Talking Movies

November 30, 2017

ADIFF 2018: Animated and Silent Cinema

The Audi Dublin International Film Festival has announced the Irish premiere of Nora Twomey’s animated feature film, The Breadwinner, and the launch of the Silent Cinema programme for the 2018 festival.


The Breadwinner, directed by Nora Twomey and executive-produced by Angelina Jolie, will make its Irish premiere at ADIFF 2018. Co-produced by the award-winning Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells, The Song Of The Sea), and based on Deborah Ellis’ acclaimed novel, The Breadwinner tells the extraordinary story of an 11-year-old Afghan girl Parvana, born into an ever-changing world of conflict and Taliban oppression, who must disguise herself as a boy to become her family’s sole breadwinner.

On behalf of everyone who worked on The Breadwinner, I am delighted that the film will have its Irish premiere at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival,” said Kilkenny-based director Twomey. “The festival has a long history of presenting  exciting films from across the globe and we are all so proud to be part of it this February.”

With a team of over 200 animators, artists and actors from around the world, Twomey created an innovative mix of 2-D animation with acrylic and digitally painted environments, as well as digital paper cut–out segments, all blended into a captivating story about family, friendship, and imagination. The film is a co-production with Aircraft Pictures (Canada), Melusine Productions (Luxembourg), and Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon.

The Irish premiere of The Breadwinner will take place on February 22nd, 2018 ,at Cineworld Dublin, on Parnell Street.

Ticket for The Breadwinner are on sale here.

ADIFF,  in association with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, also announced screenings of the silent films, Behind the Door (accompanied by musical director Stephen Horne on the piano) and The Italian Straw Hat (accompanied by live quartet) as part of 2018’s Silent Cinema programme. Never intended to be watched in actual silence, these films were always accompanied by carefully curated musical scores, or in the case of the young Shostakovich improvised madness on the piano, allowing for musically cued visual storytelling. ADIFF presents these films to the public as a culturally valuable historical record: “Silent films are a rare art form that have influenced generations of filmmakers and continue to inspire audiences almost a century after they were made,” said ADIFF Director Grainne Humphreys, “We are thrilled to be sharing these gems from the early days of cinema with audiences for the 2018 Festival.

Tickets are available at http://www.diff.ie/festival

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November 29, 2017

The Effect

Lucy Prebble’s acclaimed 2012 play finally receives its Irish premiere, in the surprisingly small setting of the Project’s Cube space.

Image result for siobhan cullen the effect

Connie (Siobhan Cullen) and Tristan (Donal Gallery) have volunteered for a drugs trial. They are just two of many subjects, some of who will be given the drug, others the placebo. In charge of deciding who gets what is doctor Lorna (Ali White). At least she thinks she’s in charge of that, but when manipulative doctor Toby (Ronan Leahy), who she knows of old, enters the picture their complicated past opens up all new ethical challenges. And that’s before Connie and Tristan develop feelings for each other and will not listen to reason that they have no real feelings, it is literally a chemical romance. What is real? How do you define real? Isn’t all love an irrational manipulated flood of endorphins and hormones?

Writing this review months after the fact means that in the intervening time I have finally read Tom Stoppard’s 2013 play The Hard Problem, and, struck by superficial similarities in these works commissioned for the NT, admired anew the cleverness with which Prebble constructs her piece, and also consider that she might actually have bested the titan of theatre in the successful execution of an interrogation of scientific ethics and the big questions of life.

5/5

Tribes

The Gate reinstates seats for the Dublin Theatre Festival but burns its audience another way with a coruscating play of spectacular, hilarious family dysfunction.

Image result for tribes gate theatre

Nick Dunning is Christopher, the patriarch of an intellectually combative upper-middle-class Jewish family in North London, or is it South County Dublin, we’ll have to get back to that… He is infuriated to have all three of his adult children Billy (Alex Nowak), Daniel (Gavin Drea), and Ruth (Grainne Keenan) living under his roof again, for various reasons. Shouting matches between Christopher and his children, Christopher and his wife Beth (Fiona Bell), the competitive siblings among themselves, and some combination of all the above are frequent, ribald, cutting, and funny. But as Nowak’s Billy is deaf, he misses a lot of it. Mercifully some might say. And others might not, such as his new girlfriend Sylvia (Clare Dunne), who is losing her hearing, and who teaches Billy sign language; setting him on a collision course with his already troubled family…

Now then… where is this play set? Nina Raine wrote it for the Royal Court in 2010 and set it in North London. If you think of North London and argumentative Jewish intellectuals and wordsmiths like the Corens, Milibands, and Aaronovitches that makes perfect sense. Idly relocating Tribes to South County Dublin startles, just as idly relocating an Arthur Miller play from Brooklyn to Buncrana would startle. Tribes was not written in French like God of Carnage, so why did it need that relocation treatment? What next, Harold Pinter done as Roddy Doyle? And why was the relocation so incompletely rendered? Half the cast employ English accents for Blackrock, and Dunning mercilessly pillories people from the North by which he means Yorkshire. It is a meta-moment when characters express (appropriate) surprise Billy will be interviewed in the (foreign) Irish Times.

4/5

King of the Castle

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 6:50 pm

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I Hear You and Rejoice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 6:50 pm

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The Man in the Woman’s Shoes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 6:49 pm

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November 24, 2017

B

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 9:06 pm

2/5

November 8, 2017

This isn’t my Desk

At Large Theatre move up from Trinity’s Players Theatre to the considerably larger space of Smock Alley’s main stage for a purposefully baffling office satire.

Image result for this isn't my desk smock alley

Global Futures are hiring. What exactly Global Futures do is not clear. But they are hiring. And firing. Sometimes they get ahead of themselves, as when B (Darcy Donnellan) arrives in the office and nervously tries to find out what she should do from A (Alice ni Bheolain), only to disconcertingly find that she’s there to replace her, just as soon as Management (Maureen Rabbitt) throws her out of the building. New co-worker C (Ciaran Treanor) is completely unhelpful, locked as he is in a titanic struggle over regaining his rightful desk, Housekeeping (Dominik Domresonski, Sarah O’Farrell) are deliberately intrusive, but Documentation (Orla Devlin) is seductive and eternal. Well, mostly eternal, as a client visit signals a shake-up. Management begins to unspool completely under the stress, and only desperate measures, and intern seedlings can save the day.  Or maybe not.

Written and directed by Kate Cosgrave This isn’t my Desk almost serves as a bizarre and funny summation of a number of previous outings by these theatre-makers: Treanor’s role in The Trial, Donnellan’s turn in Nowhere Now, and artistic director Grainne Curistan’s own office satire The Meeting. There’s also a fleeting nod to Spike Jonze’s Her as B becomes enamoured of her documentation. I’m not going to pretend that I understood this play; my regular theatre cohort Fiachra MacNamara was equally unsure as to who exactly C’s poignant flashback monologues were about; but it really didn’t matter. Despite being frequently baffled I was always engaged and usually highly amused. Management’s climatic rant about her underlings was a comedic highlight to set beside C’s desk being downsized in a deft visual gag much to his subsequent emailed fury.

3/5

November 3, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

Kenneth Branagh double-jobs again as director and star for a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s most famous mystery.

Hercule Poirot (Branagh) needs a holiday. But a new case always beckons and so his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman) insinuates him onto the fully booked Orient Express travelling out of Istanbul to Dover. Among his travelling companions are his previous shipmates to Istanbul Miss Debenham (Daisy Ridley) and Dr Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr). There’s also a missionary (Penelope Cruz), a car-dealer tycoon (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a man-eating widow (Michelle Pfeiffer), the highly strung and strung out (respectively) nobles (Sergei Polunin, Lucy Boynton), a Nazi professor (Willem Dafoe), a Russian princess and servant (Judi Dench, Olivia Colman), and the thoroughly obnoxious Ratchett party – shady oligarch (Johnny Depp), his butler (Derek Jacobi), and secretary (Josh Gad). As they pile into a snowdrift a murder is discovered, and, before the police arrive, the world’s greatest detective must solve a baffling mystery replete with red herrings.

Branagh as director doesn’t allow himself many stylistic flourishes apart from a sustained track through the dining carriage as Poirot announces that he will be investigating the murder, and a startling use of an overhead viewpoint for Poirot’s discovery and examination of the body. As actor he allows himself to sport a truly outrageous moustache, for an interpretation of Poirot purposefully far away from David Suchet’s sustained and definitive ITV performance. This story previously made it to the big screen in 1974 with an all-star cast under the direction of Sidney Lumet. Branagh makes a better Poirot than Finney’s splenetic turn there, and this screenplay is far less faithful to Christie’s source material. In a sense this Poirot adventure is less concerned with checking alibis against each other, and making lists of timelines, clues, and sleeping arrangements, and more concerned with the mounting turmoil within Poirot as he finds more and more coincidences leading back to a horrific child murder case.

If there is a word to sum up this film it would be a surprising one – melancholic. Patrick Doyle’s piano theme for black and white footage of the crime lends the gory act an air of ritual rather than revenge. Poirot himself articulates the cost of the original crime not just in the life ended, but in the lives destroyed of all affected by the kidnapping and murder. And so, predictably, the detective who announced in the opening scene that there was right and wrong and nothing in between finds himself rattling his own sense of self by introducing shades of grey into his worldview.

3.5/5

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