart of the recruitment, buying the girls clothes, giving them money and fuelling them with alcohol and drugs under the rouse of befriending and mothering the girls. This gives a very tangible and dark look into how grooming takes place with disconcerting ease for the abusers involved. There are scenes that make for somewhat difficult and uneasy viewing at times. It is shot fly-on-the-wall style, albeit one that could be swatted at any moment if discovered.

Casting was fantastic both for the believable performances and the non-conventional Hollywood glamorized body types we are all accustomed to seeing in movies nowadays, which works well with the film’s documentary style, however it could have moved along a lot faster. Understandably the director has shown the amount of time and effort that goes into grooming when money is at stake.

Dagmar Glans is portrayed as a successful and enigmatic woman loved by “her girls” and clients. Nevertheless she herself partakes not only in the “parties” but in prostitution which makes her quite perplexing but also intriguing. Unfortunately due to the underdevelopment of some of the main players and the missed opportunity to delve more into Glans’ world you’re left with lots of unanswered questions. This might have been the idea behind some of the choices in the film but obviously not all of them. I really wanted to know why Glans involved herself as much as she did in the repugnant lifestyle, we might have been able to empathise or understand her a little if this was explained slightly, instead, I couldn’t have cared less what happened to her!

Overall it works as whistle-blower type movie managing to shine a light on certain people in authority, surrounding the alleged illegal underage prostitution and sleazy activities occurring in the Swedish government department and high profile organizations.

Just keep in mind it’s a subtitled dark thriller. So, let’s just say, it’s not the type of film you’d go to see with popcorn and jellies in hand!

 Lynn Larkin

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JDIFF 2013: IFB Shorts Programme

 

Tess Motherway tries on a selection of IFB Shorts, which played at the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

IFB Shorts

Wed, 20th February
Light House 1
18.10
125 mins
The IFB’s shorts programme this year was an interesting mix.  There were the usual themes of family, relationships and death, but many took an almost wicked take on this, some even teetering on the bizarre.  One thing, however, that was certain, was the technical quality – each short excelled in sound and vision, something that, for a variety of reasons, does not always go hand in hand with short films.

 

The animation offerings were particularly impressive like Fear of Flying, a delightful short animation by Conor Finnegan about a bird who decides to avoid winter migration because of his fear of flying and Learning to Fish by Teemu Auersalo, a humorous but poignant take on consumerism portrayed through the plight of the urban seagull.  Perhaps the most noteworthy, however, was the opening short, Irish Folk Furniture by Tony Donoghue, a gorgeously (and painstakingly) made animated documentary about furniture-making and restoration in a small town in Tipperary.  It is just such a beautifully simple subject and masterfully made short, well deserving of its Best Animation in last years Sundance Film Festival.

 

There were a also good handful of short dramas on the programme, most notably Un Peu Plus by Conor Ferguson, a bitter sweet journey of an elderly womans love of confectionary and Homemade by Luke McManus, a darkly comic love story that takes home made baking to new heights.

 

Documentary also made a healthy appearance in the form of Laura McGanns The End of the Counter, a lament about the end of the small Irish corner shop, and with it, the personal shopping experience and Home a lovely and cleverly constructed portrait of six individuals talking about their first homes.

 

The IFB shorts programmes are always well attended, wherever they go, and the line-up in JDIFF was no exception.  People are interested, they respond to them, perhaps because they are a snap shot of what is funded in Ireland today.  Whatever the reason, long may it continue.

Tess Motherway

 

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JDIFF 2013: Milo

 

Matt Micucci runs away with Milo, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Milo

Sat, 23rd  February
Cineworld 11
15.45
90mins

 

The Irish-Dutch co-production Milo is the tale of a boy with a mysterious skin condition which prevents him from living a normal life. One day, he decides runs away from home to join his class on a camping trip against his oppressive father’s wishes. The film boasts an impressive fragile central performance from 12-year-old debutant Lorcan Bonner as the titular character.

 

‘When we first heard of this story, we were totally drawn to it,’ says Roel Boorsma, the young Dutch filmmaker who directed Milo along with his brother Berend – both participating in the post-screening Q&A at Cineworld. ‘For me, this was a story about a boy who was lied to, and sets off on a journey of self discovery, having an impact on the lives of whoever he meets.’

 

Also in attendance was Martina Niland from Samson Films who still recalls the brothers’ pitch, ‘While they pitched, one was shaving the other. This made me think that working with them would have been a lot of fun.’

 

The story was originally to be set in the Netherlands, but Roel and Berend didn’t seem to mind the shift in location to Ireland. Indeed Berand was delighted admitting that ‘Ireland looks kind of hairy to me.’ He continued on to tell the audience that ‘The story is universal. The script work came close to taking two years. It was the lengthiest part of the project. We needed it to feel Irish.’

Niland recalled  approaching the Irish Film Board with the idea and ‘we became the minor financing partners, but the whole film was shot and cast here in Ireland. There was no big budget but Berend and Roel managed to make it look beautiful.’

 

Considering the small budget, and the fact that this film is the first feature length film by the young Dutch filmmakers, the photography is quite impressive. The theme of photography is also a key element in the story. Little Milo always has a polaroid camera around his neck. ‘Usually, everything is perfect in pictures,’ said Berand. ‘It’s a different and unique look at reality. But taking photographs is also his way to get closer to his peers, as he is always forced to look at them from a distance.’

 

For the brothers “It was a storyline we wanted to convey. It’s just as much a film for young people as it is for adults. We were very open and did not want to be restricted by boundaries. Also, we didn’t want to be judgemental. We like making non-judgemental films.’

 

As supporting characters, the film is enrichened by Jer O’Leary and Charlotte Bradley as an older Irish (what might have happened) version of Bonnie and Clyde, Star and Mickie, who ‘accidentally’ end up being the kid’s kidnappers, but eventually grow fond of him. Charlotte told the audience that ‘Playing Star was very different. She is very down to earth, optimistic and strong. Her acceptance of this kid and his condition is so pure .’

 

Milo, has enjoyed relative success on the festival circuit, picking up a special award at the Giffoni Film Festival, the world’s biggest children’s film festival which takes place every year in Italy. It was well received this Saturday in Dublin too. It’s an intense but imperfect film which manages to mix a certain darkness with moments of pure sweetness. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this film…

 

Matt Micucci

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkiDRYiv3RM

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JDIFF 2013: West of Memphis

Gordon Gaffney on the latest ‘West Memphis 3’ documentary West of Memphis, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013).

West of Memphis
Friday, 22nd February
Cineworld 11
18.00
147 mins

The documentary trilogy Paradise Lost dealt with the grisly murders of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1993, the trial and conviction of three teenagers for the killings, and the subsequent doubts raised of their guilt.

With a combined running time of 5 hours, and directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky of Metallica documentary(and inadvertent comedy) Some Kind Of Monster fame, they were screened on HBO in 1996 and 2000. Part 3 was also released in cinemas in 2011 and went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary in 2012.

Now we have what could be considered a fourth part. West of Memphis is directed by Amy Berg, best known for the harrowing sex abuse doc Deliver Us From Evil, but its producers have close ties to the grisly events of 1993.  Berg, and her producers, wisely spend as little time as possible going over the events from 1993 to about 2010, perhaps aware that not many people will wonder into theatres expecting an Elvis Presley biopic. Paradise Lost is acknowledged early on preparing the viewer for never-before-seen material.

Some of this new material is explosive, delving extensively into the background of ‘You-Know-Who’, which, perhaps coincidentally, led to a couple of walk-outs in my row at the screening.  The Paradise Lost series stirred many celebrities into fighting the West Memphis 3’s cause,  in particular Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Peter Jackson who both feature heavily here.

An infuriating jaw-dropping work, one gets the feeling that this is not the end of documentaries on this subject. The four films have a total running time of seven and half hours and as Will Ferrell’s James Lipton would say ‘If you haven’t seen it, rent it, watch it, put it in a locked cabinet for a year, then watch it again, it will change.. your …life.’

Gordon Gaffney

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JDIFF 2013: ‘Broken Song’ review

 

Steven Galvin nods his head to Broken Song, which played at the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Broken Song

Tue, 19th February
IFI 1
18.10
66 mins

Broken Song is a documentary about hip-hop artists and songwriters from north Dublin. Funded through the Reel Art Scheme, Claire Dix’s documentary shines a light on and into these musicians and how they make sense of the world around them.

The film introduces us to two rappers, GI and Costello, who mentor some of the younger kids of their community, encouraging them to express themselves through rap, achieve a sense of self knowledge  and offer them a positive path in life. The opening scenes around Finglas and Ballymun play like a sort of hedge school for young rappers with young lads approaching Costello and GI, rapping for them and learning from their advice. In particular one teenager whose initial lyrics of hilarious sexual bravado has by the end of the film been superseded by thoughtful social insights.

The documentary focuses on the words behind the beats showcasing the remarkable range of poetic lyricism of hip hop in Dublin. As the documentary progresses, the focus shifts onto singer/songwriter Willa Lee, who brings a soulful voice to proceedings singing with a sweet tenderness and the film follows his journey away from a past of crime and drugs towards a brighter future and possible music career. Dix’s use of shades of black and white play on the film’s running theme of movement from dark to light.

In the post-screening Q&Q Dix told the audience how she met GI and Costello in the Reco, Ballymun’s Central Youth Facility and was “blown away” after hearing them rap acapella. She immediately knew that it was “something I wanted to explore”. And so herself and producer Nodlag Houlihan set about crafting the documentary together. Nodhlag joined Claire for the Q&A, as did Costello and Willa Lee, who naturally treated the assembled to some rhymes.

Broken Song is impressively shot by Richard Hendricks and Dix has to be commended for disappearing behind the camera, which lends the documentary its natural feel, things never come across forced and, more importantly, allows those with the words in the film be the voice of the film. It stands as a beautiful observational documentary that achieves an intimicy that feels genuine, which strengthens all the more the spiritual message that is at the film’s core and is a testament to the creative freedom that the Reel Art Scheme exists to support.

Steven Galvin

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JDIFF 2013: Pablo

 

Michelle Cunningham gets drawn into the world of Pablo, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013).

Pablo

Tue, 19th February
Light House 2
18.05
93mins

Pablo is a beautifully made film documenting the life and works of Pablo Ferro, a self-taught animator, celebrated film title designer, who comes across as quite an endearing and modest artist. Pablo began his career as a cinema usher after moving to the US from Cuba at the age of 12. He then went on to create commercials, design graphic novels and work with animators such as Stan Lee, the editor of Marvel comics. Pablo was a pioneer of quick-cut editing, “multiple screen” (famously used for the first time in the original Thomas Crown Affair) and counts the phenomenal trailer and opening title for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove among his best known work.

This documentary combines live action, old archive footage, photographs, animation and collage of images to tell the personal and professional story of Ferro. Throughout the film Ferro maintains a background presence; a passive genius interpreting a lifetime of events as history speeds by.

The laid back style of Jeff Bridges narration suits Goldgewicht’s documentary perfectly. Various anecdotes about Ferro from cinematic icons such as Angelica Huston and Jon Voight and artistic icons such as Stan Lee and Steven Heller engage the audience from the outset.

As well as documenting his amazing body of work at a professional level, there are also little pieces of personal history woven into the story, through interviews with his ex-wife, children and friends. There are beautiful animated montages illustrating what life was like in his apartment in New York during the 60s. The apartment appears as a socialites’ hub, and a den of sex, drugs and everything else that was prevalent in the bohemian culture of the 60s as well as the place where he mysteriously gets shot in the neck.

During the Q&A after the screening Richard Goldgewicht described how the structure of the film came about. The film took over 5 years to make, beginning as a series of interviews with Pablo which were originally meant for a tv series. Initially it was just 40 interviews, then came the narrative ‘and who better than the dude to do it’ – (said of Jeff Bridges), followed by the animated pieces and archive footage. Goldgewicht described how fantastic it is in America with regards to copyright of material and how he could use Clockwork Orange footage in his film and as long as he stated ‘copyright by’…he could use any footage he wanted. This, he said is a huge benefit to documentary makers in the states as not many other countries have this luxury.

Regarding this particular style of film Goldgewicht described the blending of media as a contemporary approach to filmmaking and many of the animated scenes were born out of necessity rather than a wholly planned part of the film.

There was also a certain process of Pablos ‘coming around’ to the idea of the movie. He does feature quite regularly throughout the film but wasn’t very forthcoming with all the details of his personal life – Goldgewicht discovered quite a lot from his interviews with Ferros ex-wife, friends and children.

A groundbreaking visionary, the embodiement of the American dream, the classic tale of the rags to riches immigrant, the rise and fall of American cinema, there is much going on in Richard Goldgewicht’s biopic of Pablo Ferro. Yet the way this story is told both visually and through the narrative thoroughly entertains and captivates the audience. This documentary would be of particular interest to those in the film industry, the design industry and the animation industry but primarily it is an interesting story of a man’s life during a revolutionary time in the worlds of art culture and politics.

Michelle Cunningham

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JDIFF 2013: The Look of Love

Gordon Gaffney on The Look of Love, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013).

The Look of Love

Thursday, 21st  February
Cineworld
18.15
101mins

The Look of Love sees Steve Coogan team up with director Michael Winterbottom for the first time since 24 Hour Party People in 2002.  It tells the story of Paul Raymond “The King of Soho” who opened Britain’s first strip club and went onto become Britain’s richest man in the early 90s.  If This is 40 is the sorta sequel to Knocked Up then The Look of Love is the sorta half-sibling of 24 Hour Party People.

 

Coogan again plays a charismatic impresario, and the film beautifully evokes the swinging 60s, the glamorous 70s and heady 80s much like the Madchester indie/dance music scene of the 80’s and 90s in 24 Hour Party People. The script from Matt Greenhalgh, while sometimes witty, doesn’t explain as much about Raymond’s motivation and background to the events portrayed which makes the narrative less gripping than 24 Hour Party People. The latter also had the benefit of Coogan’s voiceover explaining important characters and events as they appeared on screen.

 

Coogan is excellent as Raymond, a selfish, charismatic, emotionally distant, successful businessman whose cruel treatment of his family seemed eerily similar to Apple’s Steve Jobs. He is helped by a solid supporting cast in particular Imogen Poots as his troubled daughter Debbie and a host of cameos from some of Britain and Ireland’s best known stars.

 

A sometimes inspirational but tragic story which captures the decadence of the man’s life and may well lead to plenty of NSFW Googling to learn more. Ideal family viewing for those as dysfunctionally liberal as the Raymonds.

Gordon Gaffney
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JDIFF 2013: Jump

 

Lynn Larkin takes a look at Jump, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013).

Jump

Tue, 19th February
Light House 1
21.00
82 mins

Jump opens with some beautiful colourful shots of Derry, which are accompanied by the VO of our main character Greta (Nichola Burley). She is battling deep depression surrounding her life due to the people closest to her. This black comedy tackles the very serious issue of suicide, while maintaining the story’s entertainment factor.

The backdrop for Jump is Derry and it’s New Year’s Eve. Just like the title, the story jumps and intertwines three stories throughout the film.

Standing on top of the stunningly shot Derry Peace Bridge is ‘our’ Greta deciding if she can muster up the courage to bungee off minus the cord but with her makeshift wings in tow. Her concentration is distracted when her knight in torn and blood-stained armour shows up in the form of Pearse Kelly (Martin McCann). However, this damsel is in no mood to be rescued. The two exchange heated words to find they share a common interest. Their hatred for local gangster Frank Feeney (Lalor Roddy), who just happens to be Greta’s father. The two set off into the night with a creative adventure in mind.

The film’s fast-paced tempo keeps you locked in the story from start to finish. Some of the secondary characters could have featured a little more. Good-time players Marie and Dara’s one-liners and unusual scenarios the pair find themselves in throughout the course of the night are hilarious.

The passionate UK-born director Kieron J. Walsh spoke after the screening with a small Q&A. The inspiration for Jump came to him after he heard that someone he admired and looked up to mention that ‘A story always needs a beginning, middle and end. However, not exactly in that order.’

This really sums up what Walsh did with this movie, making it a fresh and pleasant watch. He spoke about why he chose Derry, not only for its beautifully magnetic Derry Peace Bridge; but since everyone in Derry dresses up in costume for all major events, not just at Halloween, it was the obvious choice.

Jump is endearing and enchanting; words I didn’t think I’d use to describe a dark comic crime thriller that tackles the topic of suicide… but there you go; life’s full of surprises, just like the movie.

Take a leap of faith and Jump, it’s a free-fall extravaganza.

Lynn Larkin

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JDIFF 2013: The Moth Diaries

 

Carmen Bryce sinks her teeth into The Moth Diaries, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

The Moth Diaries

Sat, 23rd  February
Cineworld 8
18.00
82mins

 

It isn’t such a stretch of the imagination to see some of director Mary Harron’s grisly satire American Psycho in her latest offerings The Moth Diaries (2011).

While American Psycho (2000) brims over with violent masculinity and misogyny, The Moth Diaries, with its almost entirely female film, simmers with adolescent obsessions, latent lesbian desires and vampirism.

However, as Harron explained in the Q&A after the Jameson Dublin Film Festival screening of The Moth Diaries, both films are racked with ambiguity, blurring the border of hallucination and reality as told by an unreliable narrator misplaced from the rest of society.

The Moth Diaries is a re-imagining of the classic Gothic horror told through the journals of 16-year -old Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), a boarder at Brangwyn College, an elite boarding school for girls, who is haunted by her poet father’s suicide. Rebecca’s devoted friendship with the beautiful Lucy (Sarah Gadon) is endangered by the arrival of a curious new student Ernessa (Lily Cole).  As eerie Ernessa stakes claim to precious Lucy and the harmony at the school is shattered, a fiercely jealous Rebecca starts to suspect that the unearthly stranger, who stalks the ground barefoot at night and never eats, is a vampire intent on destroying all she holds dear.

While watching through Rebecca’s gaze, there is no doubt that Ernessa must be stopped. However, like American Psycho, the reality of what we see is called into question by the mental instability of the narrator and we are never sure what is real and what is merely a figment of a damaged mind.

Ideally set in an archaic institution full of dark corners and dusty libraries, Harron and cinematographer Declan Quinn looked to 19th century artwork and Gothic literature to create a suitably claustrophobic world for the girls to  intensify their already fanatical relationships.

Harrons explains, ‘The book is set in the 1960s but we didn’t want update to modern day. We purposely had an absence of any modern technology like mobile phones in the film to establish the girls’ isolation from the rest of the world. They are trapped in the location and in their own painful adolescence.’

The Moth Diaries is based novel by Rachel Klein that was lapped up by teenage girls fevered from the success of the Twilight franchise.  However unlike Twilight, that centres on the tryst between adolescent boy and girl, The Moth Diaries explores the compelling relationships between teenage girls. Harron said what moved her to adapt Klein’s novel for the screen was that it is based on this powerful dynamic and the turbulent phase of a girl’s life. It was this lack of a male protagonist that was an obstacle in the making of the film, says Harron.

‘The absence of a sexy, young, heartthrob made the film very hard to finance. However good the actors are, the Hollywood template has a boy/girl romance,’ said the director.

‘The protagonist is always male. This is what made my role as a female protagonist so rare and special,’ said actress Sarah Bolger who was also present for the Q&A.

It is unclear in The Moth Diaries whether the supernatural triggers the explosions of female adolescent sensations (infatuation, unleashed sexuality, angst), or the other way around. It is this thematic blurring, enhanced by commendable lead performances and captivating cinematography, which offers so much more than the average teen vampire flick.

Carmen Bryce

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8_Sc67ZP1w

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JDIFF 2013: Winners at the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

 

The 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival drew to a close on 24th February, after an action packed 11 days of screenings, insightful Q&As and special events featuring some of cinema’s leading lights including Danny DeVito, Tim Roth, Joss Whedon, Costa-Gavras, Gabriel Byrne, Cillian Murphy, Mary Harron, Sarah Bolger and Robert Towne.

 

Commenting on the closing night of the festival, Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys said: “Wow what a 2013 festival – as the films and guests return home – all that remains are the memories (and photos) of a packed 11 days. I was delighted with the large numbers of Dubliners who joined us this year to experience the festival, meet our Irish and international guests and celebrate the best of world cinema – roll on 2014.”

 

The Irish documentary following three street poets and hip-hop artists from north Dublin, Broken Song, proved a winner with critics and audiences alike, recieving both the Michael Dwyer Discovery Award at the Dublin Film Critics Awards and scooping the much coveted Audience Award for 2013. Commenting after the announcement, director Claire Dix said: “To get the audience award is so special, it’s a real validation for myself and Nodlag as filmmakers. We had a great experience at the festival – they’re one of the Reel Art partners and Gráinne Humphreys, the festival director has been really supportive of the project right from the beginning.” Directed by Claire Dix and produced by Nodlag Houlihan of Zucca films, Broken Song is part of the Arts Council’s Reel Art scheme in association with the festival and Film Base, designed to provide film artists with a unique opportunity to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme.

 
The Dublin Film Critics Circle selected Kristina Buzyte’s Vanishing Waves as Best Film,

Best Director went to Mikhail Segal for Short Stories, Best Actor went to Aleksey Vertkov for White Tiger, Best Actress to Dilan Aksüt for Night of Silence, Best Debut went to Maja Milos for Clip, Best Screenplay went to Oriol Paulo and Lara Sendim for The Body, Best Cinematography went to Oleg Mutu for Beyond the Hills and Jury Prizes were awarded to BlancanievesAfter Lucia and The King of Pigs.  Irish films also fared well at the awards, with Best Documentary going toFar Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, Macdara Vallelly winning Best Irish Feature with Babygirl, Cathy Pearson winning Best Irish Documentary forGet the Picture, and Michael Dwyer Discovery Award going to Claire Dix for Broken Song.

 

2013 also saw the first presentation of the inaugural CINE Talent award, a new initiative from the festival’s partnership with Universal Pictures, Screen International and Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board, which aims to spotlight and promote Irish talent to the international industry. Nick Ryan, director of The Summit, which screened at the festival, was awarded the accolade, with a prize that includes profile from Screen International and networking opportunities at their events at the Toronto, Cannes and Berlin film festivals. The winner will also be assisted by Universal Pictures and Bord Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board with networking introductions to relevant international contacts. The prize also aims to include mentoring opportunities from an established industry alumi, from the previous JDIFF Irish Talent Spotlight Award.

 

Honoring career achievement, the Volta award was this year given to four hugely worthwhile recipients: Hollywood legend Danny DeVito, iconic British actor Tim Roth, Greek/French director Costa-Gavras and pop culture idol Joss Whedon.

 

The winner of the UNTITLED Screenwriting competition, run in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board was announced as Eoin Rogers with his animation scriptThe Cloud Giant. This competition involved a public presentation an idea for a feature film with the theme of ‘Family Films’, in order to win a First Draft Development Loan of up to €16,000.

 

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival would like to thank its funders and sponsors: Jameson, The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board, Cineworld, Renault, The Merrion Hotel, The Irish Times, RTÉ, Windmill Lane, Wells Cargo, Entertainment.ie, Film Base and The Church.

 

 
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival
Facebook: Jameson Dublin International Film Festival – /Dublinfilmfestival
Twitter: @DublinFilmFest
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JDIFF: A Tribute to Kieran Hickey – Programme II

 

John Moran is struck by the powerful drama on offer at the tribute to Kieran Hickey, which took place as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Kieran Hickey Programme II

Sun, 24 February

IFI 2
15.50
114mins

 

“We have a terrible habit of forgetting the things we should remember and remembering the things we should forget.”

 
The tribute to director Kieran Hickey concluded on Sunday at the IFI with the screening of Attracta and The Rockingham Shoot. The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and the Irish Film Archive provided an opportunity to see Wendy Hiller and Bosco Hogan contribute excellent central performances to Hickey’s now, lamentably, little-seen films.

 

Patrick Mason, former artistic director at the Abbey Theatre, noted how Hickey’s films fit easily within Irish dramatic tradition.  He drew attention to Hickey’s expanding vision that these films demonstrate.  Hickey continued to find powerful drama in everyday domestic settings, but more elaborate sequences, such as the titular shoot and the period detail of Attracta’s hometown, reveal his gathering strength and his promising future as a filmmaker, cut short by his untimely death in 1993.

 

Mr Mason also referred to the “long and hard struggles” Hickey faced in finding the funding and resources for his work.  Hickey displayed considerable talent working within the constraints that he did.  The arts are an easy target for cuts in financially straitened times, especially when artists are asking difficult questions and challenging accepted traditions as Hickey did.

 

The tribute showcased Hickey’s fictional works.  The Irish Film Institute will screen some of his shorter documentary works in their free Archive at Lunchtime screenings during the final week of February.
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JDIFF 2013: Black Ice

Gemma Creagh keeps her balance on Black Ice, which screened as part of the  11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Black Ice

Wed, 20th February
Light House 1
20.50

 

Black Ice begins when an uneasy and distraught local, Alice returns to her hometown near the border for the funeral of her young friend.  After this, a series of flashbacks reveal the events leading up to the crash that caused her brother, Tom and his girlfriend to lose their lives.

 

This slow-paced thriller examines the dangerous relationship between young people and speed, as then schoolgirl Alice falls for the mysterious, delinquent boy-racer, Jimmy – played by Love/Hate’s Killian Scott. Alice loses her innocence quickly as she finds herself hurtling down the road and into a world of fast cars and corruption.

 

Featuring some excellent performances from the latest wave of national talent, as well as some fantastically electric chase sequences, Black Ice proves that you can certainly get value for money in these recessionary times with a low-budget feature.

 

The enthusiastic and elated Johnny Gogan got up to speak after the screening; first introducing us to the film’s stars, Jane McGrath and Killian Scott before then getting down to a quick Q & A. Johnny chatted to us about his inspiration for the film, with black ice being representative of losing control at the end of the Celtic Tiger; about how he got many offers on his own petrol-head-style car, even one from a Leitrim criminal; about working with Brian on the script, as they completely reworked it before the shoot; about where all the feature’s funds came from and finally about his main character, Alice:

 

‘As a character she’s a survivor. She’s an iconic character for the times we live in. There’s a toughness about her but there’s a morality about her as well – the fact that she doesn’t have it earlier is because she’s young. As the viewer you’re growing up with her and discovering that with her.’

Gemma Creagh

 

 

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JDIFF 2013: The Frames: In the Deep Shade

 

Steven Galvin enters the wall of sound of The Frames: In The Deep Shade, which screened as part of the 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

The Frames: In the Deep Shade

Sun, 17th February
Cineworld 9
19.35
87 mins

 

Filmed over 18 months, The Frames: In The Deep Shade received its world premiere at the Jameson Dublin International Film festival. Conor Masterson’s luscious documentary follows the Dublin band on their 2010 anniversary tour. Shot in hallowed Black and White, Masterson focuses on what’s going on onstage at the band’s live performances and what’s going on in the mind of Glen Hansard. Never a straightforward documentary, in Masterson’s hands the documentary is very much about the creative process of the group at work and how that comes to fruition in the live performances of the band. Masterson’s own background in photography shines through proceedings creating a finely balanced  aural and visual narrative, including some sumptuous images of Dublin scattered through the film.

The director captures the band’s legendary live spirit and their intimacy with their fans. Hansard has become well known for his amusing impromptu anecdotes when introducing the songs on stage, which feeds in to a genuine rapport between band and audience that Masterson does well to portray while always staying focused on the band. Often using just the one camera, Masterson lets the naked energy of the band’s performance on stage do the work and never needs to revert to fancy camerawork or editing to catch the essence of the band.

The director spoke about how much he had enjoyed making the film and working with the band whom he described as “genuine and creative”.

Cineworld’s sound system did the music justice booming out the film’s live performances seizing the dynamics of the band’s songs live. The stand out moments being that mutation from a lullaby to a crunching crescendo in the beautiful ‘Santa Maria’, the electric performance of the heart-thumping ‘Revelate’,  and the soft simplicity and  exquisite harmonies of ‘Star Star’.

The Frames: In The Deep Shade achieves a level of intimacy that is able to relay the band’s beautifully delirious wall of sound and Glen’s obvious passion and role as the driving force that whips up a frenzy of sonic beauty.

Steven Galvin

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JDIFF 2013: Danny DeVito attends special Jameson Cult Film Club screening ‘L.A. Confidential’

Hollywood star Danny DeVito attended a special Jameson Cult Film Club screening of the 1997 classic L.A. Confidential last night, Thursday 21st February. Mr. Hush-Hush himself also participated in an in-depth Q&A about the movie and his career with  DJ Rick O’Shea following the screening.

1950’s paparazzi, sporting trench coats and trilby’s, papped guests as they made their way into LAPD headquarters, aka Dublin’s Mansion House, which was transformed into various sets from the film. Guests got a glimpse of L.A.’s crime-stoppers hard at work before being dispatched to Nick’s Liqour Store to await further safety instructions from Sid Hudchins, Hush-Hush style.

Themed special effects and props transported the audience straight into glamorous Los Angeles in 1953, when police corruption was rife and celebrity scandals filled the news. Characters from the movie including Jack Wincennes, Bud White and Ed Exley acted out key scenes in front of the audience throughout the film, including Exley’s key interrogation scene and final shoot-out between Dudley Smith and Ed Exley, which was as explosive in the flesh as it was in the film.

Speaking at the event, Mr DeVito said, “I haven’t seen L.A. Confidential in a few years now but I am really impressed with the staging and actors tonight, really gives the movie a whole new life for me.”

 

Following the screening, the party continued in true Jameson style with guests tucking into ‘Fleur-de-Lis’ burgers and Jameson, Ginger and Lime long drinks while DJ Aidan Kelly took to the decks spinning Restless Records’ Hush-Hush Magazine Mix.

Guests included – Dermot Whelan, Aidan Power, David Coffey, Baz Ashmawy, Kathryn Thomas, Munster Rugby’s  Denis Hurley and Glenda Gilson

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JDIFF 2013: Get the Picture

 

Steven Galvin sees history caught on camera at ‘Get the Picture, which screened as part of the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

 

Get the Picture

Sun, 17th February
Light House 3
18.15
70 mins


Get the Picture tells the fascinating story of the legendary John G Morris, former picture editor of Life magazine, the New York Times and executive editor of Magnum Photos. Now 96, the film takes an in-depth look at the man responsible for publishing some of the  most powerful images over the last three quarters of a century. In doing so, the film also chronicles photojournalism since WWII, with contributions from many of the world’s most renowned names in photography, including Marc Riboud, Martine Franck, Paulo Pellegrin and Don McCullin among others. Morris commissioned and selected images that would visually define iconic moments in history.

 

Robert Capra’s images of the D-Day landings of Tuesday, 6th June, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy.

 

Eddie Adams’ brutal image of a Vietcong prisoner being executed on the streets of Saigon in February 1969.

 

Kim Phuc’s 1972 horrifying image of a nine-year-old South Vietnamese girl running naked down a road away from an American napalm strike.

 

To see such images on the big screen was a visual knock-out and the film’s director Cathy Pearson deftly incorporates into the narrative many of the unforgettable defining images that Morris brought to us.

Pearson herself was on hand at the post screening Q&A to tell the audience how she serendipitously met Morris in Paris while she was out having dinner one night with a friend. Morris was listening in on their conversation and joined in; and out of their meeting the documentary came into existence. She recalled how she bonded with Morris over the course of the project – a man “who has a great passion for life”.

 

Working his way up from office boy in 1937 at Life magazine, Morris found himself at the forefront of photojournalism when America entered the war in 1941 following Japan’s attack on Pearl harbour. Morris’ strong views on peace and conflict resolution fuelled a determination in his work, which is predicated on his insistence on getting the truth out. Pearson’s documentary is a testament to the man’s life and legacy, whose keen eye and sense of significance caught so many of the essential moments of 20th century photojournalism and put them into the public sphere.

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JDIFF 2013: ‘Spione’ (Spies)

 

David Neary delights in the live score accompanying Fritz lang’s Spies, which screened as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

Spione (Spies)

Sun, 17th February
Light House 1
20.20
145 mins

One of the annual favourites of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, the big silent movie always draws a crowd of film fans as hungry for classics of early cinema as they are for live performance. Few things can beat a crisp black and white film with a musical accompaniment created right before your very eyes, beneath the very screen.

For the first time in festival memory, however, the film itself was a somewhat of a disappointment. Fritz Lang’s Spione (Spies), a ripping espionage yarn about secret treaties and tiny cameras, features some moments of expected directorial flair – a thrilling train crash, poison gas filling a bank vault, a ghostly visitation to a shamed Japanese diplomat about to commit hara-kiri – but there’s not enough to excuse its run time, excessive padding and ricocheting tone. While Lang’s previous film, Metropolis (which played at JDIFF in 2007), had lost UFA an unimaginable sum of money, Spies represents a more restrained Lang, and a remarkable climb-down in terms of artistic ambition.

Thank heavens therefore for Gunther Buchwald. The German pianist gave the plodding film a new life with a plucky, tinkling accompaniment that captured all the intrigue and antics of Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou’s oddly balanced script. Switching to violin for dance scenes (and at one point playing both piano and violin at once, to the bewilderment of the audience), Buchwald demonstrated the suitability of his composition and the thought that has gone into it. In the finest melding of sight and sound all evening, a tense scene in Spione, in which the hero investigates a darkened room, was accompanied by Buchwald directly tickling the piano wires with his fingertips, evoking the sound of some demonic harp.

Spione may not have captivated its audience as did Häxan, last year’s silent revival, but Gunther Buchwald has proven himself one of the most welcome guests at this year’s festival. Hopefully he will return to Ireland again soon, and with a great wealth of Weimar silent cinema to choose from, with luck he’ll bring a stronger film than Spione to accompany.

David Neary

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JDIFF 2013: Midweek at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival


11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Premieres abound at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, with Wednesday 20th February seeing Gabriel Byrne present the festival career achievement award, the Volta, to acclaimed Greek/French director Costa-Gavras after the screening of Capital, as well as the world premiere of Johnny Gogan’s Black Ice, starring Killian Scott and Jane McGrath and the premiere of Alan Brennan’s Earthbound.
The festival has so far brought a wealth of filmmaking talent to the capital. Highlights of Tuesday’s packed schedule including Catherine Owens’ Colin Dunne: Sculpting Space, with Adam Clayton in attendance to support his friend, and a concert of composer Oscar winner Dario Marianelli’s film scores in the National Concert Hall, which received a standing ovation and an uproarious round applause.
Still to come, Danny DeVito will be in Dublin for the Jameson Cult Film Club screening of LA Confidential on Thursday, as well as attending the screening of The War of the Roses on Friday, where he will be presented with a festival Volta. Also on Friday, Antonia Campbell Hughes will attend the screening of Kelly + Victor. On Saturady Joss Whedon will delight Irish fans attending the screening of Much Ado About Nothing, whilst Mary Harron and Sarah Bolger will attend the highly anticipated screening of Moth Diaries, and on the closing Sunday, Sundance winning The Summit will light up the screen, and the thoughtful and provocative Blood Rising will draw the festival to a close.
CAPITAL
Attending: Director Costa-Gavras and cast Gabriel Byrne
A cracking good melodrama set in a contemporary world of high finance and low cunning, Costa-Gavras’ Capital nimbly plays on our worst memories of the 2008 economic meltdown with a persuasively detailed tale of boardroom politics, international banking, remorseless backstabbing and billion-dollar wheeling-and-dealing. Capital follows the sudden rise of Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh), a hard-driven up-and-comer who becomes CEO of France’s (fictional) Phenix Bank. Board members figure the appointment is just a temporary measure, but the new CEO has every intention of holding on to his job. Tourneuil’s most helpful ally in his bid to maintain his position turns out to be Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne), the glad-handing but hot-tempered head of a US hedge fund. Rigule views Tourneuil as a useful pawn in his long-range plan to take complete control of the venerable French bank. Tourneuil, of course, has a different role in mind.  Working from a cleverly twisty script, Costa-Gavras refuses to make things easy for the viewer, avoiding the cliché of a flawed protagonist in search of redemption.
Joe Leydon, Variety
EARTHBOUND
Attending: Writer/Director Alan Brennan and cast Jenn Murray, Carrie Crowley, Ned Dennehy, Stephen Hogan.
Like most people, Joe Norman (Spall) just wants the ordinary things in life: a well-paying job he doesn’t hate, an affordable place to call home, and a nice girl to settle down with. But an ordinary life is hard to come by when you’re the sole surviving son of Zalaxon, a world embroiled in endless rebellion against the invading alien dictator Xalador. Charged by his dying father to remain hidden and continue their species, Joe searches continuously for a “compatible” human mate.  So when he meets Maria (Murray), Joe believes his quest might finally be nearing its end. However, the course of true love never did run smoothly, particularly when intergalactic bounty hunters are involved. After Joe reveals his extraterrestrial origins to her, Maria believes it to be nothing more than an unhealthy obsession with old Battlestar Galactica reruns, until she too starts seeing the signs of an interstellar conspiracy at play.  The film was the winner of the Best First Irish Feature award at the 2012 Galway Film Fleadh and was selected for the Best of Festival Selection at the Seattle International Film Festival 2012. It was shot on location in Dublin and also stars Carrie Crowley and Ned Dennehy.

BLACK ICE

Attending: Director Johnny Gogan and cast Killian Scott, Jane McGrath, Dermot Murphy Marian Quinn, Jason Matthewson, Roisin Scully, Michael Harding, Alan Devine.

A story of youthful misadventure set against the backdrop of a lawless border terrain during the last gasps of the Irish boom – Black Ice charts the story of Alice as she is seduced into the rhythmic rumbling world of local boy racers. Alice is beckoned from her middle-class existence by the growling engine of Jimmy’s slick, black, Skyline. Racing, dicing, drifting together on the winding back roads, Alice and Jimmy dream of rally cars and make great plans to escape the cloying town. Alice is swept away, beyond the danger of the boy racer scene, and into the underworld of the borderland, where Jimmy doesn’t believe in playing it straight. He likes the taste of money and he likes to take short-cuts. Despite her brother Tom’s warnings, Jimmy’s criminal behavior only makes Alice want him more, while the greed that has taken hold of the community is about to claim its price in young lives. Two years later an estranged Alice returns home to deal with the aftermath of the high-speed boy racer collision that has taken the life of Tom and his girlfriend. In her search for Jimmy, Alice relives her own complicity in events and the descent into deceit and corruption that led to this personal and community catastrophe.
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival would like to thank its funders and sponsors: Jameson, The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board, Cineworld, Renault, The Merrion Hotel, The Irish Times, RTÉ, Windmill Lane, Wells Cargo, Entertainment.ie, Film Base and The Church.
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival
Ticket Office: Filmbase, Curved St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Phone: 01 687 7974
Facebook: Jameson Dublin International Film Festival – /Dublinfilmfestival

Twitter: @DublinFilmFest

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JDIFF: John Dies at the End

 
Niamh Creely contemplates bookshops at John Dies at the Endwhich screened as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Sat, 17th February

Cineworld 9

18.15

99 mins

 

Does he? Does he?! I was at the film because I’d first heard of it on cracked.com, my favourite pop culture and Science-Lite® destination. The film’s script is based on a novel by David Wong, senior editor of the website. Cracked is generally pretty good craic, with the firmly US-centric writing usually off-set by a self-awareness of the bias. It nonetheless felt a little surreal to see ‘that cracked guy’s’ film advertised in JDIFF.

 

I wasn’t sure how much of an audience John Dies at the End would attract this side of the Atlantic but it played to a packed audience in Cineworld on Sunday night.

 

The film is billed as a sci-fi comedy thriller so I was anticipating, at best, an insightful, hilarious, mind-bending shot of sci-fi and, at worst, a goofy, extended version of the hit-and-miss cracked.com videos. What we got was somewhere in the middle. It was like watching a well-liked acquaintance doing stand up for the first time – you have so much goodwill that you find yourself laughing even though the material isn’t really that strong. Despite the film’s flaws, I have been left with a healthy curiosity to read the original novel. Whether that will actually result in me tracking down a copy remains to be seen…

 

Niamh Creely

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my9Pr-W92SM

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JDIFF 2013: Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

 

David Neary on Alex Gibney’s hard-hitting documentary, which screened as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Fri, 15th February
Light House 1
18.00
107 mins


Who better to tackle the unsettling, knotty subject of child sexual abuse cover-ups in the Catholic Church than Alex Gibney? The director’s documentaries, from Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room to Casino Jack and the United States of Money, have always tackled powerful men and their abuse of that power. As Mea Maxima Culpa is keen to point out, there is no corporation in the world more powerful than the Catholic Church; no CEO as powerful as the Pope.

Receiving its Irish premiere at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival the very week that Josef Ratzinger announced he was to hang up his very large hat (Gibney claims no responsibility for this news), Mea Maxima Culpa seems simultaneously dated and thrillingly current. A lawsuit detailed within the film, taken by victims of clerical sex abuse against Pope Benedict XVI, gets shot down because the head of another state cannot be brought before a foreign court. All of a sudden, the events of the film take on new meaning.

Mea Maxima Culpa takes as its cornerstone the Father Lawrence Murphy case, in which a priest and educator sexually abused some 200 students at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, between 1950 and 1974. Interviews with four of his victims, some of whom have only spoken out about their suffering in recent years, help break down the horrific circle of secrecy that allowed this monster to go unpunished, and unimpeded, for so long.

Gibney fleshes out the story from here by touching upon abuse cases in Boston and Italy and, thanks to Irish Film Board funding, a lengthy stay in Ireland. But this is all padding (and the Irish abuse cases are more than deserving of their own feature-length doc), and it is not until Mea Maxima Culpa tackles the rotten heart of the Roman Curia, the sins of Pope John Paul II and the mishandling of the scandals by Ratzinger that the meat of the story is truly exposed.

Finely assembled from source materials, bolstered by re-enactments and location shooting, Gibney’s film allows its line-up of victims and legal experts to judge the abusers and those who shielded them from scrutiny, rather than going on the attack itself. There is not much new to learn from the film, but the sheer emotional weight of all the horrors the Church and its ‘servants’ have committed, when piled together like this, hit hard.

When the film ended, half the audience was in tears, the other half was visibly fuming with rage. No matter how much these issues are dealt with, talked out and reparations are made, those feelings will not disappear.

David Neary

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JDIFF 2013: El Cuerpo (The Body)

Cathy Butler enters the morgue and examines The Body, which screened as part of the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

El Cuerpo (The Body)

Sat, 16th February
Cineworld 18
20.45
110 mins

Spanish thriller El Cuerpo (The Body) opens quite literally with a bang, as an unfortunate morgue security guard gets hit by a car after fleeing through some woods in terror. At this screening we got to see this grim opening not once but twice, as an error with the subtitle track meant the film had to be restarted. Once the film is resumed, accurate subtitles included, we learn that back at the morgue the body of recently deceased successful business woman Mayka Villaverde is missing, presumed stolen. Detective Jaime Peña, a cop with a troubled past, is given the task of unravelling this strange case. He and his team decamp to the morgue to investigate. It immediately starts pouring rain.

The film plays out over the course of one night, and a large proportion of the action takes place in the morgue, with most of the core characters staying there for much of the film. This grim setting along with the ‘it was a dark and stormy night’ weather outdoors gives the film a nicely macabre air from start to finish.

On informing Mayka’s husband Alex of his wife’s body’s disappearance, Jaime soon begins to suspect this recently widowed man of her murder, and also of the theft of her body. It initially appears that this may be the case, but soon Alex starts finding strange clues and items left for him around the morgue. He begins to suspect that Mayka may be in fact alive, having duped him in revenge for plotting to kill her, and also for the infidelity that drove him to it, and is leading him into a trap that he cannot avoid.

This is a cleverly plotted mystery thriller, and a strong cinematic debut from Oriol Paulo. It makes some nice use of film noir tropes, almost to the point of irony – Mayka playing the femme fatale, Jaime as the cop with a history, the constant rain. The film veers towards stylized drama rather than gritty realism. For this reason it manages to be surprisingly humorous at times, despite its dark subject.

The twist is very nicely done and seems to tie up most of the strands of plot that Paulo weaves throughout the narrative. A more shrewd viewer may say there are plot holes, but I gave the film the benefit of the doubt and assumed I had missed some things along the way. The style is polished and slick, a little too much perhaps. But an intriguing and clever two hours, all things considered.

Cathy Butler

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JDIFF 2013: A Terrible Beauty

 

The 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

A Terrible Beauty

Sat, 16th February
Cineworld 11
19.40
92 mins

The docu-drama A Terrible Beauty is a surprisingly tender and tragic portrayal of the human side of the Easter 1916 Rising

The film avoids the main figures we normally associate with The Rising and instead tells the little-known stories of ordinary soldiers on both sides of the conflict, mixing archive footage with dramatic reconstructions and eyewitness accounts with contemporary interviews. The film cleverly uses first-hand records in order to present the authentic voices of the Irish Volunteers, the British soldiers and the civilians caught up in two of the biggest battles that occurred during the Rising – on Northumberland Road and North King St.

Director Keith Farrell told the audience in the post screening Q&A that in the past, the leaders of the Rising had been focused on again and again; whereas in this film, he said,  he wanted to focus on ordinary men – one of whom was Michael Malone (a carpenter by trade), “who commanded his troops brilliantly.” Michael Malone was 28 when he was killed in action on the Wednesday of the Rising. He is buried in the Republican Plot, Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Malone led his men defending No25 Northumberland Road on Easter Monday, where many British soldiers of the 59th North Midlands Division marching up that street met their deaths when they were shot upon by the 17 volunteers who were positioned on the street.

On North King St on Dublin’s north side of the Liffey, the South Staffordshire regiment of the British Army suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the Irish Volunteers, ill prepared it seems for urban combat. As a response, General Lowe ordered retaliation be swift and gave the order to ‘take no prisoners’ – as a result, troops broke into the homes of locals on North King Street and shot or bayoneted 15 civilian men and young boys whom they accused of being rebels.

The film’s director Keith Farrell told how he was able to draw on first-hand accounts of Irish volunteers who had been involved in the Rising that had been released in 2005 by the Irish government and also researched the Sherwood Foresters Regiment archive, and testimonies of eye-witnesses to create the events of the film told at first hand. Farrell also praised 2 books by  the  Irish military historian Paul O’Brien, describing them as “incredibly invaluable”.

A Terrible Beauty  captures the reality of the young soldiers and puts a focus on the tragic loss of life on both sides and it is to the film’s credit that it never seeks to triumphalise the spoils of battle.

The night’s event took on a more significant meaning when the crowd were introduced to Jack and Frank Shouldice’s sons, Chris and Frank Jr, who were both in the audience and contributed to a lively post-screening discussion. They recalled how their fathers, who both fought during Easter Week 1916, were gentle men who had to fight in terrible conditions. Both men went on to become pacifists –not participating in the Civil War that was to follow the Rising.

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JDIFF 2013: Where I Am

 

John Moran on the remarkable story told in Where I Am, which screened as part of the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

 

Where I Am

Sat, 16th February
Light House
18.45
69 mins

 

Where I Am, a documentary by first-time filmmaker Pamela Drynan, earned a standing ovation last night following its screening in the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

The film tells the story of Robert Drake, an American writer who returns to Ireland 10 years after he suffers debilitating injuries in a gay bashing in Sligo.  He recounts his ongoing recovery and sets off on a journey to find out how his attackers’ lives have been, compared to his, over the past decade.

Mr Drake’s capacity to forgive his assailants makes his story remarkable.  His resilience, humour and optimism make the film a surprising pleasure to watch.

Brian Finnegan, editor of GCN, described his presence at the screening as making his story come full circle, in that it was being witnessed.  His injuries prevented his attendance at court during the trial of his attackers.  They frustrated his career as a writer.  Confined to wheelchair, he now uses a modified keyboard and types one letter at a time, making long pieces difficult.

Following the screening, Mr Drake described seeing his life on-screen as surreal.  The audience applauded when one viewer spoke out being overwhelmed by his bravery.  Another asked Mr Drake for some tips on how he maintains his optimism.

Festival director Gráinne Humphreys introduced the film as ‘a beautiful story of pain and hope’ told with incredible simplicity and honesty.  Ms Drynan hopes the film will find a wider audience.  An accomplished film telling an important story, it deserves no less.

John Moran

Check out our exclusive interview with director Pamela Drynan in the current issue of Film Ireland magazine, available now.

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JDIFF 2013: Natan

 

The 11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Natan

Fri, 15th February
IFI 1
18.10
65mins

A new documentary from Paul Duane is a reason to enter into the cinema with the buzzing anticipation that you are about to encounter the fascinating life of a character whose story burns up the screen. His documentaries thrive on figures rejected by those who shape history, and seek to restore their extraordinary presence into the public consciousness.

After his compelling portrait of John Healy, the wino-turned chess champion, turned literary celebrity in Barbaric Genius and the punked-up thrills of Jerry McGill in Very Extremely Dangerous, Duane now brings us Natan, a remarkable tale of a pioneer of French cinema who was written out of its history, written maliciously back into it and now, with Duane’s latest documentary, Natan’s life has been re-written in an attempt to bring fact to bear upon fiction and bring truth to a myth that had become history.

Natan addresses the forgotten history of a man who shaped the French Film industry in the 1920s and 30s. What little is known of him is a web of viscious scurrilous lies. The documentary, expertly written by David Cairns, provides a ridiculously fascinating portrait of how the reality of the man who was a pioneer, technological visionary, director and producer of over 60 films, proponent of the business model of control of production, distribution, and exhibition, and one-time owner of Pathé, the world’s largest film equipment and production company, was deconstructed and mangled into a cauldron of lies, his reputation and achievements stained as he was cast as a monster, a Jewish swindler, pornography peddler, Pathé pillager, fraudster and – animal lovers , look away now – duck-buggerer.

Most tragic of all is the shocking details of his death – a victim of the anti-Semitism of France in the 1930s.

The film is constructed around some amazing research and remarkable archive footage (of Natan’s films and Natan himself, plus archive footage that provided the “evidence” for the false allegations) and interviews, including Natan’s granddaughter, interlaced with David Cairns’ ingenious use of a voiceover narrative, which personalises the film’s subject and brings a rewarding immediacy to the film’s core, including a deviceful use of a Papier-mâché head, which is always good to see.

Here is a story that needed to be told and needs to be seen – let’s hope it gets the distribution it deserves.

Steven Galvin

 

Check out our exclusive interview with director Paul Duane in the current issue of Film Ireland magazine, available now.

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JDIFF 2013: Broken

14th – 24th February 2013

 

The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival took off last night with the screening of the festival’s opening film Broken, with stars Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy in attendance, along with director Rufus Norris, writer Mark O’Rowe and producers Dixie Linder, Tally Gardner and Nick Marston.

 

 
award-winning photograph – copyright Steven Galvin

 

Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys launched the festival saying, ‘As an international festival, we aspire to champion emerging film makers, recognise established talents and celebrate the independent spirit of film makers the world over – fighting to bring their stories to audiences in their own way. Broken is a very special film – a beautiful story with a wonderful cast, delicate direction and its subtle bittersweet echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird – it’s an honour to bring its key players to Dublin for our Opening Night’

 

Speaking at the launch, Pat Magee, Managing Director Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, commented, ‘2013 marks the 11th anniversary of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival which is growing from strength to strength and is a world class example of how a great sponsorship can bring real value to all parties.  Jameson are delighted to support the festival this year with an exciting new TV, outdoor and on-line campaign which will  greatly enhance the profile of the festival  with Irish consumers and we are particularly pleased to announce that Danny Devito will be present for a special Jameson Cult Film Club screening of L.A. Confidential.’

 

Director of Broken Rufus Norris, who attended the premiere, commented, ‘it’s a wonderful compliment for us that Broken has been invited to open this Festival, and I am totally delighted to be part of such a great event. This is doubly so for the fact that so much of the film was created here. Mark O’Rowe and I argued back and forth over the script for days on end in various cafes around the city, and the care he gave it and education he gave me were the foundations of the piece. I hope you folk like it – its body is English but the bones were made in Dublin.’

 

The  event also saw Cillian Murphy present a Volta, the festival career achievement award, to Tim Roth before the screening, celebrating Roth’s roles in some of the most iconic films of his three-decade long career.
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JDIFF 2013: Preview – The Moth Diaries

11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

The Moth Diaries

Sat, 23rd  February
Cineworld 8
18.00
82mins

Mary Harron and Sarah Bolger will attend the screening.

Acclaimed director Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO, THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE) returns with the chilling story of Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), a young girl who, haunted by her father’s suicide, enrolls in an elite boarding school for girls. Before long, Rebecca’s  friendship with the popular Lucy (Sarah Gadon) is shattered by the arrival of a dark and mysterious new student named Ernessa (Lily Cole). Lucy  falls under Ernessa’s spell and becomes emotionally and physically consumed by her glamorous new friend. Rebecca, whose overtures of concern are rejected by Lucy, finds herself lost and confused. She begins to develop a crush on her handsome English teacher, Mr. Davies (Scott Speedman) and immerses herself in the Gothic vampire novel Carilla for his class. Rebecca starts to suspect that Ernessa is a vampire, but, despite the suspicious deaths that begin to occur, her fears are treated as simple girlish jealousy. As the bodies of young girls pile up and the line between reality and the supernatural starts to blur,  Rebecca decides to take matters into her own hands and get rid of Ernessa. Who can say what is real and what is unreal to the heart consumed by passion and a mind afire with loss? Based on the bestselling novel by Rachel Klein, THE MOTH DIARIES is a harrowing story of the anxieties, lusts and fears of adolescence.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp_luBLwsN0

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JDIFF 2013: Preview – Kieran Hickey Programme

11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Kieran Hickey Programme

Sat, 23rd  February
IFI 2
13.00
107mins

&

Sun, 24 February
IFI 2
15.50
114mins

 

Kieran Hickey (1936 – 1993)

The IFI and Jameson Dublin International Film Festival present a tribute to one of Ireland’s most sophisticated and versatile filmmakers – as accomplished in his production of elegant literary documentaries as he was in his direction of a series of exceptional short fiction films – literary adaptations and dramas which, for the first time in Irish cinema, explored sexuality, infidelity, and middle-class angst and challenged notions of nationalism, sectarianism and the glorification of the past. These fine works were produced with his collaborators Pat Duffner and Sean Corcoran at BAC films alongside an extensive catalogue of commissioned films – travelogues, health & safety and corporate films – which today provide colourful snapshots of Irish society in the 1970s and ‘80s. (Notes by Sunniva O’Flynn.)

I had the good fortune to co-write with Kieran Hickey. Kieran was intent on bringing to the screen a true picture of Irish society. There is nothing cozy about his films. There is, instead, an honesty and an exactitude, a desire to sweep aside a divisive self-consciousness in favour of a mature exploration of ourselves. His ambition for the work was never thwarted by budget restrictions. Kieran was a private man with strong friendships, ever prepared to get in the fight. His deep love of literature and extensive knowledge of cinema was brought to bear in the face of any challenge. (Philip Davison)

We are delighted to welcome Kieran’s friend, Theatre Director Patrick Mason to introduce both programmes.

 

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JDIFF 2013: Preview – Milo

11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Milo

Sat, 23rd  February
Cineworld 11
15.45
90mins

 

Milo is unaware that he suffers a rare genetic disease. He is kept under strict control by his parents who strive for wealth and success and are set on keeping Milo’s shameful condition a secret. However, a failed kidnapping, an unusual friendship and a violent confrontation forces Milo and his parents to embrace the imperfections in their lives.

Directors Berend and Roel Boorsma will attend the screening.

 

Running Time: 90 minutes
Irish Locations: Dublin, Wicklow
Financiers: Irish Film Board, Netherlands Film Fund, Video Film Express

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkiDRYiv3RM

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JDIFF Preview: Fionnuala: Small Puppet On A Big Journey / An Cat

11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Fionnuala: Small Puppet On A Big Journey / An Cat

Sat, 23rd  February
Cineworld 8
13.oo
40mins

 

Director James Kelly will attend the screening.

 

This touching documentary follows Fionnuala, a small wooden puppet, and her makers (the Galway-based puppet theatre company Branar) on a journey from Barna, Co. Galway to Cologne for a performance of their acclaimed Irish language version of Clann Lir (The Children of Lir).

The film goes behind the scenes at Branar to trace the process of building the show, from hand-carving the wooden figures to composing the score, but will the set arrive in Germany in one piece, and what to do about the missing gloves? Fionnuala is a touching exploration of the art of puppetry and the skill and craftsmanship that goes into a show.

Alistair Daniel, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Book tickets here or drop into Filmbase.

 http://www.jdiff.com/

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JDIFF 2013: Preview – Kelly + Victor

11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Kelly + Victor

Fri, 22nd February
Light House 1
20.00
90 mins

 

A haunting, candid depiction of a young couple embarking on a passionate and transgressive love affair, adapted from the novel by Niall Griffiths. The film stars Antonia Campbell-Hughes and Julian Morris.

Director Kieran Evans will attend the screening

Book tickets here or drop into Filmbase.

 http://www.jdiff.com/

 

 

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JDIFF 2013: Preview – Call Girl

11th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (14-24 February 2013)

Call Girl

Thurs, 21stFebruary
Light House 1
20.20
140 mins

 

Stockholm, late 70s. The model utopian society. Political neutrality and atomic power march hand in hand with women’s liberation and the sexual revolution. But under the polished surface, other desires are eager to be fulfilled. Within a stone’s throw of government buildings and juvenile homes lies the seductive, glittery and dirty world of sex clubs, strip shows, discotheques and apartments used for illicit and profitable rendezvous. CALL GIRL tells the story of how young Iris is recruited from the bottom rung of society, into a ruthless world where power can get you anything.

CALL GIRL is inspired by the real events of the most shocking political scandal of the Swedish seventies.

 

Book tickets here or drop into Filmbase.

 http://www.jdiff.com/

 

Produced by Garagefilm Film International AB, in co-production with Film i Väst, Sveriges Television AB, The Chimney Pot Sverige AB, Nouvago Capital AB, Friland Produksjon A/S, Yellow Film & TV Oy and Newgrange Pictures Ltd with support from the Swedish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV fond, Norwegian Film Institute, Finnish Film Foundation, The Irish Film Board and Windmill Lane Pictures.

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