Galway Film Society, founded, by among others, the late John Cunningham, and the late Yann Guiomard this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. After various temporary locations throughout the city, it found its first permanent home in the then UCG (1978-1996), before it finally settled in the Town Hall Theatre, gaining a larger city wide audience. The success of the society is fundamentally due to a loyal core audience, many of whom have remained members since its earliest years in T.C.G. However, a special mention must be made of the following:
The Galway City Council, NUI, Galway, Access Cinema, the late Michael Diskin, James Harrold, Maeve Cooke, David O’Mahony, Karen Wall, Neil Connolly, Maretta Dillon, Alice Black, George Keegan, Joe & Evelyn Mahon, John Ryan, Ollie Jennings, Rod Stoneman, Tony Tracy, Sean Crossan, Molly O’Driscoll, Tamlyn McHugh, Ciaran McHugh, Vicky Donnelly, Jane O’Leary, Anna Lardi, Catherine Connolly, Colette Connolly, Billy Cameron, Helen McMahon, Bobby & Rita Cutler, Ted Sheedy, Liam Bluett, Ivan McMahon, Richard McMahon, Mike Grieve, Karen Grieve, Bob Quinn, Joe Comerford, Cathal Black, Thaddeus O’Sullivan, Pat Murphy, Kernan Andrews, Freddy Diviney, Jack Watts, Gary Murphy, Fergal McGrath , Joan Higgins, all at the Town Hall Theatre and many others whose contribution is gratefully acknowledged.
Designed by Forbairt
Sunday 21st September / 8.00pm
Xavier (Romain Duris) a Paris writer is devastated to learn his wife Wendy(Kelly Reilly) wants to leave him and take the kids to New York to be with her new man. Xavier follows her to New York, where he has a fake wedding with a Chinese-American woman to stay in the country. Meanwhile, Xavier’s ex-girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou) shows up in New York. Chinese Puzzle has a tremendous cast and freewheeling approach to its subject matter that includes some very funny and well-observed scenes. Chinese Puzzle is part of a triology (L’Auberge Espagnole, Russian Dolls) but familiarity with these is in no way necessary to enjoy this stand-alone likable and thoroughly enjoyable film.
Audience award San Francisco Film Festival 2014×
Sunday 28th September / 8.00pm
Following the taut Oscar-winning divorce drama A Separation, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi returns with another stunning study of modern family life, this time set on the outskirts of Paris where Ahmad arrives from Tehran to finalise the end of his tempestuous marriage to estranged wife Marie. The Past, however, is not simply a variation on a theme; it is a gripping, emotional detective story, as curious Ahmad investigates the events of the previous four years, his interest piqued by Marie’s sulky teenage daughter Lucie, whose strange contempt for her mother’s new boyfriend Samir sets the story in motion. Farhadi’s cast is note-perfect but the real star is the script, a masterwork of restraint that drip-feeds one explosive revelation after another.
Winner - Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival 2013×
Sunday 5th October / 5.30pm
Films from the Southern Mediteranean (in association with Access Cinema)
In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimate a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power than the judges. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years. But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is open for judgment, apart from the initial request. This expertly written, brilliantly acted film documents the painful process for a woman attempting to obtain a divorce. Director’s Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2014
Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz are part of a group of directors at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July, 2014, who issued a statement which includes the following: “We call on the Israeli government to cease fire; we call on it to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Palestinian people”. “Children living in Gaza today are our partners in peace tomorrow.” Screen Daily 14 July, 2014.×
Sunday 5th October / 8.00pm
Films from the Southern Mediteranean (in association with Access Cinema)
1975: Sarah, 8 years old, lives in a Catholic orphanage in Belgium. One day, her biological father, whom she has never met, comes to take her for a week-end in Paris. But it is in Morocco that Sarah wakes up, in a little town lost in the middle of the Atlas Mountains. Very soon, her father leaves, abandoning her without any explanation. She then slips into the life of a little Moroccan girl where the only schooling she is offered is that of knitting. Nine years later, we find Sarah, 17 years old, a teenager like all the others... well almost. Sarah’s father has never sent the money he had said he would, and for the family where she is staying, each mouth to feed places additional strain on their resources. Sarah will have to find a way to earn her board. But then, there is also her wish to go back to the Belgium of her childhood, to the school, the books and the life that Sarah thinks of as free.×
Sunday 12th October / 5.30pm
Ladder to Damascus marks the return to cinema of legendary Syrian filmmaker Mohamad Malas after almost a decade-long absence. The ensuing years have seen Malas’ native Syria go from being one of the most politically stable – and stifling – regimes in the Arab world to one that has been torn apart by civil war for much of the last two years. Malas initially appears not to touch on the trauma of his country, focusing instead on a haunting love story. Ghalia is inhabited by the soul of Zeina, a girl who drowned the day she was born. Haunted by Zeina’s past life, Ghalia travels to Damascus to study acting. There she meets an aspiring filmmaker, fascinated by her duality, who finds her a place to live with other students. Soon the tumultuous events taking place in the streets begin to encroach on their own budding love affair.×
Sunday 12th October / 8.00pm
At the peak of his acting career, Serge Tanneur (played by Fabrice Luchini) turns his back on the world of show business for good. He’s had enough of the disillusioning, back-stabbing, soul-destroying environment. So Serge decides to live like a hermit in a run-down house on the picturesque Île de Ré off France’s Atlantic coast. Three years later, Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson), a well-loved TV actor, turns up on the island to offer Serge a principal role in Moliere’s The Misanthrope. Serge refuses, swearing that he will never return to the stage. And yet, something inside him wants to be convinced. He makes a pact that after five days of rehearsals, he’ll decide if he wants to do the play or not. Cycling with Molière is a thoroughly enjoyable film which cleverly echoes the themes of Molière’s classic text, while offering wonderful insights into the work of an actor.
Audience award Sarasota Film Festival 2014×
Sunday 19th October/ 8.00pm
In order to escape from the squalid barrio in which they live, young Guatemalan teens Juan, Sara and Samuel make the decision to attempt the 1,200 mile-long arduous border crossing into “The Golden Cage”, i.e. USA, via Mexico in search of a better life. In order to blend in with the group and protect herself from the harm a woman can suffer on the journey, Sara initially disguises herself as a boy named Oswaldo. Not long after their departure, the group encounter Chauk, a Tzotzil Indian who speaks virtually no Spanish. Despite Juan’s fervent and passionate opposition, Sara insists they allow Chauk to join the gang. A harsh road follows as the four children show inspiring bravery in the face of relentless danger and obstacles, both natural and manmade. All the while, they risk arrest, deportation and death. From the first frame to the last hopeless moment, this is a heart-wrenching story of hope, friendship, survival, love and desperation, and a profound homage to the treacherous journey thousands of immigrants undertake each year.
A Winner in Un Certain Regard: Cannes Film Festival 2013
Winner - Audience Award - Thessaloniki Film Festival 2013×
Sunday 2nd November / 8.00pm
Adapted from David Ives’ 2010 Tony Award-winning play of the same name, the latest film from Roman Polanski follows Thomas (Matthieu Almaric), a theater director staging an adaptation from the Leopold von Sacher-Masoch novel. Frustrated by the quality of actresses he has auditioned, Thomas is about to give up, when mysterious Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) arrives in his theater unannounced, knowing every line by heart. As the two begin a fevered, intense, and at times aggressive collaboration, the lines between passion and obsession (and theater and reality), begin to blur. Though originally designed for the stage, master filmmaker Polanski transforms this tense theatrical drama into a piece of pure cinema in the way that only he can. Emmanuelle Seigner engulfs the screen with a comic performance that does full justice to a demanding role. This playful and literate rumination on the fine line between passion and perversity, pleasure and pain, life and art is “ Polanski’s most enjoyable film for sometime”( Sight & Sound).
Won a number of awards including the César awards,France, 2014, Best Director×
Sunday 9th November / 8.00pm
Lim Jiale is a very naughty ten-year-old in 1990s Singapore. He’s intelligent, though given to fits of violent temper and alarmingly antisocial behaviour. His parents are typically struggling middle-class Chinesespeaking Singaporeans who seem on the verge of slipping out of their middle-class status. Jiale’s father, sweet but rather weak and ineffectual, loses his sales job, and lacks the courage to tell his family. Jiale’s mother, Leng, is pregnant: she’s relatively tough and capable, though the shipping company she works for is also downsizing. To help handle Jiale, the Lims hire a Filipina maid, Terry. Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo is a richly humane, consistently absorbing independent film from Singapore.
Winner of the prestigious Camera d’Or prize for best first film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, it glows with warmth, humour, and compassion.
Won Camera D’Or, Best First Feature, Cannes Film Fest. 2013×
Sunday 16th November / 8.00pm
Anna, an orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to take her vows when she’s sent to visit Wanda, her aunt and only living relative. A cynical, hard-drinking Communist Party judge, Wanda reveals that Anna’s real name is Ida and that her parents were Jews murdered during the Nazi occupation. So the two embark on an unusual journey through the wintry countryside to unearth their family’s dark history. An astonishing work, both graceful and haunting, the film’s beautiful black-and-white imagery is so artfully composed that every frame belongs in an exhibition. The setting—a somber, 1960s Poland—suggests an austere combination of Catholicism, Communism, and the Holocaust, but Ida is vibrant and intimate, a subtle portrait of two fascinating, contrasting women: the sheltered Ida, who is exploring her faith, and Wanda, who—having seen the worst of humanity—has no faith left.
Winner Best Film London Film Fetival 2013×
Sunday 30th November / 8.00pm
Straight from Cannes, the new film from the Dardenne brothers (Kid on a Bike) stars Marion Cotillard as a woman who has one weekend to convince her colleagues to sacrifice their bonuses so she can keep her job. While she’s been away, they have realised that the work can be achieved without her, so now they’re proposing to fire Sandra and make everyone else work that bit harder, with a 1,000-euro bonus as a sweetener. Desperately, Sandra forces her duplicitous staff rep Jean-Marc (a cameo from Dardenne regular Olivier Gourmet) to institute a vote – do they want their bonus or their colleague Sandra? A tense dramatic situation and a subtly magnificent central performance from Marion Cotillard add up to an outstanding new movie from the Dardenne brothers: impassioned, exciting and moving.
“Cotillard shows what a marvellous technical actor she is: every nuance and detail is readably present on her face. She is compelling and moving – and so is the film.” Peter Bradshaw / The Guardian.×