Talking Movies

August 16, 2017

Dublin Theatre Festival: 5 Plays

This is the 60th anniversary of the Dublin Theatre Festival, but this year’s programme is not very good; in fact it’s the weakest I can remember since I started paying attention back in 2007 and the 50th anniversary iteration when Druid presented James Cromwell in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

Tribes 28th September – October 14th Gate

English playwright Nina Raine’s acclaimed work about a deaf youngster’s emotional battles with his highly-strung family gets a puzzling relocation from Hampstead to Foxrock, as if Hampstead was in a faraway country of whose people we knew little. Fiona Bell, Clare Dunne, Nick Dunning, and Gavin Drea are among the familiar faces throwing around hyper-articulate insults while director Oonagh Murphy makes her Gate debut.

Melt 28th September – October 8th Smock Alley Theatre

Lynne Parker directs a new script by Shane Mac an Bhaird which has attracted an impressive cast of Owen Roe, Rebecca O’Mara, Roxanna Nic Liam, and Charlie Maher. Set in Antarctica it follows rogue Irish ecologist Boylan, his young colleague Cook, his love interest Dr Hansen (ex-wife of Boylan), and their discovery from a sub-glacial lake – Veba. Rough Magic promise a fairytale!

The Second Violinist October 2nd – October 8th O’Reilly Theatre

Composer Donnacha Dennehy and writer/director Enda Walsh reunite following their opera The Last Hotel with Crash Ensemble again providing the music, while the chorus of Wide Open Opera and actor Aaron Monaghan join the fun. Jamie Vartan again provides a set on which for 75 minutes physical madness of a presumably ineffable nature can play out, to a Renaissance choral backdrop.

Her Voice October 10th – October 11th Samuel Beckett Theatre

A Japanese riff on Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days sees Keiko Takeya and Togo Igawa directed by Makoto Sato; who has also designed the set and stripped away all the words from Beckett’s scripts save his numerous stage directions to get to a new kernel of the piece as Takeya conveys Winnie’s rambling monologues of memory purely through gesture and facial expression.

King of the Castle October 11th – October 15th Gaiety

Director Garry Hynes and frequent collaborators designer Francis O’Connor and lighting maestro James F. Ingalls tackle Eugene McCabe’s 1964 tale of rural jealousy. Sean McGinley’s Scober MacAdam lives in a Big House in Leitrim, with a large farm and young wife, played by Seana Kerslake. But their childless marriage sees rumours swirl amidst neighbours Marty Rea, John Olohan, and Bosco Hogan.

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September 21, 2016

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme

The Abbey characteristically gives the bloody cul-de-sac of the Somme equal precedence with the seminal Rising in this year of centenaries, but this is a stunning revival of Frank McGuinness’ work of imaginative empathy.

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Old Pyper (Sean McGinley) is haunted. In his workshops he rails against phantoms, guilt-ridden over being the sole survivor of a band of brothers wiped out at the Somme in 1916. As he remembers the slaughter the phantoms materialise, and we flashback to their meeting for the first time after enlisting. There is Young Pyper (Donal Gallery), to all concerned instantly pegged as a ‘rare boyo’, sparring with Craig (Ryan Donaldson). There is the inseparable Moore (Chris McCurry), blind as a bat, and his more confident friend Millen (Iarla McGowan). There is the disgraced minister Roulston (Marcus Lamb), an old enemy of Pyper’s, and a Derry boy Crawford (Jonny Holden). And then there’s Belfast bashers Anderson (Andy Kellegher) and McIlwaine (Paul Kennedy). As these pairs, existing and new, bond the terrible sacrifice of the Somme campaign looms before them all.

McGuinness’ rambunctious second act, in which he introduces eight characters in uniform in a barracks setting, and yet makes them all vividly individual, is a marvel of concision and inspiration, and, after seeing The Plough & the Stars earlier this year on the same stage, perhaps just a bit reminiscent of O’Casey. Thoroughly contemporary though is the abstracted third act’s pairing of the men on their leave before the full measure of devotion is called for. Not least because while Millen forces some courage into Moore on a rickety bridge, Crawford literally beats metaphysical common sense into Roulston, and Anderson helps McIlwaine mount a late Orange march, Pyper on a remote island entices Craig into revealing that he is also a rare boyo. McGuinness’ reaching across the divide to depict Unionists is mirrored in an audience weeping for McIlwaine, who would of course beat them all senseless for being Taigs.

The emotional knockout punch of the final charge by the doomed soldiers may be the most moving theatrical moment 2016 will see.

4.5/5

February 9, 2016

ADIFF: Irish Focus

The Audi Dublin International Film Festival is showcasing an array of home-grown talent, presenting the next wave of highly anticipated Irish films following recent awards.

adiff_image-1243x414

Throughout the Festival a selection of features, documentaries and shorts will showcase the breadth of talent in Irish cinema, including Simon Fitzmaurice’s debut feature My Name Is Emily, Rebecca Daly’s Mammal (which premiered at Sundance), the gritty Killian Scott thriller Traders, Northern Irish political drama The Truth Commissioner, and Staid, the feature debut of best-selling author and playwright Paul O’Brien.

Irish documentaries are a vital part of the Festival with this year’s selection covering a wide range of topics. Johnny Gogan’s Hubert Butler: Witness to the Future delves into the career of writer and Kilkenny-native Hubert Butler, who smuggled Jewish people into Ireland from pre-World War II Austria. Atlantic focuses on three small fishing communities who face the devastating prospect of having their livelihoods taken from them due to major challenges within their industry. Fís na Fuiseoige is an exploration into Irish poetry, while The Judas Iscariot Lunch presents thirteen Irish ex-priests who speak candidly about their time in the Catholic Church. There are two Reel Art documentaries, an initiative by the Arts Council. Further Beyond deals with 18th Century figure, Ambrose O’Higgins, with filmmakers Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor attempting to retrace his remarkable journey from Ireland to Chile. We Are Moving – Memories of Miss Moriarty is an intimate portrait of Joan Denise Moriarty who dreamt of bringing ballet to every corner of Ireland.

To coincide with 1916 centenary celebrations, there will be a special screening of Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins. A reunion for the extras who took part in its production will also take place, Seen But Unnoticed, which will allow them to share their stories and memories from the shoot. A short film initiative, After ’16 Shorts, funded by the Irish Film Board, will also be screened to commemorate 1916. Several more Irish short films will be screened as part of ADIFF Shorts 1 and ADIFF Shorts 2, including Mike Hayes’ Leave, starring Moe Dunford, and Vincent Gallagher’s Love is a Sting.

The Festival celebrates emerging Irish film talent with the ADIFF Discovery Award. This year’s nominees are Barry Keoghan (Actor, MammalTraders and The Break), Barry Ward (Actor, The Truth CommissionerJimmy’s HallL’Accabadora), Claire Dix (Director We are Moving – Memories of Miss MoriartyBroken Song, Downpour), Dave Tynan (Writer/Director, The Cherishing, Rockmount, Just Saying), Emmet Kirwan (Actor, The Break, ‘71, Just Saying), Ian Lloyd Anderson (Actor, Leave, Game of Thrones, Love/Hate), Jack O’Shea (Director/Animator, A Coat Made Dark, Eat The Danger), JJ Rolfe (Cinematographer, The Cherishing, Rockmount, Just Saying), Kathryn Kennedy (Producer, My Name is Emily, It’s Not Yet Dark, After), Kieran O’Reilly (Actor, Little Bear, Love/ Hate, Rebellion), Laura McNicholas (Producer/Director, Mr Yeats & the Beastly Coins, Leave, Cutting Grass), Martin McCann (Actor, My Name is Emily, ’71, Boogaloo and Graham), Niamh Heery (Producer/Editor, A Father’s Letter, Our Unfenced Country, Displaced), Nika McGuigan (Actress, Mammal, Traders, Philomena) and Rachel Lysaght (Producer, Traders, Patrick’s Day, Tana Bana).

The Festival’s opening and closing films are both Irish productions – John Carney’s Sing Street, which received rave reviews at Sundance, and Paddy Breathnach’s Viva, which is shortlisted for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Highlights:

Sing Street (The filmmakers and cast will attend the screening)

Thursday 18th February at 19:00

106 minutes Savoy 1

Sing Street sees an economic recession in 1980s Dublin force Conor out of private school and into survival mode at an inner-city public school where kids are rough and teachers rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the über-cool Raphina, and with the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band’s music videos. She agrees, and now Conor must deliver. Calling himself “Cosmo” and immersing himself in the music of the ’80s, he forms a band, who pour their hearts into writing lyrics and shooting videos. Combining John Carney’s trademark warmth with a punk rock edge, and featuring a memorable soundtrack with hits from The Cure, Duran Duran and The Police, Sing Street is an electrifying coming-of-age film that will resonate with music fans.

Further Beyond (Followed by a Q+A with the Filmmakers)

Friday 19th February at 18:00

89 minutes IFI 1

In their debut documentary Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor take as their point of departure the compelling 18th Century figure, Ambrose O’Higgins, and attempt to retrace his remarkable journey from Ireland to Chile. Key locations in O’Higgins’ life – a lake in Sligo, a field in Meath, the port of Cadiz, the sea, and the edge of a snow-covered mountain in the Andes – are visited and reflected upon in the hope that something might be revealed. Having long dreamt of making a biopic of O’Higgins, this wayward and wry documentary is a personal voyage into the idea of the cinematic location. However, as they speculate on the idea of place and what O’Higgins embodies, the filmmakers get sidetracked by a competing story of immigration and displacement. Gradually, and not without humour, these two intertwining narratives uncover ideas about the transformative powers of travelling, as looked at through a peculiarly Irish prism.

Traders (Rachael Moriarty, Peter Murphy, Killian Scott and John Bradley will attend)

Saturday 20th February at 18:30

90 minutes Light House 1

Harry Fox (Killian Scott) has it all; the luxury apartment, the fancy car; but when the company he works for goes bust it looks like he will lose everything. A solution is offered by Vernon Stynes (John Bradley) who has masterminded a diabolical, all-or-nothing scheme based in the Deep Web, called Trading. Two strangers empty their banks accounts, sell their assets, put their entire worth in cash into a green sports bag. They travel to a remote location and fight to the death. Winner buries the loser and walks away twice as rich. Vernon believes Trading is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to get rich quick. Can Harry resist the lure of this high risk gamble? It’s dangerous and illegal, but it could solve all his problems.

The Truth Commissioner (followed by a Q+A with the filmmakers)

Sunday 21st February at 18:15

99 minutes Light House 1

The Truth Commissioner follows the fictional story of Henry Stanfield (Roger Allam), a career diplomat appointed as Truth Commissioner to Northern Ireland. Co-starring Barry Ward, Sean McGinley, Conleth Hill, Ian McElhinney and Tom Goodman Hill, the story revolves around the lives of three men who are directly or indirectly involved in the disappearance, 20 years earlier, of the 15-year-old Conor Roche. Though Stanfield starts bravely, he quickly uncovers some bloody and inconvenient truths about those now running the country; truths which none of those in power are prepared to have revealed. Everyone claims to want ‘The Truth’, but what is it going to cost, and who will pay for it?

Mammal (Followed by a Q+A with the Filmmakers)

Wednesday 24th February at 20:30

96 minutes

Lighthouse 1

After Margaret (Rachel Griffiths) learns that her 18-year-old son, who she abandoned as a baby, has been found dead, her simple, solitary routine is tragically disrupted. But when Joe (Barry Keoghan), a homeless teenager from her neighborhood, enters her life, Margaret offers him a room, and she soon becomes the mother she never was. As Margaret copes with the volatile grief of her ex-husband, her own lonely trauma seeps into her relationship with Joe and begins to blur the line between motherly affection and a more carnal intimacy. Director Rebecca Daly’s Mammal expertly guides us through layers of isolating grief that pulsate with the animalistic nature of trauma.

Atlantic (Followed by a Q+A with the Filmmakers)

Thursday 25th February at 20:30

80 minutes Cineworld 9

Atlantic is the latest film from the makers of The Pipe. This film follows three small fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland –at turns united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean. In recent times, mounting challenges within their own industries, the fragile environment, and the lure of high wages on oil rigs have seen these fishing communities struggle to maintain their way of life. As the oil majors push into deeper water and further into the Arctic, and the world’s largest fishing companies chase the last great Atlantic shoals, the impact on coastal communities and the ecosystems they rely on is reaching a tipping point. Atlantic tells three very personal stories of those who face the devastating prospect of having livelihoods taken from them, and communities destroyed both environmentally and economically.

Audi Dublin International Film Festival Box Office

DIFF House

13 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1

Opening Hours: Mon to Sat 10am–6pm, Sun (from 18th Feb) 12pm–6pm

There will be pop-up box offices in place at each venue from 30 minutes prior to each screening

Phone: 01 687 7974

Email: info@diff.ie

Website: www.diff.ie

December 1, 2013

Subtitle European Film Festival Awards

The Subtitle European Film Festival drew to a close tonight in Kilkenny with the second Angela Awards, celebrating excellence in European film-making.SUBTITLE_2013_1.0_COLOUR

Actors honoured at the awards included Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie (known for his role in the crossover hit Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters), Finnish actor Peter Franzén (who will shortly be seen on screens starring alongside Sean Penn in The Gunman), Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky (star of the forthcoming Vampire Academy alongside Gabriel Byrne) and Danish actor Pilou Asbaek (star of TV hit Borgen). The Awards were hosted by actress and author Pauline McLynn in The Set Theatre, Kilkenny, with a host of luminaries including director Jim Sheridan, writer David Caffrey, Harry Potter producer Tanya Seghatchian, and actors Robert Sheehan, Amy Huberman, Laurence Kinlan, Sean McGinley, Tom Hickey, Peter O’Meara, Aisling Franciosi, Morten Suurballe (The Killing), and Allan Hyde (True Blood) all in attendance.

At the awards Jim Sheridan also presented Emmy Award-winning casting director Avy Kaufman with a Lifetime Achievement Angela. Kaufman was the casting diector for films as diverse as The Sixth SenseThe Life of PiLincoln and Shame. She has also worked with Jim Sheridan, casting many of his films. Subtitle presents popular films from European countries such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, France, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bosnia. With 70 screenings of 36 popular films from over 13 countries across Europe over 7 days in Kilkenny, Subtitle makes you see cinema in a different way.

Full List of Angela Winners:

 

Pilou Asbaek, Denmark, Actor

For his role in: A Hijacking

 

Agnieszka Grochowska, Poland, Actor

For her role in: Walesa

 

Aksel Hennie, Norway, Actor

For his role in: Ninety Minutes

 

Peter Franzén, Finland, Actor

For his role in: Heart Of A Lion

 

Danila Kozlovsky, Russia, Actor

For his role in: Soulless

 

Antonio De La Torre, Spain, Actor

For his role in: Grupo 7

 

Marija Pikic, Serbia, Actor

For her role in: Children Of Sarajevo

 

Jakub Gierszał, Poland, Actor

For his role in: Suicide Room

 

Laura Birn, Finland, Actor

For her role in: Purge

 

Hannah Hoekstra, Netherlands, Actor

For her role in: Hemel

 

Jessica Grobowsky, Finland, Actor

For her role in: 8-Ball

 

Marwan Kanzari, Netherlands, Actor

Breakthrough: Wolf

 

Per-Erik Eriksen, Norway, Editor

Editing: Kon-Tiki

 

Avy Kaufman, US, Casting Director  

Lifetime Achievement: Casting

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