The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (26 February – 8th March) returns for its 2020 edition, bringing with it 12 days of the best of world cinema to Dublin alongside an exciting range of new Irish films. You can see the full programme here.
Below we preview the Irish films on offer.
A sci-fi suspense thriller, steeped in satire on suburbia and parenthood. A young couple looking for a starter home. Persuaded by a strange real estate agent, they decide to visit a brand-new development of homes on the outskirts of the city. The picture-perfect estate laid out under a sunny sky is attractive, but the couple gradually start to realise they are trapped in a scenario of nightmarish proportions. The estate appears to expand and all efforts to escape bring them back to the same house – then a baby boy appears.CAST: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg
DIR: Tom Sullivan • WRI: Tom Sullivan, Tomás Ó Súilleabháin
Told in the Irish language, and set on the eve of The Great Hunger, Arract (meaning Monster) tells of a fisherman who takes in a stranger on the request of a priest. Events that follow lead to tragic personal struggles, but hope may come in the form of a young girl who needs his help.
CAST: Dónall Ó Healaí, Michael McElhatton,Saise Ní Chuinn
DIR/WRI: Paddy Slattery
28th Feb @ 20.45, Cineworld
A respected Garda finds his loyalties tested to the absolute limit in this crime thriller which tells the story of two estranged brothers on opposite sides of the law.
CAST: Ally Ni Chairain, Gary Lydon, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Graham Earley, John Connors, Ryan Lincoln, Tristan Heanue
DIR: John Connors • WRI: John Connors, Tiernan Williams
An all-Traveller cast stars in this drama about a young boy who uses the power of his imagination to cope with some tough realities in his life. Jack lost his mum at a young age, has a hearing impairment and is misunderstood and bullied at school. But joy and escape come in the fantasy world he has created with his best friend and beloved mare, Queenie. Innocent Boy was the winner of the 2019 Virgin Media Discovers Competition, chosen from over 600 submissions. Virgin Media Discovers is a short film competition to discover and support the very best filmmakers in Ireland.
DIR: Daniel F. Holmes
29th Feb @ 18.00, Cineworld
Featuring contributions from actor Colin Farrell, Street Leagues spotlights the redemptive power of sport, told through the personal testimonies of the homeless men and women who have found a sense of belonging and purpose in the beautiful game. It follows the Irish Street Leagues as they aim to progress through a major tournament
Rose Plays Julie
DIR/WRI: Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor
A veterinary student who has a loving relationship with her adoptive parents but is determined to track down her birth mother – and now has a name and number. Initially rejected, she is undaunted, even if it means uncovering troubling truths.
CAST: Aiden Gillen, Ann Skelly, Orla Brady
Screen Ireland Shorts #1
New York Our Time
DIR: Vivienne Dick
Celebrated filmmaker and artist Vivienne Dick weaves a personal and philosophical documentary remembering 1970s New York in its heyday for bohemian artists and musicians. Featuring contributions from many of her contemporaries at that time, the film also contrasts the “No Wave” movement with contemporary culture amid present-day concerns.
DIR: Ciara Nic Chormaic
Acclaimed photographer Perry Ogden returns to his fashion photography roots for his latest documentary. Told through the eyes – and the lens – of the photographer, the profound images that emerge onscreen have the effect of blurring the lines between the world of fashion and the real world.
DIR: Barrie Dowdall • WRI: Barrie Dowdall, Siobhán Lynam
The extraordinary true story of the Irish woman who shot Mussolini is brought to life in Barrie Dowdall’s documentary. Violet Gibson, daughter of the Lord Chancellor to Ireland, shot the dictator at point-blank range as she faced a Fascist mob in Rome in 1926. The film looks at how she almost changed the course of history and the enormous personal price she paid.
CAST: Olwen Fouéré, Paraic Cullen, Susan Barrett, Laura Kelly
Endless Sunshine on a Cloudy Day
DIR: John Connors
Jade McCann was working in media when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2018. She decided to share her story with her followers as she underwent treatment for the disease. Her dad, Anthony, had been diagnosed with stage four cancer just three weeks before her diagnosis. This documentary tells how they faced into illness, resilience and hope together.
Cast: Anthony McCann, Eoin McCann,Jade McCann, Kim McCann
Calm With Horses
DIR: Nick Rowland • WRI: Joseph Murtagh.
Set in rural Ireland, it tells the story of exboxer Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong, who has become a feared enforcer for powerful local drug-dealing family the Devers. He’s also trying to be a good and supportive dad to his five-year-old son, Jack, who has autism. Already torn between criminal dealings and family obligations, Arm’s loyalties are truly tested when he is asked to kill for the first time.
DIR/WRI: Pat Murphy
Pat Murphy’s groundbreaking, remastered drama about the woman commonly known as Robert Emmet’s housekeeper feels timely in the ongoing conversation about forgotten women in Irish history. Brid Brennan shines as Devlin, a woman of principles who refuses to be broken or betray her beliefs amid temptation, punishment and great suffering.
CAST: Bosco Hogan, Brid Brennen, Des McAleer
DIR: Peter Mackie Burns • WRI: Mark O’Halloran
DIR: Alan Moloney
Director Alan Moloney’s film shows how a grimy warehouse in an inconsequential part of Dublin’s docklands became one of Ireland’s most important cultural cornerstones. Windmill Lane would become a mecca for music and the arts, with its output inspiring many at a time of remarkable cultural and social change in Ireland.
DIR/WRI: Neasa Hardiman
A young marine biology student is struggling with life among the closely-knit crew of a fishing trawler. But when many of them are struck down by a strange and lethal infection, they must work together if they are to survive.
CAT: Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, Hermione Corfield
End of Sentence
DIR: Eflar Adalsteins • WRI: Elfar Adalsteins, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, David Collins
8th March @ 14.00, Cineworld
A young ex-con and his father as they go on a road trip to scatter the ashes of their mother and wife.
CAST: John Hawkes, Logan Lerman, Sarah Bolger
DIR: Phyllida Lloyd • WRI: Clare Dunne, Malcolm Campbell
The story of Sandra who has parted ways with her possessive and domineering ex-partner. Sandra sets out to rebuild her life from scratch in order to provide a happy and peaceful home for her two young daughters.
But she finds herself struggling to fight back against a shattered housing system in the movie, which is set in and was filmed in Dublin. Undaunted, she sets about building her own place to call home, as she is determined to rebuild her and her family’s lives.
CAST: Clare Dunne, Ian Lloyd-Anderson, Conleth Hill, Harriet Walter.