58th Cork Film Festival: ‘The Red House’ & ‘In the Name Of’

The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)


Matt Micucci takes a look at The Red House and In the Name Of , which both screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival.



The Red House (Alyx Duncan)

The intimate domestic drama of Yasujiro Ozu meets the poetic narrative and visual structure of Terence Malick in this impressive directorial feature debut by New Zealand director Alyx Duncan.

The Red House paints the picture of Lee and Jia, a married couple in their sixties still madly in love despite their cultural differences. But when Jia has to return to her homeland to take care of an ill parent, this forced momentary separation threatens the balance of their idyllic relationship.

The film has slight imperfections and some slight carelessness in the screenplay as well as an occasional feeling of sparseness in the message that sometimes feels unfocused particularly when dealing with the afore mentioned cultural differences,

However, Duncan’s film still comes across as a deeply moving and heart-warming tribute to long lasting unconditional love and to the joys and sorrows of devotion. On top of that, its remarkable photography with a penchant for landscape and lyrical imagery makes it look very refined. Duncan’s bravest and ultimately recompensing choice was to cast her own parents in the lead role, hence adding an intense passionate realism in their chemistry and romance.



In the Name Of  (Malgorzata Szumowska)

Adam, a Polish Catholic Priest who has embraced the religious life to fight back his homosexuality, works in a rural village with teenagers with behavioural difficulties. Even though Szumowska’s In the Name Of is certainly provocative and often even uncomfortable, it never descends into tastelessness. However, the film constantly struggles to battle off this awkward feeling of being dishonest due to a lack of believable and truly compelling emotional depth – perhaps unaided by the lack of chemistry between Andrzej Chyra who plays Adam (admittedly a tough part to play) and Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, who plays his young lover Lukasz.

There are certain notably impactful elements that particularly lie around the Priest’s own internal struggles, sadness, anger and psychological torment – such as the impending shadow of a hostile reaction that hovers more menacingly over his head as the film progresses. As well as that, there is a little sensorial charm in its warm lighting and summertime setting that not only evokes sentiments of ‘sad young men’ of the forties and fifties, which usually dealt lightly with homoerotic themes, but also creates an intriguing contrast with the darkness in the soul of the film’s central figure.

Nevertheless, it may not be enough to save the film from being essentially weak or even disappointingly forgettable for better or for worse.


58th Cork Film Festival: ‘Sarah Prefers to Run’ & Tony Palmer’s ‘Nocturne’

The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)


Matt Micucci checks out Sarah Prefers to Run and Nocturne, which both screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival.


Sarah Prefers to Run (Chloé Robichaud)

Sarah is a 20-year-old girl who loves to run and moves to Montreal to make the big athletics league. Her life outside of running, however, is a little trivial as she constantly alienates herself from her friends and her mother. This is particularly true in the case of her relationship with Antoine, with whom she moves to Montreal and gets married for no other reason than to claim financial incentives.

Sarah Prefers to Run is literally a film about a character who prefers running over everything and in the process becomes a film about giving up on love, life and even happiness to feed into her idea of ethereal happiness. Robichaud is particularly brave in making a number of interesting anti-cinematic choices that in fact go against the traditional representation of human sentiments on the big screen whether it is through Sarah’s own passive nature or the awkward sexual chemistry she shares with Antoine – especially in a particularly uneasy and almost darkly comical sex scene.

Though in the grand vision of the film everything makes sense, Robichaud’s film can’t escape or shake off a feeling of pretentiousness and superficiality which will leave some members of the audience feeling totally cold – as cold, in fact, as Sarah herself seems to be towards human connection.

Sarah Prefers to Run mixes a valid mixture of honesty and metaphor, presented in a Dardenne Brothers’ type of visual realism, presented through an original compelling story and a captivating character study.

Nocturne (Tony Palmer)

Throughout his illustrious career, Tony Palmer has shown a great understanding of music and the musical process in its wider sense. His latest film Nocturne takes a look at the life of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century, Benjamin Britten, in honour of his hundredth birthday.

Having worked with Britten before, Palmer has clearly formed his idea of the composer’s personality, and what this film stands as is an analysis of any element – domestic, historical, sexual and political – that influenced his masterworks as well as a harrowing examination of his personality. In fact, there is literally nothing missing from this film, whether it is unique artistic representation of his work’s inspiration by juxtaposition of images of the holocaust and Iraq bombings over a performance of his renowned War Requiem, a detailed description of his music’s disciplined ethics by experts and critics and interviews with people who were closest to him. As well as that, it makes use of great archive material from films that show the man at work or his operas staged for television, some of it shot by Palmer himself.

However, there is more. The film’s unhurried pace allows its audience to truly identify with the film and the music with its unhurried pace that urges a kind of meditative interaction. Nocturne, therefore, is an astounding piece of documentary filmmaking that is at once structured and experimental. It is at once biographical and poetic. A truly magnificent experience, and a glorious find by the Cork Film Festival for this year’s edition.


58th Cork Film Festival: ‘A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III’ & ‘Wavemakers’

 The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Matt Micucci on A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III and Wavemakers, which both screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival.


A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III (Roman Coppola)


Charlie Sheen plays a graphic designer who descends into utter misery after his girlfriend leaves him. There have been some arguments in favour of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III that have called it a misunderstood tribute to ’70s film. However, there is very little to admire in a film that is uncertain about whether it wants to be deadpan or childish – so in the end it is just cardboard.

On top of that, its general humour is rather weak and the filmmaker doesn’t appear skilled enough to give the drama any relevant importance. The saddest element of all, however, is Charlie Sheen. Not only is his perhaps premature casting in a role that feels like a surrogate of his own ‘controversial’ lifestyle often feel very uncomfortable, but it’s even worse to see the embarrassing rare instances where the film requires him to act – particularly when we remember that this is the same man who once starred in Platoon.



Wavemakers (Caroline Martel)


Not many people will be familiar with the almost magical and yet obscure and mysterious instrument called the Ondes Martenot. Yet, this early electronic instrument has an infectious hypnotic charge that has made most people who have come in contact with it in one way or another fall in love with it, including filmmaker Caroline Martel, who came to know its haunting tones when she used it as the soundtrack to her previous film The Phantom of the Operator.

This certainly comes through in her latest documentary, Wavemakers, that tracks its lifespan from its inception in the mind of its creator Maurice Martenot right down to its relevance in modern music – whether it is through Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood or its most celebrated interpreter Suzanne Binet-Audet. Martel also shows a deep connection with the ondes Martenot by allowing its unique tones and vibratos to dictate its tone, mood and rhythm in a way that makes her documentary almost mystical and downright hypnotic.

A treat for the eyes and the ears, Wavemakers is also both a passionate and loving tribute to its subject as well as a warm appraisal of music’s most artisanal side.


58th Cork Film Festival: ‘Who is Dayani Cristal?’ & ‘Soldate Jeannette’

 The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)


Matt Micucci checks out Who is Dayani Cristal? by Marc Silver and Soldate Jeannette by Daniel Hoesl, which both screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival.


Who is Dayani Cristal?  (Marc Silver)


A powerful documentary that will surely shed a new and more human light on a delicate issue that is often viewed from a safe and unflatteringly politicised distance. Marc Silver offers a remarkable insight on the migration of poverty stricken Latin Americans to the United States, but takes a look at it from a haunting and original perspective by focusing on its dangerous and often tragic journey.

Its starting point, in fact, comes from the decomposing corpses or remains of the dead travellers found on the Sonora desert and the retracing of one of those bodies in particular – whose only initial distinguishing trait is a tattoo of the words ‘Dayani Cristal’. It is this man’s story, in fact, that is portrayed harrowingly with three different approaches – a narrative one starring Gael Garcia Bernal, an investigative one as the body’s origins are retraced and an intimate one where his family and close friends are interviewed.

The result is at once entertaining, haunting and potent as well as very important and effective in raising awareness on the issue that works as a spotlight on a specific geographic area but could a easily take more universal meaning in the subject of migration.

Furthermore, through skill and sensibility, Silver totally avoids patronisation or even exploitation. Who is Dayani Cristal? offers a voice to the voiceless and a strong human standpoint that urges international dialogue.



Soldate Jeannette (Daniel Hoesl)


The story of Fanni and Anna, two women sickened by the lives they lead; the first lives a life of pretend luxury and another a life of squalor among the pigs and the cows in a slaughter farm. The two meet. It’s hard to believe that Rotterdam almost fooled everyone into thinking that this was a landmark work of modern experimental cinema when it awarded it the Tiger Award.

It is a goofy attempt at depth and substance inexplicably referring to Dreyer’s Joan of Arc but ending up being half the movie Thelma and Louise was. The worst part is that Hoesl would rather fool us into thinking that Soldate Jeannette is a fresh and original tribute to the experimental cinema of the European no-wave than come up with anything that really is original in form, theme and context.

It’s the type of film that burns fake money and kills real animals on screen. Disgusting. Some people will be fooled by its clever antics, but this is a kind of snobbish swindle and an insulting betrayal to innovation.



Check out our Cork Film Festival coverage here



58th Cork Film Festival: ‘XL’ & ‘From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf’

 The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)


Matt Micucci takes a look at XL by Marteinn Thorsson, and From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf  by Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran, which both screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival.


XL (Marteinn Thorsson)

Thorsson’s latest film is certainly not of the easy kind. Dealing with the darkness of themes such as political and moral decadence, he builds a world of psychedelic insanity and puts an ‘extra-large’ Alice in Wonderland figure Leifur at the centre of it all – a parliamentary member, king adulterer, alcoholic  who in fact appears to be the human incarnation of all of the seven deadly sins.

An eccentric stylised vision of corruption and depravity, XL is quite simply a rollercoaster ride into hell and depravity, right up to its cathartic and nightmarish ending. It is a very unique vision, particularly considering its originality among the usually static Icelandic cinema through a non-linear narrative construction and a wild technical approach that delves into the unconventional.

The film also asks itself serious questions about masculinity through its lead character’s struggles and his role as a son, husband and father. Mind you, some will be shocked and disturbed by the film, but this is mostly because it almost forces us in the shoes of this Shakesperean anti-hero Leifur to the point where we perversely begin to feel for him, in spite of his lack of proper ethics and despite him symbolising virtually all that is wrong in modern society.

Ólafur Darrí Ólafasson is nothing short of praiseworthy as he on takes the role of this ‘big bad man’. His kind of brave interpretation, which demanded a delicate type of self-deprecation and physicality, is absolutely crucial to the film that without it would have quite simply fallen apart.



From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf  (Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran)

Life is not easy when working on a boat in the Arabian Sea – though it has its fair share of romanticism. That is the conclusion we can draw from this experimental documentary feature, which is not afraid to take us out of our comfort zone and practically force its audience to engage actively with the film.

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf is the fruit of the collaboration between filmmakers Anand and Sukuraman with a group of sailors from the Gulf of Kutch. It is, in fact, a collage of clips shot by the crew members themselves during their trips over the course of four years, some with good cameras but others with anything from phones to webcams – which means that the quality of the clips goes from good to very bad.

It’s a challenging film and some will find it inevitably tedious, but there is nothing sadistic about it not wanting to please its viewer in the most obvious way with a narrative or even any sort of structure worth mentioning. In its form, and its radically realistic representation, this is exactly as tough an experience as it needs to be. Yet, every now and again, the film will logically compensate and please the viewer through its simplicity, whether it is through a fleeting ray of light captured on the screen, the graceful sight of playful happy dolphins or a particularly exciting shot of a boat with a popular Arabic song playing in its background.



Check out our Cork Film Festival coverage here


Interview: Maurice O’Callaghan, director of ‘The Lord’s Burning Rain’



Matt Micucci sat down with director Maurice O’Callaghan at the 58th Cork Film Festival to discuss his film The Lord’s Burning Rain, which screened last weekend

I understand this film took quite a while to shoot.

It did, it took nine months because, first of all it was a very low-budget film. Second of all my son, who plays the lead role, was doing his Leaving Cert and he was only seventeen at the time so we could only shoot it during his vacation time. We shot it during Summer, Halloween, Christmas, Easter and then the next Summer, so it actually nearly took us twelve months.


Can you tell us a little about the story of the film?

It’s about a teenage boy who sets off with his father and his uncle to buy a horse from a mountaineer farmer one October day back in the 1960s. The boy then has to ride the horse home – a journey of forty miles over an enormous mountain range. On his way, he has a series of adventures. The story is based on The Odyssey of Homer and the idea of Telemachus who goes in search of his father, Odysseus, one of the great heroes of the Trojan war, who is not coming home because he has been side-tracked and gone off for twenty years.

Along the way, he meets all these people that tell him bits about his father. In the same way here, Donnachadh Diarmuid meets all sorts of people. The seductive tinker woman , who is based on the similar character Circe in The Odyssey, who tries to seduce Telemachus and steal his horse. The Protestant farmer, who is sort of based on the character of Nestor, the old warrior who has returned from war and knows everything about what happened. And then he meets the blind prophet, Tiresias, who is the man in the black cloak from the house of dead. In all the big stories there is always someone that tells the hero that he must go through the land of the dead to come safely to the other side. Donnachadh has to go into hell and has to see what his ancestors did before he comes out of the other side.

It’s based on a story I wrote in 2005. It was the second story in a collection of short stories that I published that year. In addition to that, as a young man, when I was thirteen years old, I rode a horse like that and I originally wrote it based on myself. Then when you write the story, other fictionalised elements come into play, such as the Greek elements that may already be there but you are not aware of at the time.


You have dealt with these themes in the past, and they are themes that are quite personal.

Yes, I grew up in a family of strong Republicans, all fighters from the old revolution. Most writers that are any good will write about what they know. For instance, I lived in America for along time and tried to write stories about my time there, but my publishers told me ‘your writing shines when you write about what you really know and about West Cork’. Although I have left it, even when you’re younger your best writing is about what you have known from the past. So when you don’t know your environment exactly, you have to make it up, whereas it comes natural when you know the environment well.


After a few scenes in the film, it becomes clear that this is a personal film. Did working with your own son (Harry O’Callaghan) acting in the film and your daughter (Maud O’Callaghan) producing it enhance your own personal journey while making the film?

It did because I was also playing his father in the film, both in the present time footage and it the black and white ones. That was footage we had shot twenty-five years ago, and had been sitting in an archive. So, you had three generations. I was playing his father, and the original story was based on my own father. It worked fantastically well. Harry was a reluctant actor, he is very naturalistic. He doesn’t do much in the film, but he reacts well and has great stage presence. Plus, I surrounded him with great actors like Jonathan Ryan, who plays the farmer and Caroline Morahan who plays the tinker woman.


Speaking of the way in which the film was brought on screen, one of my favourite elements was actually the narration – which sometimes is a drawback in films. Here, it reminded me of the older documentaries by Flaherty and Grierson…

…like Man of Aran?


Exactly. Was that deliberate?

Yes, it was deliberate. Another big one was Terence Malick, who uses vast amounts of voiceover in his films. Again, the idea of voiceover is very Homeric with Homer reciting The Iliad and The Odyssey in these big long poems. With this approach I’m reversing the idea of showing and not telling. I guess it’s more of an art-house approach but I think that you can get very bored of the same old bang bang Hollywood stuff.


This is, as you said yourself at the Q&A session after the screening, guerrilla filmmaking.

Yes. We had a big budget for my previous film Broken Harvest, but then I stopped filmmaking for a while and went back to writing. So, we didn’t have the money and that is another reason why the voiceover becomes a big thing because it can be added afterwards.


Do you find that the Irish revolution has been commercialised by bigger budget films and the realism and intimacy of the subject has been taken out of it too much?

I don’t think there have been many films made about it. I suppose, there was The Wind That Shakes the Barley, which I was involved on an early draft of the script. Michael Collins by Neil Jordan was another one. I just wanted to do it in another way. There is the young boy finding out about the past. Then there is the theme of division between the Catholics and the Protestants in West Cork. Then, there is the theme of the Irish fighting against the British.


Was this totally independently funded?

Oh yes, totally independently funded. Not even the Film Board was involved. I kind of didn’t want to wait around, I wanted to do it my way, and I think that nowadays if you do get outside founding you are always kind of required to leave some things in and take some things out. Then I showed it to James Mullighan here at the Cork Film Festival and he was a big fan of it, even though he is Australian and this is his first year – I think maybe it’s also because he saw it from an outsider’s point of view and saw maybe things that the Irish might be more familiar way.


The main questions that come to mind when talking about a film totally independently funded are two. The first being, are these types of films hard to get financed and the second one being whether you would be concerned that once they are financed, your original vision would be altered.

Certainly with this particular story, they might have said that the film was a little too pro-Republican, even though I think the big twist in the story is when the farmer, who is telling the kid about his father, actually is a Protestant – and that’s a big shock because he is helping the boy. So, I wouldn’t want to be doing this every day of the week, financing my own films myself – even though nowadays it’s easier with the new technology and the lighter camera. I mean, for instance, what did you think of the cinematography?


Like I said,  I took it as a piece of guerrilla filmmaker and once you get over the initial shock of seeing something different then it simply becomes a part of the experience.

One person mentioned to me that the landscape became a character in the movie.


Yes, that’s true and when you mentioned Terence Malick as an influence it made even more sense.

Yes. And then there is the fact that the kid has to conquer the mountains. It was a little slow at the start but it was deliberate. The story of the film kicks in with the introduction of the character of the tinker woman.


You mentioned that that particular part of the film was added after a first screening.

Yes, we showed it once at the Light House Cinema, just to a test audience of twenty people. Some said that it needed a little bit of excitement, and once the audience meets that tinker woman, then they forget about how long it took to get there. All that stuff in the middle works quite well and keeps the audience watching.


One of the conclusions of the film is that it’s hard to predict the future even when understanding the past. But speaking of the future of the film itself, is this the kind of work a filmmaker would make to attract financing for a chance at making a bigger budget feature based on the same themes?

Certainly not a remake, but one of the reasons I was out of it for fifty years – writing, even got involved in property development and made money elsewhere – was because I never made money from my films, only what I lost in them. I still loved making films. I made last year A Day for the Fire, which was made with the same crew and the some of the same cast about two men sitting in a bar and one telling the other how his son committed suicide. A very powerful film which showed here last year.

I dipped my toe back in the water with that film last year, which went off to Los Angeles in a shortlist for the Oscars. On the strength of that I said that I would work with the same actors. Besides that, all the stories I have filmed are all in the same book. My ultimate aim was to make all the ten stories, like a decalog, like Kieslowski. So it is possible that I might do the remaining seven, but I have another major script called The Caress, which is based on the life of Liam O’Flaherty. It’s a kind of a cross between The Quiet Man and Man of Aran. That is a much bigger film that I want to make with a bigger crew. That is a film that I think would be very commercial and there is no politics in it, it’s more about love, lust and sex. It’s a love triangle.


And it’s a period piece?

It’s set in 1935. It’s one of the most commercial stories that might come out. I have been making movies for twenty five years, and they have tried all sorts of things that have never worked. The Americans still love to see Irish period films – in other words, a film like this might do better there than it might here, because they like to see that landscape, hear that music and can’t seem to change their mind that Ireland has become a modern place because then it would simply become another America. They want to see something exotic.


Do you find that digital filmmaking has made it easier for The Lord’s Burning Rain to come to life?

Oh, yes. I mean, it was all shot on digital apart from the archive material that had been shot on film. We made that black and white and that was great because it made it look very old, it looked like footage from the twenties – even though it was shot in the eighties. The rest of that stuff was on digital and we didn’t have to fly all the reels to Heathrow Airport like we did with Broken Harvest, which was shot on 35mm. Digital filmmaking has definitely made everything a lot easier, but ultimately it’s not down to the camerawork or even the music, it’s down to the acting and the story.


Would you put marketing in that list?

Marketing is important but it can only go so far. But this kind of a movie will hopefully go by word of mouth and hopefully get into the art-house cinemas circuit.


Have you been talking to anyone yet?

We have been talking to the IFI and the Light House where we screened the film already. I think RTÉ might want to have a look at it as well. But you’d be surprised. I mentioned the film Pilgrim Hill, it was made for 4,500 euro and won loads of awards. Done on a digital camera and the guy has made deals for Hollywood. We’ve entered The Lord’s Burning Rain in Sundance and will probably be entering it into Tribeca too.


The Lord’s Burning Rain screened on 10th November at The Cork Opera House as part of the the 58th Cork Film Festival.









58th Cork Film Festival: ‘The Lord’s Burning Rain’ & ‘Breaking Ground: the Story of the London Irish Women’s Centre’

 The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)


Matt Micucci checks out 2 of the Irish films that screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival – Maurice O’Callaghan’s The Lord’s Burning Rain and Michelle Deignan’s Breaking Ground: the Story of the London Irish Women’s Centre.


horsefilm-300x168The Lord’s Burning Rain (Maurice O’Callaghan)


Modern independent Irish cinema just keeps shining, and Maurice O’Callaghan’s latest film is one of its most challenging and meditative entries. Shot in a rough and rugged guerrilla filmmaking style, The Lord’s Burning Rain is about the journey of a 16-year-old boy as he rides the new family horse to his house on his own.

During the journey, the young male experiences a series of encounters that help him uncover a side of his father and his struggles for Irish independence he was not aware of.

Far from the comfort zone of the vast majority of films that have dealt with the subject in the past, O’Callaghan’s film is quite demanding and many will find its art-house energy alienating. Nevertheless, anyone willing to let themselves be taken by the film’s poignancy and melancholia – as well as the deeply personal nature of the filmmaker’s vision, will find it quite a unique, poetic and exceptionally gratifying experience.



Breaking Ground: the Story of the London Irish Women’s Centre (Michelle Deignan)

A feminist documentary made with an all-female crew, Breaking Ground is a documentary about the London Irish Women’s Centre, which was founded in the early eighties to represent and support generations of Irish women in London. Despite hints at radicalism, Michelle Deignan’s film is far from being a sort of aggressive manifesto.

Breaking Ground comes across as warm and soft-spoken. Deignan interviews the people who were actively involved in the group and makes full use of the primary source archive footage to offer great intimate insight that helps highlight the importance of such support groups and their effect on society.

As a documentary, it doesn’t come across as the kind of powerful work that takes a stance and it’s highly unlikely that it will start any type of revolt – but then again, that is not the kind of film it wants to be.

Breaking Ground feels more like a simple and sincere tribute to the ordinary people of any kind who rise up against discrimination and represent solidarity by having an impact on their community through kindness, harmony and tolerance.



Check out our Cork Film Festival coverage here


58th Cork Film Festival: ‘Silence is Gold’ & ‘Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton’

The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Matt Micucci at the 58th Cork Film Festival reports on Silence is Gold and Big Joy: The Adventures of  James Broughton.



Silence is Gold  (Julien Fréchette)

Silence is Gold is a real-life tale of David and Goliath. Documentarian Julien Fréchette followed the controversial events surrounding the release of a book on Canadian mining companies in Africa called Noir Canada, which saw its writers and publishers sued by giant companies Barrack Gold and Banro.

Rather than being investigative, blatantly picking one side over the other and using an investigative approach, Fréchette carefully chooses to retain a certain distance and mostly play the role of observer. Silence is Gold, in fact, doesn’t really come up with its own conclusions but is rather content with raising certain issues about Canadian mining in Africa, the media and the Canadian juridical system in a way that wants and seeks audience interaction.

The pace is energetic and we witness the events as they happen. This heightens an element of tension and suspense that makes it entertaining in a film that also offers an insightful and intimate look at writer Alan Denault as he carries the weight of the situation on his shoulders with worried, yet faithful, determination.



Big Joy: The Adventures of  James Broughton (Stephen Silha, Eric Slade, Dawn Logson)


Who is James Broughton? James Broughton is a poet and poetic filmmaker that time has inexplicably forgotten. And yet, as this wonderful documentary shows, not only is his work delightful but also characteristically unique in its imaginative approach, often quirky and funny but always deep and personal. On top of that, he was also quite a fascinating character whose infectiously positive attitude is faithfully represented in this equally infectiously entertaining film.

Big Joy, in fact, is one of those rare instances where a traditionally structured biographical documentary seems to truly and wholly connect with its character through an imaginative visual approach and a deep understanding of its subject’s joie-de-vivre as well as his internal struggles. Furthermore, it presents a particularly intimate portrayal of his own journey of discovery in his coping with his homosexuality from its painful awakening to his full acceptance and celebration of his idea of universal love and sexuality.

Interviews with his close friends and relatives, footage from his films, lots of great stills from the time and priceless access to pages of his own personal journal allow us to get real close to the late artist. But what is perhaps even more remarkable is the chance that Big Joy offers Broughton to inspire a new generation of followers and artists, much like he did when he was alive.



Check out our Cork Film Festival coverage here


58th Cork Film Festival: ‘Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction’ & ‘Becoming Traviata’

The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Matt Micucci at the 58th Cork Film Festival takes a look at Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction and Becoming Traviata


 Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (Sophie Huber)

Legendary character actor Harry Dean Stanton sits down in front of a camera, sings a few songs, says a few words and a few friends of his share some memories with him. The result goes far beyond it being an intimate and insightful portrayal of a man who has managed to willingly escape the limelight while retaining the respect as a performer he truly deserved.

It also reveals a side of his we may never have known, such as his down-to-earth personality, his almost self-deprecating humbleness when talking about his memorable past roles, and his heartfelt passion for music. Partly Fiction also comes across as very imaginative and gratifying due to its naturalistic flow and an air of wise and sincere tranquillity. This deeply differentiates it from the countless more conventionally structured biographical documentaries and arguably even makes it more rewarding.

Sophie Huber’s work also enjoys some priceless contributions from big names such as David Lynch, Debbie Harry, Wim Wenders and Kris Kristofferson.



Becoming Traviata (Philippe Béziat)

Becoming Traviata is certainly one of the most riveting and imaginative ways in which documentary has ever presented the creative process of opera productions and the passion and talent of each individual involved in it. Filmmaker Béziat employs a fly-on-the-wall approach in following the preparations of a staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s masterwork La Traviata at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France.

He particularly focuses on celebrated opera singer Natalie Dessay as she prepares to take on the leading role of Violetta. Her presence is powerful and magnetic, yet it is far from being the conventional representation of the ‘diva’ opera singer. In fact, Becoming Traviata offers a revelation of the world of opera that is far from the snobbery and pretentiousness that it is sometimes identified with. It is rather presented as a disciplined and sometimes demanding yet joyful and exciting expression of artistic freedom and, in this case, the re-interpretation and modernisation of the mise-en-scene of one of the most recognised and praised works in the history of classical music.

Admittedly, the film opens to a riveting crescendo and reaches an enthusiastic height in its beginning that it sometimes struggles to match as it progresses. Nevertheless, the structure of the film that unfolds with and remains faithful to the emotional charge and intensity of the opera work makes it entertaining throughout as we get to follow the parallel physical and emotional developments of both the behind-the-scene machinations and the Italian composer’s original vision. And (is there any need to say it) the music itself is sublime.



Check out our Cork Film Festival coverage here



Cork Film Festival Competition: Win a Pair of Tickets for ‘All is Lost’ starring Robert Redford

© Daniel Daza

As part of the 58th Cork Film Festival All Is Lost, directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Robert Redford, screens on Wednesday, 13th November at 8.30pm in the Cork Opera House.

Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Robert Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shippingcontainer left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest. With theunrelenting sun, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.

Thanks to the fine people at the Cork Film Festival we have two pairs of tickets to give away to see the film.

To be in with a chance of winning yourself a pair of tickets, simply answer the following question:

What 2011 film, starring Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci and Kevin Spacey, did J.C. Chandor direct?

Email your answer to filmireland@gmail.com before 1pm on Wednesday, 13th November, when the winners will be notified by email.


Check out our Cork Film Festival coverage here


The 58th Cork Film Festival: Nebraska


The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Matt Micucci begins his coverage of the 58th Cork Film Festival with a report from the festival’s opening film, Nebraska by Alexander Payne.

On Saturday night the 58th Cork Film Festival got off to a great start with its opening film, Nebraska by Alexander Payne – a remarkable intimate portrayal that is as harrowing as it is humorous. Genuinely touching, nostalgic and very funny, this surely figures among the filmmaker’s best works to date.

Throughout his celebrated career, Payne has characteristically been concerned with troubled and seemingly deeply unsatisfied individuals who have problems coming to terms with their decadent realities –  a fruit of a monotonous and largely unfulfilling life. Even in The Descendants, set among the wealthier class of the paradisiacal Hawaii, Matt King, played by a George Clooney at his best, famously stated where he thought paradise could go. One of Payne’s greatest assets, drawing from his acclaimed talent from screenwriting, has been this delicacy of making the silences and the unspoken words between the characters as relevant, if not more relevant, than the actual words.

This quality of Payne’s must have come from his own birthplace. Payne was born in Nebraska and set most of his previous films there from Citizen Ruth to About Schmidt. It is a place renowned for its overall quietness. Just think about Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska album – one of the most introvert and soul-searching albums in the history of modern music. Cinematically speaking, the setting is identifiable by its grey skies, its small towns and this solemn and meditative silence and dullness that is neither frowned upon nor celebrated by its inhabitants. At some point in the film, the editor of a local newspaper openly admits to lead character David that people pick up drinking there because there is not much else to do.

This film is the story of David Grant (Will Forte), one of many men with a dull and thankless job, who is afraid to commit to a serious relationship and marry his girlfriend. She, in the meantime, has upped and left him, frustrated by his lack of will to commit. As if his life wasn’t frustrating enough, his father Woody (Bruce Dern) constantly concerns him and the rest of his family with his stubborn behaviour. An ageing old man, showing the signs of vulnerability from a history of alcoholism, he not only fully believes that he has won a million dollars upon receiving a marketing scam letter. He is also determined to get to Lincoln and collect his money himself, even if he has to get there on foot.

Despite all this, David is still quiet and almost content on the outside. He is very sympathetic to his father’s situation. While he understands the concern his runaways down the highway cause, he eventually gives into his father’s wishes and agrees to take him to Lincoln himself. Though he knows well that there won’t be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, he is quite happy to be spending time with his father and looks after him out of kindness even after an accident leads them to having to stop in his old hometown at an aunt’s house. It is there that Woody rekindles with his past.

There is a lot that ties the character of Woody to the character played by Jack Nicholson from About Schmidt. They are both soft spoken and both quietly submitted to people taking advantage of them. As well as that, both were subjected to constant psychological beatings that visibly left them in a state of near alienation. The major difference between the two films lies in the journey itself. In Nicholson’s film, Warren Schmidt, on his way to his estranged daughter’s wedding, embarked on a journey of self-discovery. The journey in Nebraska is not Woody’s – it’s David’s. David is the one who almost unexpectedly discovers a side to his father he had never really known. This also gives him an opportunity to give his father an image that goes beyond the negative memories of boozing and overall carelessness; a fact that is particularly powerful when considering that he knows that his father has little time left to live. That is why he keeps the journey up and often even shares his excitement of an illusion. Perhaps this to him too is an illusion, but it is as welcome as his father’s one for his hopelessly coveted million.

This intimate portrayal is made even deeper by the performances. Will Forte of Saturday Night Live fame is on his way to becoming one of the best newcomers in American cinema. He shows great versatility in his portrayal of emotional devotion and good-natured loyalty. On top of that, Bruce Dern gives the best performance of his whole career as Woody. It is a performance of restraint, a performance of tragedy and comedy combined. All his lines are delivered with such finesse that they could at once be tragic and laugh-out-loud hilarious. The same can be said about his fish-eyed stares, often lost in his own world, hardly paying attention to what is going on around him. The physicality of his performance is also praiseworthy – his goofy but determined walk recalls slapstick comedians but also takes us back to the seriousness of his character’s physical and mental weaknesses, in a film where we, as the audience, are constantly conflicted by the tragicomedy of realism.

The support cast is equally great. There are times when June Squibb as Woody’s nagging wife Kate steals the show. It’s quite entertaining to see her giving out about her husband right to his face, yet even more rewarding to see those occasional moments when she puts her moaning aside and shows those brief, yet sweet, moments of tenderness to not only her husband but also David and his older brother (Bob Odenkirk). This reveals Kate as the strong woman of the house, perhaps the strongest character in the whole film but also certainly the undisputed leader of the pack. On that note, it is amusing to note her stints into ‘potty mouth’ territory with hilariously rude remarks that reveal a little trend in modern cinema after Judi Dench’s performance in Philomena.

Nostalgia is one of the prevailing moods of this film. This is not only due to the great screenplay but also through a wonderful use of black and white cinematography. This adds a sense of melancholia and poetry in shots of lonely diners, empty taverns or the wide use of landscape shots. It recalls the small town melodrama of Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show. Payne’s film could well have spun out of that generation and this could be its unofficial Nebraska-based sequel set many times in the future. But perhaps more than that, it stands as a modernisation of Italian neo-realism. In particular, Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece The Bicycle Thief. There are countless ways in which the father-son relationships in the two movies match up – however, the biggest comparison lies once again in the hopeless journey. At the end of the day, David would love to get his dad that million, just like young Bruno would love to find his father’s bicycle in De Sica’s work.

Despite its melancholia and underlying sadness, Nebraska is quite optimistic. It’s a high spirited drama, almost more a touching comedy than a drama in itself. Its positive outlook on life is universally crowd pleasing, yet never in an obvious way. Some of Payne’s previous works have certainly been met with more anticipation and more clamour, yet it is also this essential lack of vulgar media buzz surrounding the film that heightens the power of the experience. In fact, premature commotion would have drastically affected the quiet nature of Nebraska and altered its identity.


Check out our Cork Film Festival coverage here



Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival



Click on the film to read our preview of the Irish Films screening at the 58th Cork Film Festival, including times, venues, prices. We also chat to some of the filmmakers about their films being featured at the festival.


Breaking Ground

Call Girl

Dark Touch

How To Be Happy

Irish Shorts 1: Unfinished Dreaming

Irish Shorts 2 : An Exile in the Home

Irish Shorts 3: To Hell With Common Sense

The Lord’s Burning Rain

Moon Man

The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology

The Shadows

The Summit


Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival: The Summit


The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

The Summit

Saturday, 17th November, 20:30

Cork Opera House
Tickets €9.00
136 Minutes

Nick Ryan’s gripping film chronicles one of the deadliest days in modern mountain history when 11 climbers, including Limerick man Ger McDonnell, lost their lives on the most dangerous mountain on Earth, K2. The film was produced by Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Productions and written by Mark Monroe, the writer of Oscar winning The Cove.

Nick spoke to Film Ireland: “I am thrilled to have The Summit play in the Opera house at the Cork film festival. As an Irish production it means a lot to be able to show the film in cinemas to audiences here. We set out to make a film that would bring the truth of what happened on K2 in 2008 to the world, and this enables people to talk and discuss the events.

“Whilst the story is an international one, I feel that to me, Ger McDonnell as the moral centre of the story is one that should especially interest Irish audiences. Amongst the shocking events in the film, he stands out as a true modern day hero.”

Click here to Book your Ticket




Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival: The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology


The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Saturday, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

16th November, 10:30

Cork Opera House
Tickets €6.00
136 Minutes

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, that once again pairs together philosopher Slavoj Žižek and director Sophie Fiennes after the success of The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, will screen at this year’s Cork Film Festival.

Starting from the provocative premise that political and commercial regimes regard us as ‘subjects of pleasure’, controlling us by offering us enjoyment, director Sophie Fiennes and charismatic philosopher Slavoj Žižek repeat the formula of their 2006 success.

The quirky, genial Žižek employs cleverly chosen clips from a huge variety of movie, including Brazil, M*A*S*H, The Sound of Music, and Brief Encounter, to illustrate his fascinating monologue, frequently appearing on sets and in costumes that replicate scenes from the films in question. For example, dressed as a chubbier, bearded Travis Bickle, he expounds the darker subtexts of Taxi Driver’s plot from within the anti-hero’s grotty apartment. This entertaining approach helps to ensure that what might otherwise have been a dense, even daunting, intellectual challenge is actually an engaging and unexpected delight.

Click here to Book your Ticket.



Irish Shorts at the Cork Film Festival 3: To Hell With Common Sense

the missing scarf

The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

15th November, 15:30

Triskel Christchurch
Tickets €6.00
90 Minutes

Each of the films in this programme beguile and bewitch in differing fashions, common sense is discarded in favour of mysterious decisions and unimaginable consequences.

The Line-Up:

The Hard Way

A troubled teenage girl and an unhappily married man meet in secret. They think their problems are over. But they haven’t counted on each other.

Director: Imogen Murphy
Producer: Simon Doyle
Ireland / 2013 / 13 Minutes / Colour


Sunday Morning

Sunday morning and nine year old Kiva is getting up to mischief around her palatial home. However, things take a darker turn after a scary experience in the swimming pool.

Director: Brian O’Toole
Producer: Michael Quinn
Ireland / 2013 / 22 Minutes / Colour


The Missing Scarf

Albert is desperately in search of his favourite scarf which has vanished in the forest. But his problems are soon put into perspective.

Director: Eoin Duffy
Producer: Jamie Hogan
Ireland / 2013 / 7 Minutes / Colour


Rough Cut

Kate, a troubled film editor, receives news that her ex husband, Alrecht, is trying to reunite with their severely brain damaged, eleven year old son, Kai, after completing a lengthy prison sentence.

Director: Laura Way
Producer: Liam Beatty, Niall Owens, Ian De Bri
Ireland / 2013 / 9 Minutes / Colour


All Mortal Flesh

A suburban family man and sometime contract killer reluctantly interrupts his Christmas shopping in order to complete a last-minute assignment.

Director: John Corcoran
Producer: John Corcoran
Ireland / 2013 / 13 Minutes / Colour


Furniture – Murder and Love

Murder, lust and love in the world of Irish furniture. Will our hero Peadar survive to save his love, the wonderful, beautiful Deirdre?

Director: David Quin
Producer: David Quin
Ireland / 2013 / 5 Minutes / Colour


The Last Days Of Peter Bergmann

Peter Bergmann – a man who would go to great lengths to ensure no one would ever discover who he was or where he came from.

Director: Ciarán Cassidy
Producer: Morgan Bushe
Ireland / 2013 / 19 Minutes / Colour


Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival: How To Be Happy


The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

How to be Happy

Friday, 15th November, 19:30

Triskel Christchurch
Tickets €9.00
90 Minutes

The Irish-made romantic comedy about a marriage councillor who gets involved with his clients, How to be Happy, will screen at the Cork Film Festival 2013. Hot from its success at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh the feature, starring Brian Gleeson and Gemma-Leah Devereux, was made as part of the Filmbase Digital Feature Production MSc.

Richard Bolger, producer and former Filmbase student, told Film Ireland that ‘being a part of the Cork Film Festival this year is huge. How to be Happy being chosen as one of the very selected few Irish feature films to feature in this years festival is a huge show of support for grass route filmmaking in this country and once again is testament to the support out there for the film.

‘All of those involved with the making of the film could not be more proud or more excited about bringing this film to another part of the country, hopefully the first of many in this country. This film had a huge amount of supporting and hard working individuals and being selected for the festival is wonderful for all involved to be able to tell fellow filmmakers and friends alike’.

Cormac Kavanagh (Gleeson) is a marriage councillor who, off the back of messy break-up, starts sleeping with his clients in a misguided pursuit of happiness. Flor (Devereux), a private detective, is charged with investigating Cormac’s unconventional treatments, but things get complicated when she begins to have feelings for him. Between friends with the best intentions, misunderstandings and a client who also happens to be a notorious gangster, Cormac must navigate his way through the more erratic and chaotic elements of love and relationships before realising How to be Happy.

Click here to book your ticket

Click here for an interview with the film’s producer



Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival: Dark Touch

dark touch

The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Dark Touch

Tuesday, 12th November, 23:45

Triskel Christchursh
Tickets €9.00
90 Minutes

Dark Touch, the psychological horror directed by Marina De Van, will screen at the 58th annual Cork Film Festival. Made as part of an Irish, French and Swedish co-production, the film focuses on Niamh, an 11-year-old who is the sole survivor of a supernatural massacre that destroyed her family.

Niamh and her family are in an isolated house in Ireland when the house and furniture take on a life of their own and attack the inhabitants, leaving all but the young girl dead. The police will not believe her story and she is taken in by family friends. But the danger persists and Niamh comes to realise she has powers that will put more than just herself in danger.

Within the context of a horror movie, Dark Touch deals with issues of child abuse and trauma.

Click here to book your ticket.



Interview: James Mullighan, Director of the Cork Film Festival


James Mulligan


With the 58th Cork Film Festival kicking off this weekend Glenn Caldecott sat down with the newly-appointed festival director James Mullighan to talk about what audiences can expect from Cork this year.

Now in its 58th year, the Cork Film Festival has built up a reputation for showcasing some of the best global arthouse cinema and has maintained a strong commitment to supporting up-and-coming filmmakers. The newly-appointed festival director, James Mullighan, was keen to stress that he wanted to remain faithful to this tradition. ‘The thing that audiences this year can expect to be the same is a continued commitment to exhibit the best recent arthouse cinema from around the world. So there is a touching human drama from Turkey and a Cannes award winner in The Opera House.

‘Again we are determined to do what we can for emerging filmmakers and we have three programmes of short films, for those made in Cork, in Ireland and the rest of the world. We also have a 10 event film education scheme for emerging filmmakers, which is a mix of a meet the sales agents panel all the way through to the bold new conference, Emerge, on the last Saturday’.

Emerge will feature discussions from filmmakers, technologists and transmedia producers, and will explore the convergence of film and technology to cover areas such as crowdfunding, transmedia, making films for web and connecting to audiences. ‘Ireland is rich in conferencing but it doesn’t have anything quite like this. I’m sure that the Cork Film Festival is a great home for it with its commitment to helping emerging filmmakers’.

Born in Adelaide, Australia, James Mullighan worked as a freelance arts journalist before moving to London to embark on a busy career that involved being the Creative Director of Shooting People, the producer of Marketing and Distribution for the Sleep Paralysis Project, and a Contributing Editor for VODO, Cinovate and Rich Pickings. In 2011 he directed the Edinburgh International Film Festival through a turbulent transitional year.

‘I wont pretend that I had a particularly easy time running the Edinburgh Film Festival’, admitted James, ‘but it was in many ways one of the most satisfying thing ive ever done’. In May 2013 he got the fateful call from the board of the Cork Film Festival asking him to once again reprise his role as a festival director. ‘My stomach flipped over. The idea of running a film festival again filled me with absolute delight. It wasn’t hard to convince me to take the job, I just then had to convince others that I was the right guy for it’.

So what does he feel he has brought to the festival this year? ‘If you look at the new logo, next to film in smaller letters is ‘music’ and ‘ideas’. This is a musical city in a musical country and there will not be a day that goes by where there won’t be music events’. Such events include the psychedelic rock band ‘Teeth of the Sea’ performing a live score to A Field in England, and harpist and vocalist Serafina Steer is doing a new score to Amer, the giallo film by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani. ‘Also, the Emerge conference is very close to my heart, I hope it sticks and is something we can build upon.’

And what is he particularly looking forward to. ‘If someone was thinking about going to the festival and only seeing one film, the sure fire winner for me is Lukas Moodysson’s Swedish comedy drama, We Are The Best, about three eleven-year-old girls who, not letting their complete lack of musical talent hinder them, start a punk band’.


The 58th Cork Film Festival runs from the 9 – 17  November 2013.

For more information visit www.corkfilmfest.org

Check out our previews of Irish film screening at Cork plus exclusive coverage from the festival


Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival: Moon Man


The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Moon Man

Tuesday, 12th November, 11:00

Triskel Christchurch
Tickets €4.00
95 Minutes

Moon Man, the 2D animation that came out of an Irish, German and French co-production, will screen at the 58th Cork Film Festival. Based on Tomi Ungerer’s best selling children’s book, Moon Man is a family story abut the man in the moon, who embarks on an adventure when he hitches a ride on a commet headed for earth.

The screening at Cork will be followed by a animation workshop for all ages. The workshop includes post-it animations, making something move, storyboards, creating your own characters and stories, and will be hosted by Cartoon Saloon’s Fabian Erlinghauser, the animation supervisor on Moon Man. Tickets for the workshop are €4 and can be booked by emailing industry@corkfilmfest.org

Moon Man is a loving family tale about the man in the moon, who isn’t even aware how much children love him. When a shooting star passes by on its way to earth, he hitches a ride and crashes down on a planet ruled by a tyrannical President. Escaping the president’s soldiers, Moon Man sets off on an adventure , where he will marvel at the many wonders the Earth has to offer and realise how much children love and need him.

Click here to book you ticket for the screening.



Irish Shorts at the Cork Film Festival 1: Unfinished Dreaming


The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Thursdat, 14th November, 13:30

Trskel Christchurch
Tickets €6.00
93 Minutes

The presence of absence looms large in this presentation of films focusing on near-forgotten dreams, often – but not always – to be superseded by the calming re-assurance of a second chance.

The Line-Up:

Bridge Station

An old man sells scratch cards outside of a train station watching the people pass by. Everyday, they emerge from the station at the same time without paying attention to him. Until one day…

Director: Christopher Brennan
Producer: Francois Farrugia
Ireland / 2013 / 16 Minutes / Colour



Grey abducts the sweetheart of raccoon T-Rex in the hope that he’ll be hers.

Director: Claire Lennon
Producer: IADT
Ireland / 2013 / 3 Minutes / Colour



A chance encounter in a coffee shop between Mark and Sara results in a wondrous new perspective.

Director: Steven Daly
Producer: Oisín O’Driscoll, Steven Daly
Ireland / 2013 / 14 Minutes / Colour



A mechanic at the end of his tether finds solace in old age.

Director: Tom Sullivan, Feidlim Cannon
Producer: Tom Sullivan, Siun O’Connor
Ireland / 2013 / 15 Minutes / Colour


The Beauty of Ballybrack

Under the guise of being just another Home-stay Hostess from Ballybrack, Bríd invites a gaggle of beautiful young Spanish girls to come and stay with her while they learn English, but for a price.

Director: Megan Woods
Producer: Amber Miles
Ireland / 2013 / 15 Minutes / Colour


Rainbow Chaser

Patrick Campbell Lyons jumped from Co. Waterford straight into the 1960s London psychedelic scene with his band Nirvana. 45 years on, he retraces his steps.

Director: Conor Heffernan
Producer: Conor Heffernan
Ireland / 2013 / 30 Minutes / Colour


Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival: Breaking Ground

breaking ground

The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Breaking Ground – The Story of the London Irish Women’s Centre

11th November, 19:00

Gate Cinema
Tickets € 9.00
63 Minutes

The documentary, Breaking Ground – The Story of the London Irish Women’s Centre, will be screened alongside the short Muriel Matters in a double bill event at the 58th Cork Film Festival.

The film surrounds a group of inspirational Irish women living in London who formed the radical organisation in the 80’s. It will be screened along with the short film, Muriel Matters, that documents the influential Australian woman of the title who fought for women’s suffrage in the early 1900’s.

Michelle Deignan, the director of Breaking Ground, spoke to Film Ireland. ‘It’s very significant for Breaking Ground to be screened at Cork International Film Festival, the most established of the film festivals in Ireland. I have always regarded it as an innovative and eclectic festival that is very supportive of Irish film, particularly films that look at alternative subject matter. I am looking forward to seeing the two films in the same context, films that in very different ways look at the representation of women’s political history. It seems a very apt curatorial decision on the part of the festival programmers’.

Deignan’s documentary was made by and all-female crew and tracks the organisation over its 29 year history. The London Irish Women’s Centre was formed when against a backdrop of social and gender divisions and anti-Irish sentiments when Irish women made up 10% of London’s female population. The footage cuts never seen before archive material with interviews with the women that made it all happen.

Click here to book your ticket.



Preview of Irish Film at Cork Film Festival: The Shadows


The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

13th November, 10:30

Gate Cinema
Tickets €6.00
85 Minutes

The Shadows, an Irish feature directed by Colin Downey and produced by Eimear O’Kane, is to be screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival. The film tells the story of a young boy’s journey as he ventures into ‘the World of Shadows’.

Eimear spoke to Film Ireland about what it means for The Shadows to be screened at Cork this year. “It is an honour to screen The Shadows at the Cork Film Festival this year alongside such high calibre films. We hope the audience there responds as warmly to the film as they have at previous festivals”.

The film was shot in Bective and Navan, County Meath, and evokes a longing for adventure and escape seen through the prism of a child’s imagination.

The Shadows follows the adventures of a lonely young boy, Matthew (Lorcan Melia), as he discovers a key to a parallel world of mystery and magic beneath his grandmother’s garden. Matthew meets a Shadowman named Yorrick (Michael Parle) who guards an ancient crown of gold and his Shadow Guardian, Alice (Emma Eliza Regan) and learns of his great destiny to one day rule the legendary Kingdom of Shadows. But in an icy lair far to the north, the wicked witch Geldren (Natalia Kostrzewa) soon hears of the boy and comes to take his crown away.

Click here to book your ticket



Cork Film Festival present Emerge


Cork Film Festival to celebrate the convergence of film and digital in major new conferencing event for Ireland


On Saturday, 16th November, as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival, Emerge, the digital and transmedia strand of the London’s East End Film Festival will celebrate the convergence of film and digital by hosting a unique interactive event from 4pm to 7pm in Triskel Christchurch in Cork.

Emerge will showcase a series of talks and panel discussions from filmmakers, technologists, transmedia producers and distributors who use emerging technology to find new ways of crafting stories and reaching audiences. There will be a special focus on the rise of transmedia, which involves the telling of stories across different media platforms and the creation of immersive storyworlds and experiences that enable the audience to interact and shape narratives.

Moderated by Programmer and Transmedia Producer Christopher Ian Smith, the event is open to members of the public and will take place across three sessions:

Session 1: Digital Experiments:

A series of inspirational talks, demonstrations and screenings by artists and producers experimenting with new technologies and moving images. Speakers include: Kibwe Tavares, (Director of Factory Fifteen) and Christian Fonnesbach, Transmedia Producer (Cloud Chamber Project).

Session 2: Crossing platforms: What is Transmedia and why is it important?

Transmedia is the integrated telling of stories across different media. This panel with key innovators in the Transmedia space looks at the future of this new form of storytelling. The session will include case studies of great Transmedia work and will be followed by a Q&A. Speakers include: Triona Campbell (BeActive Media), Matt Locke (Storythings) Christian Fonnesbech (Cloud Chamber Project) and Adipat Virdi (Transmediasphere)

Session 3: The Future of Features

A series of presentations by forward-thinking programmers, producers and directors that have adopted digital to experiment with new methods of creation, production and distribution.  Speakers include: Jamie King (VODO), Patrick O’Neill (Wildcard Distribution) and Olivier Kaempfer, (Producer Borrowed Time)


“I am delighted to be welcoming such an august and distinguished array of speakers and practitioners to Cork, in my first year running the Festival”, said James Mullighan, Creative Director of the Cork Film Festival. “Chris and the Emerge team have done a fantastic job in compiling what will be one of the most inspiring and future-thinking events in the whole Country. Emerge is truly something of which Cork’s Creative Industries can be proud”.


For further information and to attend EMERGE see www.corkfilmfest.org/emerge

The Cork Film Festival acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council.


Cork Film Festival Announces Programme of Screenings

Kill Your Darlings

 Kill Your Darlings



The 58th Cork Film Festival, Ireland’s oldest film festival will take place from 9-17 November  and will screen big-budget films, world cinema, independent films, international documentaries and short films from Ireland and all over the world.


The festival opens on Saturday, 9thNovember  with the screening of Nebraska, which is Alexander Payne’s (Sideways, About Schmidt, The Descendants) latest film and tells the story of a road trip between a father and a son where bittersweet personal truths are uncovered and savoured. The film stars lonely salesman David Grant (Will Forte) and his father Woody (Bruce Dern in a Cannes Palme d’Or Best Actor Winning Performance)


The Closing Night Presentation of the Cork Film Festival is Kill Your Darlings, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and stars Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Woman in Black) in a breakthrough career defining performance as Allen Ginsberg. Set in the 1940’s. Kill Your Darlings is a crime thriller based on the previously untold true story of a murder that implicated the men who went onto to become the great poets of the Beat Generation: Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.


“I am delighted to be launching the 58th Cork Film Festival today”, said James Mullighan, newly appointed Creative Director. “It has been a joy collaborating with my talented programming team, bringing together this rich and varied selection of the best of contemporary cinema. Congratulations to all those who have short films in competition this year. I look forward to meeting Cork’s film fans this November”.


This year, Cork Film Festival presents a series of films with a revolutionary spirit, looking at the brave individuals who fight injustice. 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Film documents America’s Occupy movement which lead the world in mass protest against the ruling elite, whose prime objective is profit over people. Forbidden Voices, tells the story of three women who have defied government censorship by blogging about their closed countries of Cuba, China and Iran, risking their lives in the process while Silence is Gold, looks at the corruption of Canada’s mining companies in Africa and the man who outed them.

The Festival will also present the full amazing cinematic television series Burning Bush, directed by the legenday Agnieszka Holland which follows the fight for freedom in communist Czechoslovakia after the death of Jan Palach, the young student who set fire to himself in Prague in January 1969.

Exciting international features include The Counsellor directed by Ridley Scott and stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. The film is about a lawyer who finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking. Blue is the Warmest Colour, Winner of the Palme d’Or this year is an unhibitied exploration of the turbulent nature of love while All is Lost starring Robert Redford, who finds himself staring mortality in the face after a collision with a shipping container in the Indian Sea. Irish Feature Films include the thriller Dark Touch directed by Marina de Van, The Sea, directed by Stephen Brown and based on the John Banville’s Man Booker Prize Winning Novel and How to Be Happy, a comedy about a marriage councellor who become involved with his clients in a misguided pursuit of happiness.

Stong documetaries are to the fore at this year’s Cork Film Festival. The documentary The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology directed by Sophie Fiennes is the ultimate guide to psychoanalysis and fiction film, Leviathan wonderfully capatures the mayhem of life and labour on a large fishing vessel while Assimilation: An Dubh ina Gheal  is an Irish language documentary which looks at how the life of the Irish emmigrant is depicted in poetry. Music lovers will enjoy the mini strand of Punk documentaries with the amazing Punk Singer and Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker and Lukas Moodysson’s glorious slice of punk coming of age We are the Best!.

The Festival welcomes the Event Series Riching Pickings to Cork to explore through debate and film challenging and topical themes including the pathologising of mental illness (Battle for the Brain) and how our corporal selves define and drives us (Rewiring the Body)

There will be a special shorts festival within the festival showcasing the best in Cork, Irish and World Shorts. Director Tony Palmer will attend the screening of his legendary seven hour, forty-five minute film Wagner in the Cork Opera House, which will be, screened in full with two meal breaks. Triskel Christchurch will host a Giallo Night featuring a live rescore of Amer by Serafina Steer while a series of films curated by the artist Anthony Haughey to commemorate the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lock-Out will screen in the National Sculpture Factory.


The Cork Film Festival will pay tribute to Nicolas Roeg and screen a selection of his films. There will be a special Mexican Programme including Heli, whose director won Best Director Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Comedian Dylan Moran will discuss his favourite movies while the Festival will celebrate the work of documentary maker James Broughton who paved the way for the Beat Generation.


For the full programme of screenings and tickets see www.corkfilmfest.org.


The Cork Film Festival acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council.