Designed by Forbairt
Sunday 19th January / 8.00pm
Director: Roger Mitchell
UK / France / 92 mins
Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play a middle-aged, middle-class couple who visit Paris for a long weekend in hopes of rekindling their relationship – or, perhaps, to bring it to an end. Diffident, wistful Nick and demanding, take-charge Meg move from harmony to disharmony to resignation and back again as they take stock and grapple with love, loss, regret and disappointment, in their own very English way. When they accept a dinner invitation from Nick’s old friend Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), an American academic superstar with a fancy Parisian address their squabbles rise to a register that’s both emotionally rich and very funny.
Le Weekend is full of surprises. The dialogue digs deep into the tensions that shape this couple’s relationship while holding nothing back. Director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill, Hyde Park on Hudson) has shown us the pleasures of complicated romance before, but never has his filmmaking felt freer. From the charged scenes at the hotel, to Goldblum’s delicious intervention, to a clever nod to Jean-Luc Godard at the end, this is one of the most enjoyable love stories of the year.
Jim Broadbent won an award for Best Actor 2013 at the San Sebastian Film Festival 2013×
Sunday 26th January / 8.00pm
Director: Sebastion Lelio
2012 / Chile / 110mins
Gloria is a 58 year old divorcée. Her children have all left home but she has no desire to spend her days and nights alone. Determined to defy old age and loneliness, she rushes headlong into a whirl of singles’ parties on the hunt for instant gratification – which just leads repeatedly to disappointment and emptiness. But then she meets Rodolfo, an ex-naval officer seven years her senior to whom she feels romantically inclined. She even begins to imagine a permanent relationship. However, the encounter presents unexpected challenges and Gloria gradually finds herself being forced to confront her own dark secrets. Sebastián Lelio’s third feature film is a tragicomedy of fragile hopes and painful truths, a portrait of a powerful woman who manages to assert her own strength and independence in spite of a maelstrom of conflicting feelings. The story unfolds against the backdrop of current political developments in Chile, incorporating the murky waters of forty years of Chilean history.
Winner - Best Actress, Berlin Film Festival 2012×
Sunday 2nd February / 8.00pm
Director: Margaretha Von Trotta
2012 / Germany / 113mins
Barbara Sukowa teams again with director Margarethe von Trotta (Rosa Luxemburg) for her brilliant new biopic of influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt. Arendt, played by Sukowa, is shown being commissioned by the New Yorker to write about the trial of Adolf Eichmann. The result was her celebrated coinage “the banality of evil”: her epiphany is in realising that Eichmann was not a scary monster but a pathetic little pen-pusher. For Arendt, it was in this shabby and insidious mediocrity – emblematic of a nation of administrators obediently carrying out the Holocaust – that evil resided. Deftly blending low-key drama with archival black-and-white footage of the Nazi’s cross-examination, director Margarethe von Trotta raises thorny questions about complicity and guilt, conclusions which caused outrage when first aired in the pages of the New Yorker.
Hannah Arendt won numerous awards for best actress (Barbara Sukowa) and best feature film in Germany, 2013.×
Sunday 9th February / 8.00pm
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
2013 / France / 179mins
The latest drama from Abdellatif Kechiche, director of Couscous spans several years in the life of Adèle. We first meet her as a school student, tentatively getting together with a male admirer but increasingly fascinated by Emma, a woman with blue-dyed hair that she glimpses in the street. Before long they are together, Adèle becoming the muse for Emma’s art while she pursues her own path into adulthood. Kechiche’s intention – fully realised – is to immerse the viewer completely in the nuances of the relationship. Attention has been focused on the inevitable sex scenes of an explicit nature. But Kechiche’s purpose is clear: he wants to demonstrate the powerful influence that sexual desire has on the emotions. “The film’s compelling grip is partly down to Kechiche’s eye as a social observer, partly because of its two lead actors. Lea Seydoux depicts Emma with genial wit and toughness, while Adele Exarchopoulos is a revelation, offering a fearless, deeply affecting performance of remarkable intensity”. Jonathan Romney. “BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR gets closer to accurately charting the dynamics of romantic love than any picture in recent memory” Donald Clarke.
Winner - Palm d’Or, Cannes Film Festival 2013.×
Sunday 16th February / 8.00pm
2012 / Belgium / 100mins
Elise runs a tattoo shop. Didier plays banjo in a bluegrass band. When they meet, it’s love at first sight. When they move into a homely old farmhouse where their daughter Maybelle is born, their happiness is complete. But when a crisis strikes the hopeful new family, these two very different lovers are forced to fight for their marriage together. A remarkable film in every respect, and one that takes you on a constantly surprising and emotional journey of love, passion, tragedy and joy, The Broken Circle Breakdown won the Audience Prize at the Berlinale, where it was rapturously received. Infused with gorgeous bluegrass music, and with performances of rare power and magnetism, the film takes you on a rollercoaster ride that leaves you exhilarated and reeling. More than mere background music, bluegrass is integral to the story, linking the main themes of life, love, death, America and parenthood.
Winner - Audience Award, Berlin Film Festival 2013 Winner - Europa Cinemas Label, Berlin Film Festival 2013×
Sunday 23rd February / 8.00pm
Director: Calin Peter Netzer
2013 / Romania / 112mins
Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for this sardonic tale about a wealthy, aging Bucharest matriarch who greases more palms than she can shake as she tries to buy her son’s way out of a hit-and-run conviction. Sexagenerian matriarch Cornelia (Luminita Gheorghiu) leads a life of privilege, surrounded by friends and wealth in Bucharest. Upon learning that her son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) was involved in a car accident and could now be facing a hefty jail sentence, Cornelia’s maternal instincts kick into overdrive. Taking advantage of the connections afforded by her status, and dismissing the situation as a minor annoyance – Barbu killed a fourteen-year old boy and fled the scene – Cornelia greases palms and pulls strings while her son looks on in a chemical-induced haze. Co-written by acclaimed scriptwriter Razvan Radulescu (The Death of Mister Lazarescu), Child’s Pose delivers a subtle and nuanced portrait of human vulnerability and loss. It offers a rich tapestry of ethical questions and shifting power dynamics and cuts through Romania’s justice system like butter.
Winner - Golden Bear, Berlin Film Festival 2013×
Sunday 2nd March / 8.00pm
Director: Hirokazu Kore-Eda
2013 / Japan / 120mins
Like Father Like Son follows the story of two couples who, when their children are starting elementary school, discover that they were switched shortly after their birth. Contact is made and they face up to an impossible moral quandary: do they hold on to the boys they have nurtured or switch the children and attempt to restart family life? In less careful hands, the crude binary contrast between families would seem unbearable. Ryota and Midori are well-off, buttoned-up and blinkered in their ambitions. Yukari and Yudai are free-spirited, lower middle-class and generous with emotion. At first Ryota, a businessman who has made little time for his child, plots furiously to grab hold of both children. He sniffs at the other family’s apparent recklessness. But, once the decision has been made, he begins to understand the flaws in his outlook. It is a pleasure to experience a film-maker so at home to big-hearted humanism. Shooting in unhurried style in a sedate palette, he demonstrates an affection for people – and for children in particular – that is going out of fashion in high-end art-house cinema. Ozu had it. So does Miyazaki. Hirokazu Kore-Eda looks set to gain a seat beside those masters. “Our favourite film in the competition to date”. - Donald Clarke.
Winner - Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2013×
Sunday 9th March / 8.00pm
Director: Michel Franco
2012 / Mexico / 103mins
In the aftermath of his wife’s death in a car accident, Roberto and their daughter Alejandra move from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City, where Roberto plans to open a restaurant. Alejandra quickly makes friends with the popular kids in high school, but when a drunken sexual experience gets recorded and circulated, she becomes the object of vicious bullying. She keeps it all a secret from her father, concerned for his state of mind in the wake of her mother’s death. Roberto’s struggle to cope with the loss of his wife blinds him to what’s happening to his daughter until it’s already gone too far. Winner of numerous awards, including the prestigious Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the searing After Lucia firmly establishes Michel Franco as a major talent. Employing a rigorous and highly personal style Franco nails the emotionally devastating story, drawing restrained but intense performances from Hernan Mendoza and Tessa Ia Gonzalez.
Winner - Best Director, Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival 2012×
Sunday 16th March / 8.00pm
Director: Dónal Ó’Céilleachair
2013 / Ireland / 80mins
Sean-nós is considered to be the holy grail of Irish traditional music and the Sean-nós singer is the living embodiment of a tradition that stretches far into Gaelic history. Aisling Gheal are a team of women passionately keeping Sean-nós alive and attracting young protégés all the time. Amongst them is 10-year-old Shahira Apraku who attends the local Gaelscoil and embodies an entire new generation of Irish speakers. Shahira’s journey, the struggles of the women, the songs of the Sean-nós and the flow of the Sullane river provide parallel intersecting narrative vehicles for this documentary, yielding insights into this part of our culture and challenging some of our key contemporary notions of ‘Irishness’ in the process.×
Thursday 23rd March / 8.00pm
Director: Jérôme Bonnell
2013 / France / 105mins
Alix Emmanuelle, who is performing in an Ibsen play in Calais, takes the train to Paris at the crack of dawn for an audition and is due back on stage that night. On the train, Alix spots a fellow passenger (Gabriel Byrne). When the train pulls in to Paris, Byrne asks in adequate French whether she speaks English and requests directions to a specific church. Another passenger obliges, but Alix now knows where the mysterious man is headed. Alix goes to her audition after which she should meet her mother for lunch and then hop back on a train but instead, proceeds to the church where the reason for Byrne’s melancholy expression is revealed. After a few amusing obstacles are overcome they make a connection. Centered on a perfectly measured performance from Emmanuelle Devos, and with Gabriel Byrne an ever reliable presence, Jerome Bonnell delivers an affecting and humorous tale of a Parisian brief encounter with considerable class. Just a Sigh opened this year’s IFI French Film Festival.×