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BREATHING – Thu 25 October, 8pm

By archive, Season 7 Films

Breathing   |   Atmen

Director:  Karl Marcovics  |  Austria  |   2011    |   94 mins  |   Cert: CLUB

Starring: Thomas Schubert, Karin Lischka, Gerhard Liebmann, Georg Friedrich, Stefan Matousch

Language: Austrian

Breathing is a brilliantly nuanced portrayal of youthful rebellion and the struggle to build a constructive future from a disadvantaged start in life. 18-year-old Roman is serving time in a juvenile detention center and attempting to find gainful employment that could earn him release on probation. His chances are poor as he doesn’t have family and doesn’t respond well to the punitive and judgemental authority figures who surround him. He slowly works towards an unexpected redemption in a challenging job as an undertaker’s assistant leading to a newfound interest in his estranged family. – Leeds International Film Festival

Read The Irish Times review. ****


FREE MEN – Thu 1 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 7 Films

Free Men    |    Les hommes libres

Director:  Ismaël Ferroukhi   |  France  |  2011   |  99 mins   |  Cert: 12A

Starring: Tahar Rahim, Michael Lonsdale, Mahmoud Shalaby, Lubna Azabal

Language: French

Inspired by true events, this gripping espionage drama recounts the often overlooked collaboration between Arab émigrés and the French Resistance during World War II.

Unemployed Algerian immigrant, Younges (Tahar Rahim) survives in 1942 Paris by working as a black marketeer, but like all who exist in such a precarious environment, he’s living on borrowed time. When the law finally catches up with him, he’s given the choice of prison or spying on the inhabitants of a local Mosque who are suspected of harbouring Jews and resistance fighters and passing them off as Muslims.

A born survivor, Younges initially works both sides, becoming a useful go-between for the Gestapo and the Mosque. But with the passing of time, events conspire to transform this hitherto apolitical cynic into a dedicated freedom activist who realizes that for change to occur he must, for the first time in his life, take a stand. – Alliance French Film Festival 2012

Read The Irish Times review.

Read interview with director Ismaël Ferroukhi.

BEAUTY – Thu 8 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 7 Films

Beauty  |  Skoonheid

Director: Oliver Hermanus   |   South Africa 2011   |   98 mins   |  Cert:CLUB

Starring: Deon Lotz, Charlie Keegan and Michelle Scott

Language: Afrikaans           

Beauty opens with a tracking shot through a wedding reception until the camera eventually stops to linger on a good-looking young man. The point of view is that of the father of the bride, François (Deon Lotz). The young man is Christian, the son of François’ oldest friend.

Typical of a sub-section of men who came of age during Apartheid, François is internally angry and overtly racist and homophobic, holding on to his power as a white South African male through the success of his business. But he has a secret. He regularly attends orgies with a group of similarly closeted middle-aged guys.

The voyeurism of the opening scene evolves as François begins to stalk Christian, gazing in on his relatively carefree life, unshackled by South Africa’s past. With a minimal script and long shots, director Hermanus enters François’ quiet desperation as it slowly turns to frustration, finally unshackling the rage at the heart of his alienation.

Much of the film focuses on François’ unchanging expression, which doesn’t give Lotz a lot to play with as an actor. Still he turns in a powerhouse performance, at once tense, heart-rending and repulsive in a devastating film that uses sexuality as a metaphor for South Africa’s fractured dysfunction. – Brian Finnegan, Editor of GCN

Read Variety review.

MONSIEUR LAZHAR – Thu 15 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 7 Films

Monsieur Lazhar

Director:  Phillippe Falardeau    |  Canada   |   2011  |  94 mins  |  Cert: 12A

Starring: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Brigitte Poupart, Danielle Proulx

Language: French

After a Montreal elementary school teacher commits suicide one night after class, she is replaced by Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), an Algerian immigrant seeking political refuge in Quebec. As Lazhar introduces traditional teaching methods to his new class, he begins to develop close relationships with two of his pupils: a boy traumatized by his discovery of the former teacher’s body, and a girl whose interpretation of the event provokes unforeseen revelations. Produced by the team behind the Academy Award-nominated Incendies and directed by veteran filmmaker Philippe Falardeau, Monsieur Lazhar is one of the most acclaimed Québécois films of the last decade and Canada’s submission for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. – Toronto International Film Festival 2012

Read The Irish Times review. *****

Read The Guardian review. ****

Read The New York Times review.  Critics’ Pick

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA – Thu 22 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 7 Films

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia   |  Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan  |  Turkey |  2011  |  157 mins  | Cert:CLUB

Starring: Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Firat Tanis

Language: Turkish

The new film from Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan offers a radically revisionist take on the police procedural. In the stark Turkish countryside, a murder has been committed and a man has confessed; all that remains is for him to lead the police to the body. As the killer and a police escort venture out into the night on their grisly mission, it eventually becomes clear that the confessed murderer cannot locate the resting place of his victim; yet as night passes into day and time stretches out, it becomes apparent that small clues are being planted, whether we realize it or not. A Kafkaesque mystery from one of the most acclaimed contemporary filmmakers, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia slowly reveals its grand design like a masterful game of chess. – Toronto International Film Festival 2011

Read The Guardian review.

Read The Washington Post review of  “this Turkish delight”.  ****

LE HAVRE – Thu 29 November, 8pm

By archive, Season 7 Films

Le Havre

Director: Aki Kaurismäki   |  Finland  |  2011   |  93 mins  |  Cert: PG

Starring: André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo

Language: French

Marcel Marx, an aging bohemian artist has retreated to the French port of Le Havre and taken up work as a shoeshine man — a profession with a limited future, as everyone seems to be wearing running shoes. One day, Marcel befriends Idrissa, a young African immigrant hoping to make his way to England in a shipping container with other illegals. Marcel is determined to extend a helping hand to the wide-eyed boy, but the law, in the form of Inspector Monet, is equally determined to stand in his way. An intricate dance of hide-and-seek ensues, Marcel using all his ingenuity to hide Idrissa while the nefarious Monet keeps hot on the trail. No other contemporary filmmaker manages to blend deadpan, ironic humour with social commentary in quite the same manner as Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki.Pierre Étaix plays the doctor in Kaurismäki’s film. – Cork French Film Festival 2012

Read The Irish Times review. ****

Read The Guardian review. ****

THE KID WITH A BIKE – Thu 13 December, 8pm

By archive, Season 7 Films

The Kid With A Bike  | Le gamin au vélo

Director: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne  | Belgium | 2011  | 87 mins | Cert: 12A

Starring: Thomas Doret, Cécile de France, Jérémie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione

Language: French   

Kid With A Bike, The 4Eleven year-old Cyril (Doret) tries to find his father, who has abandoned him to a care home, and retrieve his precious bicycle. During the search he clings to hairdresser Samantha (de France) who agrees to foster him at weekends. Yet Cyril won’t give up on his father. Or trouble.  In outline it sounds trite — a disenfranchised kid is turned around by a kindly stranger — but the Dardennes’ make it so much more. Raw but compassionate, naturalistic but compelling. If you’re looking to get into the Dardennes, this is a great place to start. – Empire Magazine

Golden Globe nominee – Best Foreign Language Film

Read The Irish Times review. ****

Read The Guardian review. ****