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BLESSED, Thu 17 October, 8pm

By archive, Season 9 films

An intensely serious and accomplished study of errant teenagers and their preoccupied mothers. Finely-acted by a large cast, five intertwined stories are played out on the mean streets of Melbourne. “a missile of raw emotion” – Variety

Director: Ana Kokkinos. Australia, 2009. 111 minutes. Cert: 18. Language: English

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Blessed is a dark, relentless and intensely serious study of errant teenagers and their preoccupied mothers. Finely acted by a large cast led by a jagged, desperate Frances O¹Connor, four thematically linked stories are played out on the mean streets of western Melbourne: unhappy mothers mistrust their children, drifting children mistrust their mothers. Director Kokkinos, known for her sexy, stylised Head On (1998) and The Book
of Revelation (2006), works close to documentary realism here, with much hand-held camerawork and a street-weary look.

Starring: Frances O¹Connor, Miranda Otto, Deborra-Lee Furness, Victoria Haralabidou, William McInnes, Sophie Lowe

THE GATEKEEPERS – Documentary, Thu 24 October, 8pm

By archive, Season 9 films

In an unprecedented series of interviews, six former heads of Israel’s secret service speak about Israel’s war on Palestinian terrorism, candidly discussing their decisions, rationalisations and regrets. “riveting from beginning to end” – LA Times

Director: Dror Moreh. Israel, 2012. 95 minutes. Cert: Club. Language: Hebrew

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In an unprecedented and candid series of interviews, six former heads of the Shin Bet‹Israel’s intelligence and security agency‹speak about their role in Israel’s decades-long counterterrorism campaign. Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers is a rare glimpse into the untold history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the point of view of the Shin Bet. In this series of one-on-one interviews, combined with never-before-seen archival footage, Moreh gives us unfettered access to the decisions, rationalisations, and regrets of Israel’s most powerful homeland security officials. As these veteran intelligence chiefs speak with detachment about their participation in some of Israel’s most controversial counterterrorist initiatives, their steely singularity of purpose‹to maintain the state’s security‹remains constant. But hard questions arise. What constitutes acceptable ‘collateral damage’? What is the virtue of a ‘proportional’ response? The Gatekeepers offers many explanations, but no apologies. – Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2012

KUMA (SECOND WIFE), Thu 7 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 9 films

An innocent teenager is tricked into marriage as a second wife to an older man. Wife number one has cancer and hopes to train the girl as her replacement. This gripping tragedy explores marital arrangements endured in quiet claustrophobia.

Director: Umut Dag. Austria, 2012. 93 minutes. Cert: Club. Language: German, Turkish

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Under the auspices of a more age-appropriate marriage to his handsome son, a stately Viennese patriarch brings Ayse, a pretty teenaged girl from the Turkish countryside, to live with him as a second wife. A special friendship develops between Ayse and Fatma, the first wife who is suffering from cancer and appreciates both the help and the companionship. Soon, however, an unexpected twist of fate puts this relationship to the test. – Chicago Film Festival 2012

Starring: Nihal Koldas, Begüm Akkaya, Vedat Erincin, Murathan Muslu, Alev Irmak


By archive, Season 9 films

The challenge of retaining faith and hope in the face of poverty and injustice is at the core of this brilliant, hard-hitting film. Two dedicated priests try, and often fail, to make a difference in a grim Buenos Aires shanty town. Score by Michael Nyman.

Director: Pablo Trapero . Argentina, 2012. 110 minutes. Cert: 15A. Language: Spanish

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The challenge of retaining your faith in the face of everyday poverty, suffering and injustice provides a compelling core to this latest from brilliant Argentinian director Pablo Trapero. In  Lion’s Den and Carancho, he displayed his skill at fusing social issues with gripping thriller narratives, and here adapts to the daunting environs of a real-life shantytown in Buenos Aires, surrounding the massive empty shell of an unfinished hospital – a monument to failed good intentions.

Ricardo Darín, South America’s great screen icon, exudes troubled decency as the embattled priest caught between church officialdom and his hardscrabble flock, while the arrival of Jérémie Renier’s big-hearted but impetuous Belgian missionary only escalates the temperature of the neighbourhood drugs war.

Examining the gnarly realities of compassion, the film is resolutely fair-minded towards the local residents who took part in its production, and adamantly eschews easy answers in pondering the conundrum of making a difference. The brooding Michael Nyman score is used with sparing effectiveness. –  Trevor Johnston / Irish Film Institute Programme

Starring: Riccardo Darin, Jérémie Renier, Martina Gusman

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI – Documentary, Thu 21 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 9 films

Master sushi chef Jiro Ono owns a renowned ten-seat, €250 a plate, three-Michelin starred Tokyo restaurant. From bidding at a tuna auction to the proper way to massage an octopus, his arcane craft is profiled in mouth-watering detail. But is Jiro’s son a worthy heir to his legacy?

Director: David Gelb. Japan, 2012. 83 minutes. Cert: G. Language: Japanese

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An appetizing documentary in every sense, Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows 85-year old master sushi chef Jiro Ono, owner of the esteemed 10 seat, $300 a ­ plate Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant in Tokyo. From the ins and outs of the tuna auction to the proper way to massage an octopus director David Gelb dynamically profiles all aspects of the craft in mouth watering style and detail, paying lushly photographed homages to the process of preparing the artisan sushi that earned Jiro and elite three Michelin stars. – Tribeca Film Festival 2012

COME AS YOU ARE (HASTA LA VISTA), Thu 28 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 9 films

A superb romp about three young men keen to lose their virginity. There’s a twist: paraplegic Philip, blind Jozef and wheelchair-bound Lars have very different relationships with their own bodies. Unsentimental and brimming with good-natured humour.

Director: Geoffrey Enthoven. Belgium, 2011. 115 minutes. Cert: 15A. Language: Dutch, French

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Known in its native Belgium as Hasta La Vista, Come As You Are has nothing to do with Nirvana or The Terminator, and everything to do with friendship and humanity. Bearing similarities with The Sessions, it’s the loosely true story of three disabled men who embark on a trip to Spain in order to lose their virginity at a “specialist” brothel. The subject matter is ripe for crass gags or patronising sentimentality but succumbs to neither.  Director Geoffrey Enthoven treats his characters as people, with a three-dimensional sense of empathy and good-natured humour. – Total Film

Starring: Robrecht Vanden Thoren, Gilles de Schrijver,Tom Audenaert, Isabelle de Hertogh

BABETTE’S FEAST – Cork Cine Club Members’ Classic Choice, Thu 5 December, 8pm

By archive, Season 9 films

A flawless film. Political refugee Babette throws a dinner party for the entire village in austere 19th-century Denmark, giving a gift for both body and soul. Oscar, Best Foreign Language Film. Introduction by Catherine Murray, Head of Filmmaking/Video Production, St. John’s College.

Director: Gabriel Axel. Denmark, 1987. 102 minutes. Cert: G. Language: Danish

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Based on Isak Dinesen’s novel, this is a literary adaptation that makes the transition to screen with grace and dignity, matching every word of the book with a moment, an image or a sound.  The story is a simple one, uncomplicated and unfussed. Babette has worked for her sisters all her life. When she wins the lottery, she decides to celebrate by throwing a huge dinner party for all the entire village. Starting from that simple premise the story of Babette, her employers, and the residents of the village are told.

Starring: Stephanie Audran, Bodil Kjer and Brigitte Federspiel


By archive, Season 8 Films

Director: Robert Guédiguian.  France, 2011. 107 minutes.  Cert: CLUB.  Language: French (subtitled).

Fifty-year-old Michel is a man of principle. When his union holds a lottery to see which men will be laid off, he includes his name, and finds himself faced with early retirement. It’s an adjustment, but he has his modest pension, a happy marriage and plenty of grandchildren to occupy his time, along with the sense that he did the right thing.

Then, one evening, Michel and his wife are the victims of a crime. The trauma of this crime is bad enough, but when Michel learns the identity of one of the perpetrators, his complacency is shaken. Has he become a smug member of the middle class? “What would we have thought of us,” he asks his wife, Marie Claire, “Try to imagine us, 30 years ago.”

Based on a poem (“How Good Are the Poor?”) by Victor Hugo, this gentle film is about the ethical and emotional adjustments of middle age, as Michel’s sense of social justice struggles with his personal rage against the unrepentant young man who robbed and beat him.

Ariane Ascaride is delightful as Michel’s assertive and supportive wife, and Jean-Pierre Darroussin delivers a thoughtful performance as an ordinary man who aspires – not always successfully – to a more than ordinary morality.

Set in Marseille, the signature location of art-house director Robert Guédiguian, this beautiful film scores impressive emotional moments as moral certainties are challenged.

Read The Globe and Mail review.

Read The Guardian review.





SAMSARA – Thu 31 January, 8pm

By archive, Season 8 Films

Directors: Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson.  USA, 2011.  99 minutes.  Cert: 12A. Language: None

Winner – Best Documentary Award of Dublin Film Critics Circle

“awesome, gorgeous, spellbinding” – Boston Herald

Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience.  SAMSARA reunites director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson, whose award-winning films BARAKA and CHRONOS were acclaimed for combining visual and musical artistry.

SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives.  Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders.

By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.

Expanding on the themes they developed in BARAKA (1992) and CHRONOS (1985), SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man’s spirituality and the human experience.  Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation.  Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.

The filmmakers approach non-verbal filmmaking with an understanding that it must live up to the standard of great still photography, revealing the essence of a subject, not just its physical presence.  SAMSARA was photographed entirely in 70mm film utilizing both standard frame rates and with a motion control time-lapse camera designed specifically for this project.  This camera system allows perspective shifts to reveal extraordinary views of ordinary scenes.  The images were then transferred through the highest resolution scanning process available to the new 4K digital projection format that allows for mesmerizing images of unprecedented clarity.

Watch the trailer and interviews.

Read The Irish Times review.

Read The Guardian review.




YOUR SISTER’S SISTER – Thu 7 February, 8pm

By archive, Season 8 Films

Director: Lynn Shelton.  USA, 2011.  90 minutes.  Cert: 15A.  Language: English

“a winner…a poignant, witty, brilliantly written and acted film” – New York Times

Still grief-stricken a year after his brother’s death, Jack (Mark Duplass) travels to a remote cabin off the coast of Seattle at the suggestion of his best friend, Iris (Emily Blunt), who thinks that he’ll benefit from the isolation. He arrives to find Iris’s sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), recovering from a bad breakup, and they quickly bond over their shared misery.

When Iris turns up to surprise Jack, she notes a new connection between him and her sister. What begins as a happy reunion soon deteriorates into a fractious encounter, the trio bouncing off one another amid misunderstandings, betrayals and secret affections.

Improvising much of the dialogue, the three actors are terrific, imbuing their complex, sometimes maddening characters with genuine heart. Shelton and her cast develop an idea initially conceived by Duplass into a funny, truthful story about sibling bonds, friendship, love and miscommunication.

 Read The Washington Post review.

Read The New York Times review.