The weekend has landed and Friday at SUBTITLE brings with it another nine movies – yes, nine – that you can catch between 2pm and 11pm or so in Kilkenny today.
With that, here’s a look at the nine movies screening as part of today’s lineup of the 2014 SUBTITLE European Film Festival.
A Royal Affair
Truth About Men’s Nikolaj Arcel is an incredibly talented and versatile Danish director and this lavish historical drama was shortlisted for both a Best Foreign Language Academy Award in 2012 and a Golden Globe to boot. It features wonderful performances from Danish hero, Mads Mikkelsen, together with rising star Alicia Vikander (Pure) and newcomer Mikkel Følsgaard, who won Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival for his portrayal of King Christian VII. This film is a treat for the eyes and ears and is highly recommended for anyone who missed it in the cinema.
Two Days, One Night
Set Theatre, 5pm
Belgium’s most celebrated filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne unite with France’s biggest film star, Marion Cotillard, in this exceptionally powerful drama. Cotillard plays a worker who faces the axe from her job so that her colleagues can benefit from the extra savings and she has precisely two days to change their minds. But of course, as with all the best dramas, there are stark, difficult and morally complex choices at play as the film plays out its dilemmas with all the intensity of a modern day thriller. Cotillard is on record as saying how much she wanted to work with the Dardenne brothers and she has responded in some style with an extraordinary performance in the central role of Sandra.
This is a crafted family drama cum thriller, which won Best Picture at the Berlin Film Festival last year and features an absolutely brilliant central performance from Luminita Gheorghiu. In the picture, Gheorghiu plays an upper class Romanian who attempts to shield her son from the physical and psychological impact of manslaughter charges in a recent car accident; their already uneasy relationship and the accident’s impact on it is beautifully teased out by director Calin Peter Netzer who shows real versatility and understanding in his approach to the material. SUBTITLE regular Vlad Ivanov also shows up in a disarmingly treacherous cameo, which further demonstrates what a fine actor he is. Highly recommended.
Me, Myself and Mum
Comédie-Française wunderkind Guillaume Gallienne writes, stars in and directs this huge French huge hit comedy based on a successful stage show of the same name. A crowd-pleaser embracing issues of family friction and confused sexuality (not to mention love-hate relationships with mothers), this was a huge success at the French box office, grossing €45m. As a child Guillaume discovers his passion to become an actor, and his diligence and pursuit of his craft leads everyone around him to label him as clearly gay – except for Guillaume himself, which allows for a wonderful twist as the film bounces towards its dénouement. Film also features a brilliantly funny turn from German star, Diane Kruger.
Set Theatre, 6.45pm
The most watched film in Denmark in 2010 with close to one million admissions, the Danes refer to the humour in Klown as ‘uncomfortable’, whereas the more popular description would be ‘offensive’, ‘politically incorrect’, ‘gross’ or ‘badass’. Take your pick. It is however, very funny and not surprisingly has been bought by multiple territories for re-make. Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen’s comic talents are on full glorious display in this picture, which chases down taboo after taboo. The basic plot revolves around Frank grudgingly taking his young, shy nephew on a canoeing trip to prove to his girlfriend that he can be a responsible dad. The series of disasters that follow are superbly scripted and realised with excellent production values — all that you would expect from a Zentropa-produced film. Badass funny.
*** Warning: Contains Explicit Sexual Content / NSFW ***
This is one of the most raw, disturbing and compelling dramas you could imagine. Winner of the Grand Prix in Cannes this year, The Tribe is set in an institution for young deaf offenders, and the film opens with a new arrival on his first day. However, there are no words or subtitles throughout the film; it is an extraordinary and quite brilliant conceit as it shows how much of our communication is elemental. It opens the mind because the ears aren’t working. Masterfully directed by Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, this is a not a film for the faint-hearted, and there are several scenes that will never leave you; but it is outstanding original cinema, dealing with big, everyday issues, universal in too many countries. A remarkable picture.
Three Many Weddings
Spain’s biggest box office hit of 2013, this is a full-on comedy romp with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Imna Cuesta (Cousinhood) plays lab technician, Ruth who, after being dumped by her most recent boyfriend, is invited to three weddings of ex-boyfriends. Ruth is determined to turn up, but not alone and to that end she brings new intern (hunky Martiño Rivas) as her partner. Each of the weddings brings its own set of outrageous challenges, forcing Ruth to figure out what kind of life partner she really wants. Cuesta really shines in her first comedy role.
*Note that the trailer below contains nudity, discretion advised*
This comedy drama was a surprise breakout hit for filmmakers Natasha Merkulova and Alexey Chupov. It is also blessed with outstanding, hypnotic performances from some of Russia’s most respected actors including Yuri Kolokolnikov (attending SUBTITLE and can also be seen in Game of Thrones) and Yulia Aug. The film is a sexual melodrama of dark secrets, that – at its root – seeks to show how similar we humans really are, full of the same motivations and cravings, whatever our class. Cleverly set off by a free-wheeling photographer (Kolokolnikov), it is a frank and provocative film, that happens to be from Russia, but in truth could come from any country, such is the universality of its message.
Knock-out performances and a very clever screenplay define this multi-story film from Sweden. An aspiring writer obsessed with darkness and light; an uptight single mother unable to adopt; a game developer learning Japanese for his big break; and a noisy relationship break-up are the overlapping ingredients here in a film of dark secrets, political duplicity and intricate life lessons in the world of art and commerce. Humour is peppered throughout and it is set in cold, dark November. What more could you need?