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Screenings for Day 2 of the 2014 SUBTITLE European Film Festival get underway in Kilkenny this evening from 5.30pm and here’s a look at what you can catch, and when.

Populaire

Set Theatre, 5.30pm

Grossing more than $20M, this is a wonderfully stylish French romantic comedy set in the late ’50s. A useless secretary (Déborah François) is given the chance to hold on to her job by her handsome boss (Romain Duris) if she follows a strict regime of learning to speed type; in fact he wants her to become the fastest typist in the world. Of course, romance blossoms as she sets about her task with the inevitable series of setbacks and challenges. Director Régis Roinsard evidently knows his film history and produced a beautiful picture full of fun, charm and charisma. Movie buffs or those just looking for a night of escapism will be equally rewarded with this gem.

Traffic Department

Cleere’s, 7.30pm

This film was Poland’s biggest box office hit of 2013 as writer/director Wojciech Smarzowski superbly depicts a police department whose culture is dominated by bribery, sexism, corruption and personal favours. Resonances abound. But of course what makes this drama stand out is not simply the raw anger at play, but the terrific portrayal of fully developed characters, many of whom are confronted with complex moral dilemmas. The cast boasts some of Poland’s heavyweights (including Marcin Dorocinski who will be in Kilkenny) and the film has received worldwide acclaim.

A Coffee In Berlin

Set Theatre, 8pm

This is an absolute gem of a satire / comedy / tragicomedy from first-time German director Jan Ole Gerster. Tom Schilling plays the role of Nico Fischer, a college drop-out, trudging the streets of Berlin open to any kind of distraction which might help him put off confronting big life issues that follow adolescence. On the evidence of this film, some critics have likened Gerster to a young Woody Allen; but it is the hapless, unselfconscious quality of his hero, together with the gentle way he develops his satire, which marks him out as a unique voice. Schilling is a superb actor, instantly empathetic and not surprisingly this performance won him a hatful of awards. Picture is in black and white and the 88 minutes slides by as slyly as the film itself. Highly recommended.

Intimate Parts

*Note that the trailer below contains nudity, discretion advised*

Cleere’s, 9.45pm. Warning: contains explicit sexual content

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.

Check out the SUBTITLE programme in full here.