Interview: Mary McGuckian, ‘The Price of Desire’

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“The stress test is truthfully most women’s experience”-  Seán Crosson In Conversation with Mary McGuckian

 

Mary McGuckian, whose most recent film The Price of Desire is currently screening in Irish cinemas, has directed 12 films to date, an impressive figure when one considers the challenges female directors in particular have faced in the male-dominated world of cinema.

She was interviewed by Seán Crosson in the Irish Pavillion at EXPO Milano 2015, as part of a seminar on Irish cinema organised by the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS) and following the screening of The Price of Desire at the Milano Design Film festival in October 2015.

 

Seán Crosson: Could I begin by asking you what it is that draws you to the films that you direct?

Mary McGuckian: You need to feel it… it’s a very organic holistic thing. You need to feel that the perspective or the point of view, the subject matter, the underlying thesis of it, and the kind of zeitgeist or the l’air du temps are all meeting. When you find that, you know it and you know that you can make that… every artist is always looking for that. And that was my kind of discovery.

The things that impressed me most about Eileen Gray were her work ethic, her disregard for the results of her work. Above all, she was very authentic and had great integrity about the act or the craft, and was very conscious of being on the forefront and constantly studying and keeping up to date, and very spiritually true to what she was doing. I found that phenomenally impressive and something of an inspiration. Filmmakers are odd people, we’re not kind of brilliant at anything, we’re just okay at a lot of things. We just sort of manage everybody else. The trick is to collaborate in a way that brings the best of the people you are working with.

 

Could you talk a little about your own background as an Irish filmmaker?

Growing up, we had a paucity of film, we didn’t really have a film culture. I mean, the likes of Pat Murphy was just a one-off that wasn’t part of a movement. She was just a phenomenally tenacious young woman. There wasn’t a film culture, there wasn’t a film style, there wasn’t an interest in film. But there was this great literary and theatre culture that is our strength as a nation. One funny thing that nobody ever mentions is that there was a theatre for those of us that came through the theatre  – but again there wasn’t even a theatre school when I started. But we did have strong university groups and there was an alternative theatre. If you didn’t work in the Gate, and that was the snobby theatre, or the Abbey, which was the national theatre, there was the Project. There was another little theatre company called Focus Theatre and that was the nearest we had in Ireland to some form of international training theatre.

We had a slowly emerging film culture that came out of theatre. If you notice, our actors who have travelled were all male and have a certain style. We had a very specific and separate theatre culture. So those of us who were women grew up in a theatre culture in Ireland, which is a very strong culture of theatre for women but it wasn’t a performance-style that translated to cinema or translated internationally. In my mid-twenties I remember Joan O’Hara in the Abbey saying the guys travel… and she was right. There was one swarthy fabulous looking Irish fella after another, starting with Pierce [Brosnan] and Liam [Neeson], Daniel [Day Lewis] and Stephen [Rea]. They all had a quality that there was a place for in international cinema. There were no women since Maureen O’Hara until Saoirse Ronan. British cinema culture is quite established. It’s very sure about what it’s about. And we’ve depended on that to a great extent and for a period when the Irish Film Board began and European co-production, European media foundation started, we struggled as to whether we should be part of the posh filmmakers of Europe or leaning towards America and interestingly the films that have leaned towards America have tended to be more successful. Inevitably, I suspect because of the English language.

 

Things have changed greatly since the 1980s and the period you describe…

It’s phenomenal what has happened in a very short period of time. I was away for a long time. Like a lot of people, I had to leave the country and recently have come back. When I first started making films, we didn’t have a film culture, we didn’t have film support, we didn’t have any sort of industry, which was kind of good for us in that we could go anywhere basically. But now it’s great to come back and find post-production set up. When we used to shoot something we’d have to send it to London. We’d get our rushes back four days later.

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Robert De Niro in The Bridge of San Luis Rey

You’ve worked with an extraordinary array of actors including Donald Sutherland, F. Murray Abraham, Robert De Niro, Samantha Morton, to name but a few as well as many leading Irish actors from Richard Harris to Gabriel Byrne and in your current feature Orla Brady. How do you approach working with actors in your work?

I’ve been very lucky with actors, very lucky. And I think that comes from those who came through theatre culture, and Jim Sheridan, he’s brilliant with actors. And Neil [Jordan] is too, though Neil is probably more visual. And he’s more of a literary storyteller. But we did all emerge out of theatre and as actors, to some degree or another. So storytelling is a character-driven process for most Irish filmmakers, I believe it comes from that background. So, inevitably we write for actors. If the material is good enough, when we approach actors they agree to work with us, they respond to the material, they respond to the process.

I’ve played a lot with the acting processes, I’m very interested in how actors emerge, and how characters develop and all of those things. I’ve made a lot of films, quite a few films that are quite experimental in terms of their approach to the responsibility of the artist or the actor as an interpretative but also as an editorial participant in the making of the film.

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The Making of Plus One

One of those experimental films was The Making of Plus One (2010), set during the Cannes Film Festival. How did that film come about?

It came about as a bit of a joke in a way, after The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004), which was a tough experience, having such an extraordinary cast, and, funnily enough, I’m about to spend the winter in Ireland recutting that film and doing a director’s cut, because it was taken away from me and recut in a way that had very little to do with the original script  – and that was a horrendous experience. I discovered the bigger the budgets got and the bigger the crews got, the further away the actor was from what you were trying to achieve and this linear process that had been in place since 1910 was still operational and nobody had done anything to improve or change it.

Around that time, in about 2005, right at the beginning of digital filmmaking, I went on a crazy experiment over a trilogy of three films, to bring together a company of actors and crew; not to improvise films in a Curb Your Enthusiasm kind of way but to reinvent the process for bringing a story to the screen, partly using the digital processes but also – they weren’t necessarily any cheaper, they were just different – to give actors more responsibility for their participation. We had a very structured storyline, like a traditional script, but the actors improvised – I did a workshop with them for weeks on-end prior. They developed their character and then they were able to perform as characters without dialogue. We did three of those – Rag Tale (2005), Intervention (2007) and Inconceivable (2008). It was only ever meant to be a trilogy but by the end the lunatics had taken over the asylum, and they were going ‘well what’s next’? So eventually after each one of those films being on the short list for Cannes but never selected, we decided to go to Cannes and make The Making of Plus One, which we did as a group. It was quite fun and it was funny and it was an obvious statement about the nature of what the whole festival scenario and what the role of an actor in the making of a film has become.

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Inconceivable

The improvisational style you describe is quite reminiscent of the work of John Cassavetes. What directors have influenced your approach?

I did go to drama school in the UK and France subsequently and one of my teachers was Mike Leigh. Mike was very good to me. He has his way of improvising – he uses improvisation to create material, whereas I try to use improvisation to drive character to take the material to the screen. So, in a funny way, what I came up with doing, thanks to him, was almost the exact opposite or reverse of what he does, which is a fantastic process, and one I still apply to material even if its scripted or partly scripted. I think actors like it, which is why they seem to want to come and do movies with me because I work in a different way.

 

So how did the Eileen Gray project develop?

Filmmaking has changed a lot. It changed very very quickly over a ten-year period where I was very fortunate. I think I got to make 5 or 6 movies over ten years, during that period. I guess there were contemporary issues again… I was always trying to drive female issues but I was having to mask them constantly in something else.

For a long time I wanted to make a film about Eileen Gray but I couldn’t. I suppose for three main reasons: I was struggling to find what the essence of the story was – a biopic lends itself more to a documentary. and secondly, I really needed to feel passionately that the world would want to see this movie, and what might it be about, the underlying thesis. And thirdly, it needed to be an Irish film and how could I get back to Ireland and make the film that could call itself Irish.

I had known about Eileen Gray as an Irish artist. I always thought of her as the founder of – I don’t know where I got this idea – as the founder of minimalism. I’m a bit of a minimalist myself and I’ve always been very interested in the turn of the century, those displaced independent Irish women who found themselves in politics, in literature and in the arts. It’s an interesting thing, because out of periods like that – and they are very rare – emerge women of impact. And then suddenly post-1922, the country closed down and there were no more women of impact – what happened? What seemed to happen was what led to Virgina Woolfe’s A Room with a View. There were a small group of women who were neither Irish in England nor English in Ireland who were educated, of means, and they had all of that going for them and able to decide to follow their path which was not a liberty or a privilege that most Irish women had. But they did do that with some integrity, some of them, including Countess Markievicz and, in particular, Eileen Gray. She followed her path that brought her as an artist through her own journey, emerging very autodidactically.

It’s just a fascinating story that she achieved so much and I wanted to understand more about what she’s about but I knew that a film as a biopic wouldn’t be that interesting. So then you wait until you find the kernel of what’s important. And I guess that was the controversy that emerged around the house e.1027 [the modernist villa in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin which Eileen Gray designed and built from 1926-29], which is kind of the centrepiece of the film and is very much the apotheosis of her life’s work. It’s very interesting that a lot of women who have an impact in whatever field they are in, it seems to me, tend to reach that later in life than their male counterparts, often in their fifties. At the age of 52 she designed and built the first modernist house – and what makes it a great female story, not necessarily a male story, is that she was not recognised, she lost the right to be recognised as the author of her work. In a French environment where the droit morale is in your DNA, you can’t give away your droit morale. To have a house which she actually lost ownership of is a great visual metaphor. So it seemed to me I had found a key to that story.

Telling it from Eileen Gray’s point of view was very hard to finance, so it had to become a dialogue between herself and Le Corbusier [the Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of modern architecture].

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Alanis Morissette and Orla Brady in The Price of Desire

There are two levels of outcome to The Price of Desire, the film as a piece of art and the film as the story of Eileen Gray – when you view the film now, how do you judge it? Are you satisfied with it as a work of art or are you satisfied as having successfully told a story?

I am pleased with it. It never set out to be a traditional narrative film or a particularly commercial film. It was clearly a prestige piece. So how it looked was very important to me as an art piece. I think it looks very beautiful. As a story, it’s innately flawed in its own right when you tell it truthfully, so we were always going to struggle with that. But in terms of driving it through character and having Le Corbusier telling the story – that kind of odd device that is used in it – I’m quite pleased that with the dialogue, Eileen Gray has the first word and the last word, Le Corbusier gets to say his piece, and then the cinematic licence is taken when we allow him to forgive himself.

 

Are there any parallels between the experience of Eileen Gray as a female artist and your own experiences as a female director? What kind of changes have you seen in the film industry since you first started making films, particularly in such a male dominated industry?

Ireland has emerged not only with a film business and a film industry but with a cultural voice – there are young filmmakers emerging and this year in particular there have been a couple – Room, etc. – of voices emerging, very strong pieces of Irish cinema, that are culturally Irish. And it’s not just the odd film. Every year there are a few important films coming out, but there are very few women emerging. But that isn’t particular to Ireland, this problem is deeply disappointing to me that every year I am contacted as one of the 7% of directors/writers that are women – ‘did you notice that only 7% of films over the last year were made by women’, and that number, I don’t know why it’s 7%, it has stayed 7% for twenty years. It’s very very disturbing.

This in a way is what really spoke to me from the Eileen Gray film… it wasn’t that she suffered, it was never going to be Erin Brokovich story, it wasn’t one big legislative event, but it was a lifetime – and she had a long life – and this is, I would have to say, most women’s experience – a lifetime of tiny omissions, forgetfulness, odd remarks, and slights, whatever you want to call them. None of which are evil, none of which you can legislate against. I used to use an analogy, because I came from engineering, mechanical/civil engineering and my final thesis experimentation was a thing called Shot peening – it’s a way of measuring force which is, when you’re trying to experiment on the strength of materials, you’re trying to just measure the force of the material as in what it would take to break it, you just thump it until you get a combination of the speed and weight at which you’d thump something to make it break. That’s force. But what’s much more interesting and much more – and they do a lot of it now with trains and runways and things – is the fatigue or the stress level of the material, what does it take to break a material if you’re just doing tiny little taps, and over what period of time and at what frequency does it take. In a way, Eileen Gray’s life started to remind me of shot peening as distinct from force – if Erin Brokovich is the force test, then Eileen Gray is the stress test, and the stress test is truthfully most women’s experience. It is the universal female experience that over the lifetime of a career you just have these constant little put-downs, not quite included, sort of omitted – nothing you could ever complain about but as a combination in aggregate there’s a moment where the stress test breaks the material, causes the crack. She was Victorian so she wasn’t a self-promoter in the way that Le Corbusier was, but that was part of her integrity as an artist. She survived as an artist because she wasn’t looking for acclaim but at the same time the lack of recognition sadly had a great negative influence on a century of architecture and design. She had some very important things to say about the way in which we live in the world and how we construct, and the habitats that we inhabit.

 

Given the continuing low percentage of women directors involved in film, what initiatives do you think could be taken to address this?

I don’t know how to break it. It has to be from both ends, international distribution has something to do with it, but practically, women often need an invitation, they are not good at bashing through doors so maybe we need to start inviting young women into the film industry in a more positive way. I ended up studying engineering, being one of three girls in a class of 120, but I remember why. The University did a kind of an outreach, they went round all the girls schools to say don’t limit yourself. Why can’t you do engineering? Think about doing architecture? So maybe we need to do that, I think it might just take an invitation.

 

The Price of Desire is currently in cinemas

 

Dr. Seán Crosson is the Programme Director of the MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway. His publications include Sport and Film (Routledge, 2013) and several co-edited volumes, including Contemporary Irish Film: New Perspectives on a National Cinema (Braumüller, 2011) and The Quiet Man … and Beyond: Reflections on a Classic Film, John Ford and Ireland (Liffey Press, 2009). He is currently President of the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS).

 

 

 

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Irish Film Review: The Price of Desire

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DIR/WRI: Mary McGuckian • PRO: Mary McGuckian, Jean-Jacques Neira, Hubert Toint • DOP: Stefan von Bjorn • ED: John O’Connor, Robert O’Connor, Kant Pan • MUS: Brian Byrne • DES: Emma Pucci • CAST: Orla Brady, Alanis Morissette, Vincent Perez, Francesco Scianna

Mary McGuckian has described her biopic of Irish modernist furniture designer and architect Eileen Gray as an art film in both content and style. The film seeks to make amends for forgotten history, Gray being somewhat sidelined in history by the much more well known Le Corbusier, and reinstate her as the pioneer of modernist design that she was.

The film opens with an elderly, frail Gray being shown pictures of E-1027, the house she designed and lived in in the south of France with her former lover, architect and critic Jean Badovici. The authorship of the modernist villa was for a time misattributed to Le Corbusier, a misconception caused in part by Gray’s slowness to accredit it to herself, and also Le Corbusier’s painting of murals on the walls of the villa in Gray’s absence, which infuriated her. Much of the film examines the strained relationship between the two designers, who, despite their disagreements, maintained a respect for each other as artists.

Perhaps in keeping with how history has remembered them, the film gives more of a voice to Le Corbusier, who narrates his version of events with playful use of voice over and direct address. The film gives the impression of a merging of the two’s memories, being recollections of both a now elderly Gray and a hermit-like Le Corbusier, perhaps wishing to atone for his past actions. The regular use of elliptical montage, propelled by a near constant lilting score, suggests that these are flashes of remembrance; the conception and then construction of E-1027 is swept along in moments, as is the jarring intrusion of World War II, when the house is looted by German soldiers.

The film’s recreation of the style and feel of the era is faultless, the costume and production design being particularly well executed. The film is visually stunning, but it is a subject matter that would demand carefully constructed visuals.

Gray herself casts an intriguing and enigmatic figure, vividly rendered by Brady. The film focuses more on her artistic peak than her early or later years, giving the impression of someone whose work life and personal life were closely intertwined. At times the narrative tends towards the more intellectual than emotional, though this is in keeping with the modernist mind-set that the film documents.

As a tribute to an artist and the pursuit of art, the film is an artistic achievement in its own right, elevated by the strength of its cinematography, design, music and cast. It is fitting that the work of Eileen Gray should be reintroduced and revisited in so rich a fashion.

Cathy Butler

109 minutes

The Price of Desire is released 27th May 2016

The Price of Desire – Official Website

 

 

 

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Irish Films in Cinema 2015

 

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11 Minutes (Jerzy Skolimowski)

4th December

 

The lives of urbanites intertwine in a world where anything can happen at any time.

Reviewed here

 

The Hallow (Corin Hardy)

13th November

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A family who move into a remote milllhouse in Ireland find themselves in a fight for survival with demonic creatures living in the woods.

Reviewed here

 

Night People (Gerard Lough)

13th November

A pair of professional but badly mismatched criminals break into a vacant house to carry out an insurance scam. Awkwardly thrown together with an hour to kill, they reluctantly start telling each other tall tales.

Reviewed here

 

Brooklyn (John Crowley)

6th November

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Set in the early 1950s, Brooklyn is the story of a young woman, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn, NY where, unlike home, she has the opportunity for work and for a future – and love, in the shape of Italian-American Tony (Emory Cohen).  When a family tragedy brings her back to Ireland, she finds herself absorbed into her old community, but now with eligible Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) courting her.  As she repeatedly postpones her return to America, Eilis finds herself confronting a terrible dilemma – a heart-breaking choice between two men and two countries.

Brooklyn is adapted from Colm Tóibín’s New York Times Bestseller by Nick Hornby  and directed by John Crowley.

Reviewed here

 

The Legend Of Longwood (Lisa Mulcahy)

23rd October

 

When 12-year-old Mickey Miller moves with her family from New York to Ireland, she soon discovers a mysterious link between herself and the 300-year-old legend of the mysterious Black Knight, who regularly haunts the sleepy Irish village of Longwood. With her new best friend in tow, Mickey sets out to redeem the knight while saving a precious herd of white horses and thwarting the evil plans of a greedy, ambitious woman  – a mighty handful even for the bravest girl.

Reviewed here

 

The Queen Of Ireland (Conor Horgan)

21st October

 

Conor Horgan’s documentary follows Rory O’Neill’s journey from the small Mayo town of Ballinrobe to striding the world stage. The film takes us behind the scenes with his alter ego Panti in the year she became the symbol of Ireland’s march towards marriage equality.

Reviewed here

 

The Hit Producer (Kevin de la Isla)

 

A struggling movie producer in search of an investor reluctantly follows the promise of money into Dublin’s drug underworld where she witnesses a botched murder attempt.

 

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

16th October

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The Lobster is a love story set in the near future where single people, according to the rules of The City, are arrested and transferred to The Hotel.  There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days.  If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods.  A desperate Man escapes from The Hotel to The Woods where The Loners live and falls in love, although it is against their rules.

Reviewed here

 

Talking to My Father (Sé Merry Doyle)

16th October

 

Talking to my Father features two voices from two eras each concerned with how we as a nation understand the architecture that surrounds our lives. Modern architecture in Ireland reached a high point in the early sixties and one of its most celebrated and influential figures was Robin Walker.

Reviewed here

 

Tana Bana (Pat Murphy)

9th October

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In Varanasi, the uneasy peace between Hindu and Moslem hinges on the world renowned silk weaving.  The existence of this ancient Hindu city depends upon Moslem weavers.

Reviewed here

 

Ghosthunters – On Icy Trails (Tobi Baumann)

2nd October

 

Based on the bestselling novel “Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost” by Cornelia Funke, Ghosthunters – On Icy Trails, which features Amy Huberman, follows a young boy Tom who discovers an ASG, an Averagely Spooky Ghost called Hugo in his cellar.  He soon realizes that Hugo is not only completely harmless, but also desperately needs his help. Hugo cannot go back to his haunted house, because a dangerous AIG, an Ancient Ice Ghost, has moved in and is spreading an arctic cold over the entire town in the middle of summer. Tom and Hugo go to professional ghost-hunter Hetty Cuminseed, who doesn’t like children or ghosts very much, and who just lost her job at the CGI, the Central Ghosthunting Institute. Hetty teaches Tom and Hugo the basics of ghost-hunting and the three become an unusual team: only with friendship, courage and self-confidence can they overcome their adversary and save the town from the AIG.

Reviewed here

 

Older Than Ireland (Alex Fegan)

25th September

 

Older Than Ireland features thirty men and women aged 100 years and over. Often funny and at times poignant, the film explores each centenarian’s journey, from their birth at the dawn of Irish independence to their life as a centenarian in modern day Ireland. Older Than Ireland ‘s observational style offers a rare insight into the personal lives of these remarkable individuals.

Reviewed here

 

Pursuit (Paul Mercier)

18th September

A modern take on the legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne – a contemporary myth about the pursuit of power, class, love and the chance to start again.

Reviewed here

 

The Callback Queen (Graham Cantwell)

11th September

 

In the cut-throat London film industry a vivacious actress chasing her big break struggles to maintain her integrity in the face of the director’s advances

 

The Great Wall ( Tadhg O’Sullivan)

21st August

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This bold new documentary, an adaptation of a Kafka story, looks at the enclosure of Europe by a complex system of walls and fences. Mysterious and visually dazzling, the film journeys across a range of European landscapes, and encounters those whose lives are defined by these walls – detainees within European migrant camps. [IFI Programme Notes]

Reviewed here

 

A Doctor’s Sword (Gary Lennon)

7th August

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Tells the incredible story of Aidan MacCarthy, a young doctor from West Cork who survived some of the most harrowing episodes of World War II (including the atomic bombing of Nagasaki) and his family’s search to uncover the origin of the Japanese Samurai sword, which now resides in MacCarthy’s Bar in Castletownbere.

 

 

You’re Ugly Too (Mark Noonan)

10th July

 

Will (Aidan Gillen) is released from prison on compassionate leave to care for his niece Stacey after the death of her mother. As they both head into the sleepy Irish midlands and attempt to be a family, they suffer a series of setbacks; Stacey is refused admission to the local school because of her recently developed narcolepsy; Will repeatedly comes close to breaking his prison-ordered curfew; and his attempts at being a father figure to her prove disastrous…As their future hangs in the balance they must search for a new way forward together.

Reviewed here

 

 

Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore)

10th July

Tomm Moore’s Oscar-nominated animated feature tells the story of the last Seal Child’s journey home. After their mother’s disappearance, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with Granny in the city. When they resolve to return to their home by the sea, their journey becomes a race against time as they are drawn into a world Ben knows only from his mother’s folktales. But this is no bedtime story; these fairy folk have been in our world far too long. It soon becomes clear to Ben that Saoirse is the key to their survival.

Reviewed here

 

Let Us Prey (Brian O’Malley)

12th June

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Rachel, a rookie cop, is about to begin her first nightshift in a neglected police station in a Scottish, backwater town. The kind of place where the tide has gone out and stranded a motley bunch of the aimless, the forgotten, the bitter-and-twisted who all think that, really, they deserve to be somewhere else. They all think they’re there by accident and that, with a little luck, life is going to get better. Wrong, on both counts. Six is about to arrive – and All Hell Will Break Loose!

Reviewed here

 

Queen and Country (John Boorman)

12th June

The sequel to Boorman’s 1987 Academy Award®-nominated picture, Queen and Country takes place in 1952. Bill Rohan is eighteen years old, dreaming his life away at the family’s riverside home, waiting to be called up for two years’ conscription in the British Army. His idyll is shattered by the harsh realities of boot camp. He meets Percy, an amoral prankster; they are rivals and antagonists, but they gradually forge a deep friendship in the claustrophobic environment of a closed, prison-like training camp. The pressure is briefly relieved by excursions into the outside world, where they both fall in love. Finally, Bill is confronted with the shattered lives of wounded boys returning from Korea.

Reviewed here

 

Fortune’s Wheel (Joe Lee)

5th June

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Fortune’s Wheel is a documentary feature film about Bill Stephens, an ordinary young man in 1950s Ireland with an extraordinary ambition: to become an international circus star.  It is also a love story about Bill and his young and beautiful wife May, from East Wall.  Their double act, Jungle Capers, Bill Stephens and Lovely Partner, was a series of death-defying feats with a troupe of lions and dogs designed to thrill audiences in the circus tent and on the stage.  With this act they hoped to break free from the suffocating reality of Irish life, but things went terribly wrong when, in November 1951, one of their animals escaped.
The story gained national and international attention at the time, but it is only now – after 60 years of silence – that two families and a community have come together to tell the story in full.

Reviewed here

 

The Canal (Ivan Kavanagh)

8th May

Set in rural Ireland, The Canal stars Rupert Evans as David, a film archivist with a morbid fascination for old films in which the subjects have since died. Right after learning that his wife may be cheating on him, she mysteriously disappears at the same time that his assistant Claire finds an old reel of film that points to a murder that took place in his house a hundred years ago. David starts to suspect her disappearance may involve some form of the supernatural but he also quickly becomes the prime suspect.

Reviewed here

 

Get Up & Go (Brendan Grant)

1st May

A slacker comedy which chronicles a hectic 24 hours in the life of would-be comedian Coilin (Killian Scott) and frustrated musician Alex (Peter Coonan). When Alex’s girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant, he refuses to allow her to derail his long-held plan to escape to London. Meanwhile the hapless Coilin is striking out on stage and off, as he attempts to get his faltering comedy career off the ground and win the heart of his dream girl. With time ticking down to Alex’s departure, the mismatched pair will be forced to confront the reality of their childhood dreams of artistic greatness while their lifelong friendship is tested to the limit.

Reviewed here

 

Two by Two (Toby Genkel, Sean McCormack)

1st May

It’s the end of the world. A flood is coming. Luckily for Finny and his dad Dave, a couple of clumsy Nestrians, an Ark has been built and all animals are welcome… well almost all. Unfortunately for them, Nestrians are not on the list! But Dave has a plan, and Finny and he manage to sneak onto the Ark disguised as Grymps – much to the horror of real Grymps, Hazel and her daughter Leah.

However their troubles are just beginning as the two curious youngsters end up falling over board. Now Finny and Leah have to brave the elements in their quest to find higher ground while fighting off hungry predators and making unlikely friends. Meanwhile on board the Ark the parents must set aside their differences and hatch a plan to turn the boat around and make it back in time to rescue their kids.

Reviewed here

 

Glassland (Gerard Barrett)

17th April

In in a desperate bid to save his mother from addiction and unite his broken family, a young taxi driver on the fringes of the criminal underworld is forced to take a job which will see him pushed further into its underbelly. But will John be prepared to act when the time comes knowing that whatever he decides to do, his and his family’s lives will be changed forever.

Reviewed here

 

 I Used To Live Here (Frank Berry)

3rd April

I Used To Live Here follows Amy Keane, a 13-year-old trying to cope with the death of her mother and the reappearance of her father’s ex-girlfriend, who experiences the temptation of suicide after witnessing the outpouring of love for a local suicide victim. The film takes a fictional look at how the idea of suicide can spread in communities, particularly among young people.

Reviewed here

 

In A House That Ceased To Be (Ciarín Scott)

13th March

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q9aesjHjeU

A documentary that focuses on Irish humanitarian and children’s rights activist Christina Noble, whose unwavering commitment and selfless efforts have seen her change the lives of countless children and families for the better since 1989. Her drive stems from a childhood in Ireland fraught with poverty, loss and institutional abuse. However, despite achieving so much in the face of adversity and the success of her global children’s foundation, Christina remains scarred by the memory of the three children she was unable to save, namely her own brother and two sisters, from whom she was separated at a very young age. Hundreds of thousands have benefitted as a result of her courage, daring and steadfast dedication to protecting the vulnerable from the evils of the world, but is it possible for Christina to put her own family back together after being separated for fifty-three years?

 

Patrick’s Day (Terry McMahon) 

6th February

 

 

A young man with mental health issues becomes intimate with a suicidal air hostess, but his obsessive mother enlists a dysfunctional cop to separate them.

Reviewed here

 

Apples of the Golan (Keith Walsh & Jill Beardsworth)

16th January

The epic story of one village in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Before the Six Day War, Majdal Shams was one of 139 villages in the Golan Heights region. Only five remain. Over 130,000 Syrian Arabs were forced from their homes never to return. Amongst those who remain a stoic pragmatism prevails, Israel their home, Syria their homeland. Neither is paradise. They are too few to fight. The apples are the people’s bombs.

Reviewed here

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Irish Film at Jameson Dublin International Film 2015

One of our favourite times of the year is upon us once more with the return of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Running from 19 – 29 March 2015, the 13th edition of the festival delivers another diverse and exciting programme of films from across the world. And, as always, amongst this year’s programme is a fantastic line-up of Irish films, which we’ve gathered below for your convenience, beginning with the festival’s opening film The Price Of Desire, Mary McGuckian’s beautiful depiction of Irish designer Eileen Gray.

Get booking and get watching.

 

 

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The Price Of Desire (Mary McGuckian)

Thursday, 19th March 2015

8:15PM

Savoy

Mary McGuckian’s The Price Of Desire,  about Irish designer and architecture pioneer Eileen Gray, opens this year’s festival. Starring Orla Brady, Vincent Perez and Francesco Scianna, the Irish-Belgian co-production is the controversial story of how Eileen Gray’s contribution to 20th century architecture was almost entirely effaced from history.

Mary McGuckian, Orla Brady, and Vincent Perez will attend the screening.

 

 

 

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Coming Home (Viko Nikci)

Saturday, 21st March 2015

4:00PM

Light House Cinema

Angel Cordero was charged with attempted murder following a stabbing in The Bronx . Despite the evidence, Angel was convicted and served thirteen years in prison. Seven years later, Dario Rodriguez confessed to the crime. We follow Angel as he is released into a new age of social communication and eventually confronts the man who took away his freedom. But he soon realizes that facing Dario is not his greatest challenge. Angel discovers that the most important thing taken away from him was the relationship with his daughter. At its heart, this is a story about a father’s journey to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

 

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From the Dark (Conor McMahon)

Light House Cinema

Saturday, 21st March 2015

8:30PM

From the Dark centres on a young couple on a road trip through the Irish countryside who encounter an ancient force of evil.

Filmmakers will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

Reviewed here

 

 

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Eat Your Children (Treasa O’Brien, Mary Jane O’Leary)

Sunday, 22nd March 2015

2:00PM

Screen Cinema

Eat Your Children is a road-trip quest by two friends who emigrated from Ireland during the financial crash of 2008 and who have now returned to probe Ireland’s so-called acceptance of debt and austerity.

The film uses formal observational footage, voxpop, archive material and a visual-essay style to create a rich and accessible tapestry of audiovisual material. It immerses the viewer into world of the protagonist-film-makers – two Irish women living and working in London and Barcelona who return home to find themselves uncovering the modern incarnations of Irish identity, post-colonialism, nationalism, globalization and resistance.

Treasa O’Brien and Mary Jane O’Leary will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

 

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The Great Wall (Tadhg O’Sullivan )

Monday, 23rd March 2015

6:00PM

IFI

Filmmaker’s statement: ‘The Great Wall has been completed at its most southerly point.’ So begins Kafka’s short story ‘At the Building of the Great Wall of China’, and so, at Europe’s heavily militarised south-eastern frontier, begins this film.

In the shadow of its own narratives of freedom, Europe has been quietly building its own great wall. Like its famous Chinese precursor, this wall has been piecemeal in construction, diverse in form and dubious in utility. Gradually cohering across the continent, this system of enclosure and exclusion is urged upon a populace seemingly willing to accept its necessity and to contribute to its building.

From Europe’s edges, The Great Wall moves across various unidentified fortified landscapes, pausing with those whose lives are framed by borders and walls. Moving inward toward the seat of power, the film holds the European project up to a dazzling cinematic light, refracted through Kafka’s mysterious text, ultimately questioning the nature of power within Europe and beyond.

The filmmakers will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

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Talking to My Father (Sé Merry Doyle)

Tuesday, 24th March 2015

6:00PM

IFI

Talking to my Father features two voices from two eras each concerned with how we as a nation understand the architecture that surrounds our lives. Modern architecture in Ireland reached a high point in the early sixties and one of its most celebrated and influential figures was Robin Walker. Robin studied under le Corbusier in Paris as a young graduate and later worked alongside Mies van der Rohe in Chicago. His return to Ireland in 1958 coincided with the emergence of an aspiring modern nation recovering from years of stagnation and emigration. Robin Walker became a key agent in this nation-building process.

A quarter of a century after his premature death, Simon addresses his father again and explores the legacy of his life’s work.

Book tickets here

Reviewed here

 

 

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Miss Julie (Liv Ullmann)

Tuesday, 24th March 2015

6:15PM

Cineworld

Over the course of a midsummer night in Fermanagh in 1890, an unsettled daughter of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy encourages her father’s valet to seduce her. A co-production from Norway/UK/Ireland/France, Miss Julie stars Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell.

Book tickets here

 

 

 

 

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All About Eva (Ferdia Mac Anna)

Wednesday, 25th March 2015

6:00PM

Light House Cinema

All About Eva is an old-school thriller about a young woman seeking revenge upon a wealthy racing magnate whom she blames for destroying her family.

The filmmakers will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

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After the Dance (Daisy Asquith)

Thursday, 26th March 2015

8:00PM

Light House Cinema

Filmmaker Daisy Asquith tells the very personal story of her mother’s conception after a dance in the 1940s on the remote west coast of Ireland. Her grandmother, compelled to run away to have her baby in secret, handed the child over to ‘the nuns’. Daisy’s mum was eventually adopted by English Catholics from Stoke on Trent. Her grandmother returned to Ireland and told no-one. The father remained a mystery for another 60 years. Until Daisy and her mum decided it was time to find out who he was. Their desperate need to know takes them on a fascinating and moving adventure in social and sexual morality and the fear and shame that Catholicism has wrought on the Irish psyche for centuries, and connecting them with a brand new family living an extraordinarily different life.

Daisy Asquith will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

 

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Dare to be Wild (Vivienne De Courcy)

Thursday, 26th March 2015

8:30PM

Light House Cinema

Dare to be Wild is the story of one woman who sowed the seed of change… It tells the extraordinary and inspiriting true story of Irishwoman Mary Reynold’s journey from rank outsider to winner of a Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. Mary grew up with a strong affinity to the environment and a belief that somehow it was her destiny to use her talent as a designer to put environmental issues centre stage. Wild follows her journey from naive and impressionable ingenue to a impassioned and pioneering designer.

The filmmakers will attend the screening.

 

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Glassland (Gerard Barrett)

Friday,  27th March 2015

6:30PM

Light House Cinema

In in a desperate bid to save his mother (Toni Colette) from addiction and unite his broken family, a young taxi driver (Jack Reynor) on the fringes of the criminal underworld is forced to take a job which will see him pushed further into its underbelly. But will John be prepared to act when the time comes knowing that whatever he decides to do, his and his family’s lives will be changed forever.

Gerard Barrett and Jack Reynor will attend the screening.

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Ten Years In The Sun (Rouzbeh Rashidi)

Friday, 27th March 2015

8:00PM

Light House Cinema

An assortment of obscure private obsessions, conspiracies and perversions flicker on the verge of inoherence against the context of vast cosmic disaster in Rouzbeh Rashidi’s boldest film to date. This sensory onslaught combines a homage to the subversive humour of Luis Buñuel and Joao Cesar Monteiro with the visionary scope of a demented science fiction epic.

Book tickets here

 

 

 

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Tana Bana (Pat Murphy)

Friday, 27th March 2015

8:40PM

Light House Cinema

Varanasi is the ancient city on the Ganges where Hindu pilgrims come to bathe at dawn and where cremation fires burn along the sacred river long after night has fallen. The city is also famous for the Moslem silk weavers whose ancestors traveled along the Silk Road and whose history is interwoven with that of their Hindu neighbours.

Loosely structured as a day in the life of Varanasi, this unique, intimate documentary explores how the Moslem community of weavers respond to huge economic shifts in their lives and shows the difficulties they face in passing on traditional weaving skills to their children. The film also gives voice to the changing roles of women within this enclosed world.

Pat Murphy will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

 

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Let Us Prey (Brian O’Malley)

Friday, 27th March 2015

10:40PM

Light House Cinema

Rachel, a rookie cop, is about to begin her first nightshift in a neglected police station in a Scottish, backwater town. The kind of place where the tide has gone out and stranded a motley bunch of the aimless, the forgotten, the bitter-and-twisted who all think that, really, they deserve to be somewhere else. They all think they’re there by accident and that, with a little luck, life is going to get better. Wrong, on both counts. Six is about to arrive – and All Hell Will Break Loose!

Book tickets here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2fnLntATUo

 

 

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Yximalloo (Tadhg O’Sullivan, Feargal Ward)

Saturday, 28th March 2015

2:00PM

Light House Cinema

Naofumi ‘Yximalloo’ Ishimaru is an obscure cult musician, living and working on the fringes of music and society for all of his storied life. A self-taught, self-styled pioneer with a vast back-catalogue, Naofumi currently lives with his disabled civil partner in an anonymous, unfriendly cul-de-sac in a Dublin suburb. Torn between his loyalties to Gerry, his yearning for Japanese society and the dream of making his international music career pay, Naofumi endures a difficult year. Moving between Dublin and Tokyo, this touching portrait opens up the world of a deeply individual character to explore universal ideas of life, love and loneliness.

 

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Wheel Of Fortune: The Story And Legacy Of The Fairview Lion Tamer (Joe Lee)

Saturday, 28th March 2015

3:30PM

Light House Cinema

 

Filmmaker’s statement: Wheel of Fortune is a documentary feature film about Bill Stephens, an ordinary young man in 1950s Ireland with an extraordinary ambition: to become an international circus star. It is also a love story about Bill and his young and beautiful wife May, from East Wall. Their double act, Jungle Capers, Bill Stephens and Lovely Partner, was a series of death-defying feats with a troupe of lions and dogs designed to thrill audiences in the  circus tent and on the stage. With this act they hoped to break free from the suffocating reality of Irish life, but things went terribly wrong when, in November 1951, one of their animals escaped. The story gained national and international attention at the time, but it is only now – after 60 years of silence – that two families and a community have come together to tell the story in full.

The filmmakers will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

 

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The Canal (Ivan Kavanagh)

Saturday, 28th March 2015

8:30PM

Light House Cinema

Set in rural Ireland, The Canal stars Rupert Evans as David, a film archivist with a morbid fascination for old films in which the subjects have since died. Right after learning that his wife may be cheating on him, she mysteriously disappears at the same time that his assistant Claire finds an old reel of film that points to a murder that took place in his house a hundred years ago. David starts to suspect her disappearance may involve some form of the supernatural but he also quickly becomes the prime suspect.

Rupert Evans will attend the screening.

Book tickets here

 

 

You can check the full programme here

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