Event cinema!We are showing this Oscar-nominated film in two parts on one night, starting at 6pm. There will be a 20-minute interval during which we’ll serve wine and a nibble. Total running time including the interval is 3 hours and 35 minutes.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others, 2006) returns with an Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated drama about individuals caught up in the sweep of German history. Loosely based on the formative years of the world-renowned painter Gerhard Richter, Never Look Away is an intergenerational tale of love, sorrow, art and politics from Nazism through to the Cold War.
In 1937, at the Nazi Party notorious “degenerate art” exhibition in Dresden, a small boy named Kurt’s passion for art is ignited. Years later, in Communist East Germany, Kurt enters art college where he falls in love with fashion student Ellie, unaware that her father has a devastating secret and is determined to end their relationship.
Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography, 2019
Golden Globe nominee, Best Foreign Language Motion Picture, 2019
An epic drama about marijuana trafficking in Colombia that digs deep into the culture of the indigenous people involved. Critics call it ‘a masterpiece…absolutely extraordinary…a genuine knock-out’.
From the creators of the Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s astounding Birds of Passage is an epic, visually exquisite story about the origin of the Colombian drug trade, told through the perspective of a proud indigenous family. It is the first Colombian film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
Guajira, Northern Colombia, 1970s. Wayuu tribe-member Zaida has come of age, leaving formidable matriarch Ursula with the important task of finding a suitable match. Her instincts warn her against young Rapayet, an ambitious man with strong links outside of the clan, but the word of a respected uncle carries weight, so she succeeds, setting an outrageous dowry. The seed sown, Rapayet stumbles onto a plan with two flamboyant friends to sell marijuana to a visiting American. It is the beginning of a profitable new enterprise.
As the family rises to prominence, Ursula becomes increasingly complicit in her son-in-law’s business dealings, insisting traditional honour codes are respected and observed. But the trappings of wealth and power soon incite a war that threatens to tear them and their ancient traditions apart.
Once in the bluest of moons, we encounter a freshly minted classic that feels as if it has been around forever…An epic work of folk, gangster and other-worldly cinema. – The Irish Times ★★★★★
Startling and intriguing, it grafts quasi-ethnographic docudrama on to drug lord turf war epic. This is film-making that pushes the limits of storytelling and generic templates, and it’s brimming with images and ideas. – The Guardian ★★★★
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
Ruth Wilson stars in British filmmaker Clio Barnard’s atmospheric and layered drama about the old wounds and bitter new grievances that come to light when a woman returns home to settle the tenancy of her family’s Yorkshire farm.
Five years after her provocative breakthrough, The Selfish Giant, director Clio Barnard returns with a highly atmospheric and emotionally charged drama that proves she is one of England’s most distinctive new voices. With Dark River, Barnard uses the Yorkshire countryside as a beautiful silent witness to the troubling tale of a family that, though previously ripped apart, is now trying to reconcile.
After a 15-year absence, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to the family farm following the death of her father. She finds the place in complete disrepair. Her deeply troubled brother, Joe (Mark Stanley), is ostensibly in charge, but appears to be in no state to make smart decisions. The two siblings have become like strangers to each other. Alice, bold and decisive, bolts into Joe’s life, determined to impose order and give the farm a future. Joe bristles at her every move, and sparks fly as years of resentments resurface. Slowly, layers of their past are stripped away to expose a dark secret between them. But life goes on. Landlords come knocking.
Barnard is both an energetic and a reflective filmmaker — deeply poetic, but with a realist’s eye. Here she has carefully brought to life the story of damaged people trying to cope with the past while reassembling their lives. – Toronto International Film Festival
Academy Award Winner, Best Foreign Language Film, 2017.
Award-winning director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) returns with the 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner The Salesman, a characteristically taut drama exploring how unexpected cracks can form in the foundations of a seemingly happy marriage.
Set in modern-day Tehran, the future looks promising for amateur actors Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) as they prepare for opening night on their production of Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’. However, when dangerous work on a neighbouring building forces the couple to leave their home and move into a new apartment, a case of mistaken identity sees a shocking and violent incident throw their lives into turmoil.
What follows is a series of wrong turns that threaten to destroy their relationship irreparably.
Winner of the Best Screenplay and Best Actor awards at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Farhadi’s study on the potent power of pride, guilt and shame treads the line between arresting drama and revenge thriller with masterful ease.
Flawlessly acted…Farhadi trades in the poetry of the unsaid. – ★★★★ The Irish Times
Farhadi remains a master of pace and tension, slowly upping the stakes in an unsettling narrative fuelled by a lingering sense of powerlessness, paranoia and the possibility that you never entirely know the person you love. – Screen International
Mr. Farhadi’s control is astonishing, as is the discipline of the actors. – The New York Times
Annette Bening stars as a single mother who recruits two women to help raise her son in this warm drama set in Southern California in the late 1970s.
“Director Mike Mills follows Beginners, his Oscar-winning study of the relationship between a son and his gay father, with another picture that takes as its jumping-off point the bond between parent and child. In the case of this late 70s-set cultural odyssey, the parent is gregarious, open-minded single mother Dorothea (the superb Annette Bening) and the child is Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), the teenage son she isn’t quite sure she can guide on his path to becoming a man.
To this end, she recruits the help of two other women to help raise him. Her lodger, Abbie (Greta Gerwig), is a photographer crowd surfing on the anger and energy of the new wave scene. And Julie (Elle Fanning) is Jamie’s best friend, a sullen beauty who is casually oblivious to the fact that he is in love with her.
But the 20th century is almost as important a character as the women. Mills weaves together a tapestry of social, cultural and political strands. In part of the extensive voiceover, delivered predominantly by Dorothea and Jamie, the boy talks of his last memory of his absent father – a birthday in 1974 – which deftly links mid-70s fashion trends (mirrored sunglasses) with news events (President Gerald Ford’s historic tumble down the steps of Air Force One) and with vomit on a carpet.
Mills makes reference to the experimental documentary Koyaanisqatsi with accelerated clips of teeming southern California life; he even includes a clip of Koyaanisqatsi itself to emphasise the parallel. Dorothea’s 1940s jazz rubs shoulders with Talking Heads and Black Flag; still photography mood boards give way to psyched-out, colour-saturated “film burn” effects, which nod to the California hippie hotbed that spawned the film’s other key character, William (Billy Crudup). There’s a certain arch self-awareness in the screenwriting that won’t appeal to everyone, but I loved the film for its scrapbook structure, its warmth and candour.” – Wendy Ide, The Guardian
Season 17 concludes with our ‘bonus’ 11th film, the Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, A Man Called Ove. It’s one of the feel-good films of 2017, and well-timed for the start of the Christmas season.
Ove (Rolf Lassgård) is a retiree struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife – a struggle that he angrily takes out on his neighbours by strictly enforcing the estate rules. Ove’s world is unexpectedly turned upside down when a young family move in next door. Despite his initial resistance, Ove slowly forms a bond with his new neighbours and discovers a whole new side of life.
Based on the best-selling novel by Fredrik Backman [translated into more than 40 languages], this Swedish hit is a bittersweet but charming tale of one man rediscovering himself after a devastating tragedy. Darkly comic but sensitively told, this is a true crowd-pleaser held together by a remarkable lead performance.