We’re past the halfway mark in this year’s SUBTITLE European Film Festival and things are really ramping up a gear.
Lunchtime screenings get underway today from 1pm and there’s a total of nine movies on offer between lunchtime and tonight in Kilkenny. Tickets are available in advance via subtitlefest.com or through the box office on John Street.
Here’s a look at what’s screening for Thursday.
Cleere’s, 1pm, €5
This film is based on the incredible true story of Guolaugur Frioþórsson, the sole survivor of a fishing accident in 1984 off the south coast of Iceland. Frioþórsson swam for over 5 hours in freezing cold waters, but bizarrely only showed mild symptoms of hypothermia, when he finally reached a hospital. His remarkable survival and exceptional physiology provides the context for a film which pits human feelings of loneliness and guilt against the world wide fame, which he attracted. Director Baltasar Kormákur draws out a beautifully understated performance from his leading man (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) and the cinematography is stunning; there is one scene in the film that is so full of danger, it is worth the price of admission alone. Icelandic entry for the 2013 Foreign Language Oscar.
Me, Myself and Mum
Cinemobile, 3pm, €5
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.
Cleere’s, 3pm, €5
SUBTITLE regulars will recognize Polish actor Jakub Gierszał in a key role in this superb multi-story picture, which explores the ideas of identity and guilt (both individual and collective) and how it affects the different generations in modern Germany. All the leading characters find it difficult to be themselves and to admit who they are and what they want. And it is fascinating to see how this sophisticated screenplay links their stories together. Punctuated with plenty of comedy, it is a film delivered with real flair and intelligence from first-time fiction director Frauke Finsterwalder. Beautifully photographed too with an outstanding ensemble cast.
Cleere’s, 6.15pm, €8
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.
Three Many Weddings
Set Theatre, 7pm, €8
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.
*** Warning: Contains Explicit Sexual Content / NSFW ***
Cinemobile, 7pm, €10
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.
Cleere’s, 8.30pm, €8
We are re-showing this film because the feedback on it last year was terrific. We are also delighted to say that one of the leading actors (Lubov Novikova) will be in Kilkenny this year, so there’s another reason! In the film, a young writer brings a collection of short stories to a big publishing house in Moscow. The manuscript contains four stories and the lives of each of the four readers who encounters them are mysteriously changed. The situations range from realistic to absurd to thrilling to create a rich portrait of life in contemporary Russia and showcase the thoughts, feelings and ambitions of people who live there.
Set Theatre, 9pm, €8
Such was the word of mouth on this film at last year’s festival, that many punters couldn’t get into the final screening and so it’s back by popular demand. And no surprise at all here. It is a fabulously funny comedy from France that plays brilliantly with stereotypes around race, unemployment and disability. It features outstanding performances from both Omar Sy and François Cluzet and it picked up 7 César nominations. Any comedy that grosses $445 million worldwide must be doing something right. If you missed it last year, or during its theatrical release, then give yourself a treat and head along. We have a feeling that a few will be back for a second look…
Cinemobile, 9.30pm, €10
Pawel Pawlikowski has directed a masterpiece with Ida and for those of you who haven’t seen it in the cinemas, this is one of the must-see films at the festival. A young nun in 1960’s Poland is on the brink of taking her vows when she discovers a troubling family secret at the time of Nazi occupation. It prompts her to take a journey, opening up a new world to her that challenges her strongly-held beliefs and values. Two outstanding performances dominate this film: Agata Trzebuchowska (‘Anna’) and Agata Kulesza (‘Wanda’). Frame for frame, this is truly great filmmaking.