Talking Movies

August 24, 2018

Somewhere Else

Gorgeous Theatre returns to the intimate space of Players Theatre with a 21st century spin on some mid-20th century influences.

Gene (Noel Cahill) is on a journey, destination unknown. As he says, “I must leave this place. Find another. A different place altogether”. His quest to get somewhere else sees him travel to the archetypal big city; with the help and hindrance of Tonya Swayne’s assorted characters; repeatedly meet and attempt to impress a mysterious woman (Saoirse Sine), and be perpetually annoyed by two manically energetic characters (Emma Brennan, Tanja Abazi) who dog his steps with requests for him to join their fun and just for once stay where they are. (And also annoy him with a door he does not want to see.) It takes a while, and much physical mayhem, before the pieces fall into place, and the guiding maxim might well be Kierkegaard’s aphorism that life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Ciaran Treanor’s script and direction doffs its hat at times to Chaplin; Cahill executes delirious pratfalls and turns a mechanical sequence of dishwashing into slapstick chaos. At other times, with the wonderful cardboard props of misbehaving taxis, buses, aeroplanes, and even a raft, we seem to be firmly in Thurber territory; Gene a Walter Mitty with extravagant daydreams to escape a humdrum reality. But that the urban reality conjured by Erin Barclay and Louise Dunne’s inventive set design comprises some 70 boxes that part to reveal the nightlights of a CITY skyscraper, which, when Cahill and Sine dance in front of it recalls the ‘Gotta Dance’ fantasy sequence in Singin’ in the Rain. Not that all these familiar notes get in the way of Treanor’s originality anymore than La La Land’s borrowings prevented it from doing something new and unexpected.

3.5/5

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November 29, 2013

Digital Biscuit 2014

The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI) officially launched Digital Biscuit 2014 at their Annual Meeting for Irish Directors in Dublin on November 21st last.

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The inaugural Digital Biscuit 2013 proved a resounding success with both the industry and the public with over 4,000 attendees over the 3 day period. Digital Biscuit 2014 places creatives at its core while also serving as a digital expo for new technologies. The 2014 event promises a varied and packed programme: amidst cutting-edge presentations and product unveilings, representatives from the creative industries will deliver talks, discussions and seminars on matters that are crucial to production today, with an aim to not only inspire but also enable and spur on productivity. Digital Biscuit takes place at the Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin from January 22nd to 24th 2014 with tickets now available on www.digitalbiscuit.ie. Those in attendance at the AGM of SDGI last week included Irish directors Conor Horgan, Maurice Sweeney, Paddy Breathnach, Steve Woods and Brian Kirk. Irish Film Board representatives were also present and special guest, acclaimed French director, Arnaud Desplechin – fresh from a retrospective of films at the IFI’s French Film Festival.

“The aim is to make directors and people generally aware of the most up to date digital technologies in film making and indeed TV production” says Ciaran Donnelly, Chairman of SDGI and director of The Tudors and Vikings. “The aim of Digital Biscuit is to improve the production capabilities of our most talented creators from the simplest ideas to the highest budgets”. At Digital Biscuit 2014 The Paccar Theatre in the Science Gallery will host screenings, presentations, and panel discussions. This ticket-only area will host talks from exciting global talent and creatives including: Carlos Velasco (CEO, Neurosketch), Christian Fonnesbech (Director, Cloud Chamber), Jack Reynor (Actor, What Richard Did, Delivery Man and Transformers: Age of Extinction), Nick Meaney (CEO, Epagogix), Philip Einstein Lipski (Lars Von Trier Collaborator for Nymphomaniac). The Secret of Kells director, Tom Moore, will be giving the audience an exclusive sneak peek into the making of his upcoming feature Song of The Sea.

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This year’s Honorary Guest Director is Alan Taylor, who has clocked up credits on Mad Men, and then Game of Thrones, and most recently turned to cinematic fantasy with the massive hit Thor: The Dark World. As Honorary Guest Director, Taylor will engage in an informal conversation about his work and career. Meanwhile directors, writers, photographers, producers, editors, directors of photography, students and members of the public once again will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the bustling displays and demonstrations of new technologies in the KinoPlay Area, which is aimed at enhancing the production process and market for their creators. “We look forward to Digital Biscuit being once again a dynamic hub of national and global industry leaders, concentrated on enabling creativity by focusing on Ireland’s capabilities as a creative and technological leader in innovative film and television production” commented Birch Hamilton, Digital Biscuit’s Executive Director.

Tickets are on sale now on www.digitalbiscuit.ie. Workshop access requires registration on www.digitalbiscuit.ie with a registration fee of five euro, guaranteeing pass holders a place. The printable pass ticket pass is required on the day and will be the only way to gain entry to the workshops. Non ticket/pass holders can still enjoy the KinoPlay area and atmosphere of Digital Biscuit. All information on Digital Biscuit 2014, including information on partners, speakers, and the schedule will be available on www.digitalbiscuit.ie.

October 26, 2011

Politik: Part II

After a lamentable fall off the wagon with a post-election political blog in April here is the even more disgusting spectacle of a pre-election political blog in October. Thankfully there won’t be any more political events until 2014. We hope.

Senator McCarthy as Requested
The two constitutional referendums to be voted on this Thursday have been alarmingly lost in the white noise of the hopelessly bilious Presidential campaign. Tom McGurk and Vincent Browne have both written cogent columns arguing against granting more power to the Oireachtas to conduct inquiries as the Government wishes. Worryingly this proposal seems to be liable to be passed by a landslide. Browne’s legal objections to the wording of the proposed amendment raise the terrifying spectre of these committees deciding that the people they call before them don’t have the right to legal representation, to face their accusers, or to know the charges brought against them, and that they don’t have the right to see if the courts believe that the committee has acted fairly by the constitutional rights of the person so victimised in striking this balance between rights and cost-effective enquiry. I don’t know if Browne is scaremongering or not, or whether it’s possible that Fine Gael could spend the entirety of this Dail investigating every member of Sinn Fein one by one for their own private amusement, as has been suggested elsewhere in a piece of definite scaremongering. All I know is that a committee investigated Ivor Callely over his expenses and its conduct was so ill-advised that when the courts were finished reviewing the proceedings Ivor Callely appeared like a victim whose rights were traduced by a witch-hunt. If the Seanad was incapable of properly investigating and making findings against one of its own friendless members, do you really want the Oireachtas to be given power to investigate ordinary citizens and make findings of fact against them without judicial oversight that they are conducting proceedings in a responsible fashion? Is an ill-informed landslide about to give us our own democratically requested HUAC?

James Madison is Disheartened
In the frenetic last days of his pursuit of a nomination David Norris made a petulant outburst when a county council voted against him which implied that a vote against his candidature was a vote against democracy itself, rather than say, a vote against his candidature. Norris in insisting that only the public should vote on his candidature appeared to be conflating a democracy with a republic, a distinction James Madison was always keen to make. In a democracy the citizens vote directly on matters affecting them, but in a republic they elect representatives to vote for them on such matters; this is what allows republics to grow in size. Madison expanded this exponentially in Federalist 10 by advocating a large continental republic as the best defence against vested interests hijacking government because there would be so many vested interests they would cancel each other out. So, if the county councillors are trusted enough by the voters to elect them as their representatives what is the substance of Norris’ complaint? It would appear to be either that the county council system is undemocratic because it denies citizens a public plebiscite on every issue (in which case he apparently has no faith in the concept of a republic) or, it would appear to be that the county councillors who voted against him were unqualified to represent the wishes of their electors on this and this matter alone but were qualified to represent the wishes of their electors on all other matters. The latter possibility would be an extraordinary interpretation of what Irish democracy is all about but then Norris was never really seriously questioned on the major contradiction of his rhetoric of appealing to the people, has he not just spent two decades representing a rotten borough?

First We Go Negative
Gay Mitchell’s bizarre campaign has been both hilarious and awful to observe. Churchill said that he never knew of a man who had added to his dignity by standing on it, and Martin McGuinness’s candidature seems to have been contrived as an in-joke to enable the Irish public to enjoy one of the funniest recurring spectacles in Irish politics, that of Fine Gael rabidly frothing at the mouth about “Law an’ Order, Law’n’Order, and the Foundation of the State!” But Mitchell’s self-destructive savaging of McGuinness set the tone for his whole campaign. Attacks on Mary Davis, carefully crafted under the guise of ‘research’ by polling companies, as reported in the Sunday Business Post, saw questions couched so as to vilify a candidate without seeming to. Imagine, for example, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for X if you knew that X had been convicted of burning a small town in Leitrim to the ground during the course of a drunken hooley in 1985?” (That example’s inspired by Neil Sharpson’s hilarious play The Search for the Real Jimmy Gorman) Gay Mitchell’s campaign was like watching a poor 100m runner kick all his opponents in the shins during the warm-up before the race in the misguided hope that this would allow him to win in his personal best time of 30 seconds. It wouldn’t. It would get you disqualified by the officials, or here public opinion. Gay Mitchell needed to articulate why we should vote for him, but he never did, instead he just told us ad nauseam why we shouldn’t vote for anyone else. It’s obvious the Fine Gael top brass never wanted him as a candidate but amusing themselves by joining in kicking everyone else’s shins rather than championing Mitchell has spectacularly backfired.

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