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JEUNE FEMME [FRANCE], THU 27 SEPTEMBER, 8PM

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A superbly sympathetic and spikily comedic portrait of a rudderless young woman in search of an identity.  She’s determined to make a new start with style. 

Winner, Camera d’Or for best first feature film, Cannes Film Festival 2017.

Broke, with nothing but her cat to her name and doors closing in her face, Paula is back in Paris after a long absence. As she meets different people along the way, there is one thing she knows for sure: she’s determined to make a new start – and she’ll do it with style and panache.

Director Léonor Serraille deservedly scooped the Camera d’Or prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for this debut feature. Jeune Femme impresses with it sheer vivacity and the powerhouse central performance of actress Laetitia Dosch as Paula provides the wild heart of the film. This is cinema that is funny, moving and hugely invigorating.

Comedy with a soaring, free-spirited lead…A white-knuckle sense of emotional freefall powers every fraught scene.The Irish Times ★★★★

Laetitia Dosch dazzles in Léonor Serraille’s debut feature as a young Parisian woman struggling to work out who she is.The Guardian ★★★★

The film plays like an assured American comedy with its quick-fire pacing and conventional, redemptive arc. But the film is pure French in its tone and atmosphere. – Little White Lies, Cannes Film Festival 2017

France, 2017 |Language: France | 98 minutes | Cert: 15

Director:   Léonor Serraille

Cast:  Laetitia Dosch, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Grégoire Monsaingeon

SUMMER 1993 [ESTIU 1993 – SPAIN], THU 4 OCTOBER, 8PM

By | archive

Six-year-old Frida faces the death of her parents and integration into a new nuclear family during a long Catalonian summer.  Beguiling, unsentimental and deeply personal.  

Winner, Best First Feature, Berlin Film Festival 2017.

In the summer 1993, following the death of her parents, six-year-old Frida moves from Barcelona to the Catalan province to live with her aunt and uncle, who are now her new legal guardians. The country life is a challenge for Frida – time passes differently in her new home and the nature that surrounds her is mysterious and estranging. She now has a little sister she has to take care of and must deal with new feelings, such as jealousy. Often, Frida is naively convinced that running away would be the best solution to her problems.

The family does what it can to achieve a fragile new balance and bring normality to their life. Occasional family outings to a local fiesta or a swimming pool, cooking or listening to jazz in the garden bring them moments of happiness. Slowly, Frida realizes that she is there to stay and has to adapt to the new environment.

Stunning drama of a childhood ripped apart…Carla Simón’s brilliantly realised story of a six-year-old traumatised by the death of her parents features miraculous child performances.The Guardian ★★★★★ 

A film that movingly looks at an orphaned six-year-old’s loneliness and confusion without the usual dip into sentimentality. – Variety

Childhood memoirs always are under threat from self-indulgence and sentimentality, but 1993 successfully sidesteps both, establishing Simon as a talent to watch.  A delicately crafted, moving filmic memoir. True and captivating. – The Hollywood Reporter

Spain, 2017 |Language: Catalan | 97 minutes | Cert: CLUB

Director:   Carla Simón

Cast:  Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, Bruna Cusí

ZAMA [ARGENTINA], THU 11 OCTOBER, 8PM

By | archive

Set in 18th century Paraguay, Zama is a dissatisfied magistrate assigned to a remote colony.  This stunning and bold piece of filmmaking, full of wit and striking visuals, casts a powerful spell.

Don Diego de Zama is a magistrate in a remote Spanish colony in South America. He dutifully does his job, hoping to persuade his superiors to approve a transfer to Buenos Aires. As the months pass, and he grows increasingly desperate, the unhinged Zama hopes that a dangerous mission to capture a notorious outlaw will finally guarantee his long-awaited relocation.

The first film in almost a decade from Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel (The Headless Woman) is very much worth the wait: This is a stunning, strange and bold piece of filmmaking,

Desire and despair at the end of the world. In Lucrecia Martel’s magnificent drama, a Spanish officer stuck at a remote South American outpost numbs his burgeoning panic with erotic reveries. –  The Guardian  ★★★★

This surreal period piece is 2018’s best film so far. Lucrecia Martel’s Paraguay-set drama finds pathos and grim humor in colonial South America.Vanity Fair Magazine

Lucrecia Martel, one of the greatest directors in the world right now, gets a well earned retrospective at Lincoln Center in New York City.Vogue Magazine

Click here for The Irish Times review.

95% rating from Rotten Tomatoes

Argentina, 2017 |Language: Spanish | 115 minutes | Cert: CLUB

Director: Lucrecia Martel

Cast: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lola Dueñas, Matheus Nachtergaele

 

 

WESTERN [GERMANY, BULGARIA] – THU 18 OCTOBER, 8pm

By | archive

There are no cowboys in this supremely confident, simmering drama of German-Bulgarian discord, but the spirit of the Western as a template for frontier conflict prevails.  A study of economic imperialism and toxic masculinity made by a woman.

One of the films of the year has arrived – maybe the best of the year – a work of unmatched subtlety, complexity and artistry. – The Guardian ★★★★

An intense, slow-burning thriller, Western follows a group of German construction workers installing a hydroelectric plant in remote rural Bulgaria. The foreign land awakens the men’s sense of adventure, but tensions mount when, Meinhard, the strong, silent and newcomer to the group, starts mixing with the local villagers. The two sides speak different languages and share a troubled history. Can they learn to trust each other — or is the stage being set for a showdown?

Valeska Grisebach follows her 2006 award-winner Longing with this contemporary western.

Beautifully complicated, rigorously straightforward. There is no doubting Ms. Grisebach’s filmmaking… as precise as a dropped pin on a GPS map, which makes its sense of mystery all the more powerful. – The New York Times Critics Pick

A mesmerising study of men on the edge.  – The Telegraph ★★★★

There are no stagecoaches or six-shooters in this sharp, simmering drama of German-Bulgarian discord, but the spirit of John Ford graces it. – Variety

Germany, 2017 |Language: German, Bulgarian | 119 minutes | Cert: CLUB

Director:  Valeska Grisebach

Cast:  Meinhard Neumann, Reinhardt Wetrek, Syuleyman Alilov Letifov

 

THE RIDER [USA], THU 25 OCTOBER, 8PM

By | archive

Brady, a South Dakota rodeo cowboy, suffers a near-fatal accident that halts his career and forces him to re-evaluate his future.  A beautifully crafted and absorbing glimpse of ‘real-life’ America.

Winner Art Cinema Award at Cannes 2017.

Brady is a talented South Dakota bronco rider and horse trainer – cowboys and rodeos are the centre of his world. So when he suffers a near-fatal accident that halts his career, Brady struggles to recover from a serious head-injury that forces him to reevaluate his future.

Chinese-born director Chloé Zhao proves that her acclaimed debut feature Songs My Brothers Taught Me was no flash-in-the-pan, as she returns with another beautifully crafted and absorbing glimpse of ‘real-life’ America in this second feature. Casting non-professional actors as versions of themselves allows her to bring a unique authenticity and intimacy to the story – the result is a powerfully emotional and touching exploration of humanity.

The best American movie this critic has seen in the past year…The commanding abilities Chloé Zhao shows in “The Rider” easily mark her as one of the world’s most important young directors. – rogerebert.com ★★★

Study of a damaged rodeo rider is a hugely impressive slice of prairie naturalism.The Irish Times  ★★★★★

Impressive, stylish bronco rider drama bucks the trend.  Chloé Zhao’s distinctive new feature shows life among South Dakota’s star bronco riders, who play themselves in a kind of heightened documentary. – The Guardian ★★★

Click here to watch an interview with the director and Brady.

Click here for official website.

USA, 2017 | Language:  English | 104 minutes | Cert: CLUB TBC

Director:  Chloé Zhao

Cast:  Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau

THE FLORIDA PROJECT [USA], THU 25 JANUARY, 8PM

By | archive, Season 18 films

A child’s sense of wonder is at the heart of Sean Baker’s joyful story of people living on the impoverished fringes of Florida’s tourist traps. ★★★★

“The Florida Project is a song of innocence and of experience: mainly the former.  It is a glorious film in which warmth and compassion win out over miserabilism or irony, painted in bright blocks of sunlit colour like a child’s storybook and often happening in those electrically charged magic-hour urban sunsets that the director Sean Baker also gave us in his zero-budget breakthrough Tangerine.

This also has the best child acting I have seen for years in its humour and its unforced and almost miraculous naturalism.  These kids don’t look cute or over-rehearsed or rehearsed at all; they look as if everything they do and every word that comes out of their mouths is unscripted and real. Yet what they do also has the intelligence and artistry of acting. In his own grownup role, Willem Dafoe gives a performance of quiet excellence and integrity.

The drama is set in a budget motel in Florida in the shadow of Walt Disney World: one of many long-stay welfare places for transients and mortgage defaulters. But, for the little kids who live there, this rundown place does look weirdly like paradise, a place where one summer they enjoy pure, magical freedom, running around its walkways and stairwells and far afield into Florida’s unofficial countryside. These kids do something that is a distant memory for most of us: they roam (a word I hadn’t even thought of for years before seeing this film) just the way children were supposed to in some former age. They wander from dawn to dusk and have fun.

Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) is a fearless six-year-old girl whose mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) has failed to get work waitressing or lapdancing. Soon Halley may have to resort to a more obviously lucrative evening business from her motel room. As for Moonee, she can just hang out endlessly with loads of other kids like her friend Scooty (Christopher Rivera), whose own mom lets them have leftover food from the diner where she works.

Dafoe plays Bobby, the hotel manager, who is perennially irritated with late-paying, trash-talking Halley but looks out for her and is a veritable catcher in the rye for Moonee and all the other little kids.

There is an adult narrative thread running through The Florida Project, a narrative of disillusion and suppressed fear; but it comes encased in the children’s heedless, directionless world of fun.

Sean Baker creates a story that is utterly absorbing and moves with its own easy, ambient swing.  He has the gift of seeing things from a child’s view. There is a kind of genius in that.” ★★★★★ – Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian

A vibrant, bold and bright portrayal of American childhood which just has to be seen…among the best films ever made about childhood. ★★★★★ The Irish Times

Another ★★★★ review in The Guardian, this one by Mark Kermode.

An Outrageously Cute Interview with Brooklynn Prince, 7-Year-Old Star of Sean Baker’s The Florida Project (and Possibly the Youngest Oscar Nominee Ever).

95% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Bria Vinaite: from Instagram entrepreneur to starring opposite Willem Dafoe.

USA, 2017 |Language: English | 115 minutes | Cert: 15A

Director, Writer, Editor:   Sean Baker

Cast:  Willem Dafoe, Brooklyn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Valeria Cotto

FÉLICITÉ [FRANCE, BELGIUM, SENEGAL], THU 1 FEBRUARY, 8PM

By | archive, Season 18 films

A heroic central performance from the Congolese actress Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu is reason alone to see this gripping drama.

Franco-Senegalese film-maker Alain Gomis has created a film portrait in an ambient social-realist style, showing us a woman called Félicité: a bar singer in the tough streets of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gomis leaves it up to us to determine the precise level of irony in her name.

Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu is a formidable presence as Félicité, a single mum of a tearaway teen boy Samo (Gaetan Claudia), for whom she must stay strong. She is scratching a living with her music, evidently bruised and humbled by the reverses of her life, drifting into a relationship with Tabu (Papi Mpaka), the boozy, unreliable guy who once came to repair her fridge.

Then her son has a motorbike accident and the hospital needs a million Congolese francs (about £500) before surgery can be carried out. Félicité must now go around to the people in her life asking variously for loans, or the money that she is owed – a process that exposes the fault lines in her own life. This is interspersed with scenes of her singing with her band and also, mysteriously but arrestingly, the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra playing pieces by Arvo Pärt.

Cinematographer Céline Bozon contrives tremendous streetscape scenes around Kinshasa itself. It’s a film with seriousness and compassion, though a little lengthy and diffuse. Dramatic storm clouds gather and pass overhead without ever quite bursting into rain. – Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian

Click here to read the New York Times Critic’s Pick review.

96% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Click here for official website.

France, Belgium, Senegal, Germany, Lebanon, 2017 |Language: Lingala, French | 123 minutes | Cert: CLUB

Director:  Alain Gomis 

Cast:  Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu, Gaetan Claudia, Papi Mpaka

 

GOLDSTONE [AUSTRALIA], THU 8 FEBRUARY, 8PM

By | archive, Season 18 films

A masterpiece of outback noir that packs a political punch.

Rugged, Indigenous Australian detective Jay Swan is arrested for drunk-driving by rookie local policeman Josh on the desolate road into the mining town of Goldstone. Jay is investigating the disappearance of a Chinese migrant worker, and while Josh is initially reluctant to help on the case, when it becomes apparent that something more sinister is happening in the area, the two men must overcome their differences and work together.

Australian director Ivan Sen’s follow-up to 2013’s Mystery Road is a complex, stylish and tense western that explores Australia’s history, whilst dealing with key contemporary issues. Like its predecessor, Goldstone is intelligent and thought-provoking cinema.

Writer/director Ivan Sen has combined two genres uncommon to Australia, to deliver one classic film no Australian should miss. ★★★★★ – The Guardian

Sen’s unique accomplishment, unequalled in contemporary Aussie cinema, is his daringly idealistic intention and crystal clear success at balancing the demands of contemporary genre filmmaking with, in this case, the ongoing hot-button issues of Aboriginal relations (Sen is himself of mixed Indigenous/European heritage), human trafficking, the human greed behind corporate corruption and cultural destruction. – read the complete Variety review

Click here to read The Australian review.

Australia, 2016 |Language: English | 110 minutes | Cert: CLUB

Director: Ivan Sen

Cast: Aaron Pedersen, Alex Russell, Pei Pei Cheng, David Gulpilil, David Wenham, Jacki Weaver

Please note there is no film on 15 February.

ROSALIE BLUM [FRANCE], THU 22 FEBRUARY, 8PM

By | archive, Season 18 films

A sweet but never saccharine French comedy about three misfits who bring out the best in each other.

Julien Rappeneau’s enchanting directorial debut is a warm, witty and impeccably performed comedy about a random encounter that has unexpected and far-reaching consequences. Thirty-something Vincent Machot is a hairdresser whose life rotates around work, his overbearing mother and a womanising cousin constantly trying to set him up. But one morning Vincent experiences a powerful déjà-vu when he meets the gaze of a grocery store clerk, Rosalie Blum.

And so begins a search to uncover the truth behind their connection. With its themes of altruism, forgiveness and the value of compassion, Rosalie Blum is a timely reminder of the best that French cinema has to offer.

Based on the graphic-novel trilogy by French artist Camille Jourdy.

Presented with the support of the French Embassy and the Institut Français. 
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A joy! Fresh and engaging.  A feel-good film which combines humour and eccentric touches with surges of genuine emotion. Light and life-affirming.Hollywood Reporter

Click here for official website.

France, 2016 | Language: French | 95 minutes | Cert: CLUB

Director:  Julien Rappeneau

Cast:  Noémie Lvovsky, Kyan Khojandi, Alice Isaaz, Sara Giraudeau

A short Irish film, Nice Night For It, will be shown before the feature.

MIMOSAS [MOROCCO], THU 1 MARCH, 8PM

By | archive, Season 18 films

***CANCELLED***  ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE IS CLOSED ON THU 1 MARCH DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS. THIS SCREENING IS CANCELLED.

Winner of the Critics Week Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Oliver Laxe’s stunning new filmis a breathtakingly-shot Western that follows a mysterious caravan as it escorts an elderly and dying Sheikh trough the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. His last wish is to be buried with his loved ones. But death does not wait.

Without their leader, the company grows fearful. And at the foot of a mountain pass, they refuse to continue, entrusting the body to two men who agree to carry on and bring it to its final destination. But who are these men? And do they really know the way?

In another world, a mysterious young man is chosen to find the caravan.

Click here to watch interview with director Oliver Laxe.

Click here for The Guardian review.

Click here for Little White Lies review.

Click here for official website.

Spain, Morocco, France, Qatar, 2016 | Language:  Arabic, Galician | 96 minutes | Cert: CLUB

Director/Writer:  Oliver Laxe

Cast:  Ahmed Hammoud,  Shakib Ben Omar,  Said Aagli

A short Irish film, The Tatoo [15 minutes], will be shown before the feature.