Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015 – A Preview

The 13th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival kicks off on March 19th with Mary McGuckian’s The Price of Desire, starring Orla Brady as Irish modernist designer Eileen Gray, and ends on March 29th with The Sound of Music, with Julie Andrews in attendance for this 50th anniversary gala screening. In the intervening days nearly 140 films will have been screened. The full programme goes online at 7pm tonight, and booking opens at 7.30pm. If it seems impossible to figure out from a standing start what to see in those 30 minutes, fear not, here is HeadStuff’s guide for the perplexed.

Special Guests

Ryan O'Neal JDIFF - HeadStuff.org
Ryan O’Neal

A 40th anniversary screening of Stanley Kubrick’s period romp Barry Lyndon in the Savoy on Saturday 21st will be attended by star Ryan O’Neal and producer Jan Harlan. They will be interviewed afterwards by Frank director Lenny Abrahamson. If any two films are likely to cripple the website with massive demand the instant booking opens it’s that cineaste’s dream line-up and the beloved film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. O’Neal will also be on hand for a Q&A with Festival Director Grainne Humphreys after a screening of his 1972 screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc?

Three actor/directors will bring their latest directorial works to the Festival. Kenneth Branagh, like Julie Andrews, will be receiving the Festival’s Volta award. He will be presenting his latest blockbuster, Cinderella, starring Lily James, with Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother, in the Savoy at 6.30pm on Saturday 21st. Alan Rickman will present A Little Chaos in Cineworld at 6.15pm on Saturday 28th. His gorgeously shot period drama sees Kate Winslet as a landscape designer employed by Matthias Schoenaerts to work on the gardens of Versailles for Rickman’s exacting Louis XIV. Russell Crowe returns to the Savoy at 7.30pm on Friday 20th for The Water Diviner, his first film as director. Crowe also takes the lead role, as an Australian farmer who travels to Gallipoli in 1919 to search for his soldier sons, missing since the disastrous assault on the peninsula.

Cineworld plays host at 9pm on Friday 27th to American Horror Story villain Danny Huston, who is joined by director Ron Scalpello and writers James Warren and Alan McKenna for a screening of their suspense thriller Pressure, which sees Huston and Matthew Goode trapped in a deep-sea pod after an accident. Movies at Dundrum meanwhile will welcome Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall at 6.30pm on Thursday 26th for a screening of episodes of her new satirical Canadian TV show Sensitive Skin, which sees her and Don McKellar move to downtown Toronto to reclaim their lost youth and edginess.

Irish Interest

Orla Brady The Price of Desire JDIFF - HeadStuff.org
Orla Brady

Stars Orla Brady and Vincent Perez will be in attendance at the opening gala of The Price of Desire in the Savoy at 8.15pm on Thursday 19th. Perez plays Le Corbussier, arrogantly attempting to minimise the contribution of Brady’s Eileen Gray to a landmark piece of modernist architecture. Director Gerard Barrett and star Jack Reynor, fresh from Sundance plaudits, will present Glassland in the Light House at 6.30pm on Friday 27th. In a dark drama from the writer/director of Pilgrim Hill Toni Collette’s alcoholism pushes her taxi-driver son, Reynor, into a dangerous clash with the Dublin criminal underworld.

Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham lets rip as a mysterious stranger pitted against the forces of law and order in Brian O’Malley’s tense Let Us Prey. Playing appropriately late at 10.40pm on Friday 27th in the Light House, this has been described as a supernatural Assault on Precinct 13. Stitches director Conor McMahon ditches the laughs to also go for the horror jugular with From the Dark in the Light House at 8.30pm on Saturday 21st. A young couple are stranded in a remote farmhouse, and terrorised by someone outside. Or, as the dread rises, should that be something?

Love/Hate actor Robert Sheehan will be attending a screening of his new film The Road Within in Cineworld at 8.45 on Sunday 22nd. In this odd tale an institutionalised Sheehan escapes with fellow patient Zoe Kravitz to go scatter his mother’s ashes. Sheehan will also participate in the Actors in Conversation event, part of this year’s Screen Test programme. Vivienne De Courcy’s colourful rom-com Dare to be Wild screens at 8.30pm in the Light House on Thursday 26th. Emma Greenwell stars as landscape gardener Mary Reynolds in her real-life quest to design a winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Reel to Reel

Eugene Cernan: Last Man on the Moon - HeadStuff.org
Eugene Cernan: Last Man on the Moon

The Festival’s documentary strand is as exciting as always. The Last Man On The Moon is the story of Eugene Cernan, the only man to walk on the moon twice. Its spectacular footage will be on the Savoy’s biggest screen at 2.00pm on Sunday 29th, with directors Gareth Dodds and Mark Craig interviewed afterwards. Closer to home, Eat Your Children, on the Screen at 2.00pm on Sunday 22nd, is a polemic about the muted public response to the bailout here, which will be followed by a public interview with Treasa O’Brien. Politics also feature in Red Army and The Decent One. Red Army entertainingly explores those other 1980s sporting titans, the USSR ice hockey team. The Decent One intimately recreates the life of a German family, through the letters they all exchanged. But it’s Heinrich Himmler’s family.

Tying in with Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini’s masterclass, and Leo Davis and Margery Simkin discussion of casting in the Teachers Club at 2.00pm on Saturday 28th, there are some revealing documentaries about cinema. My Life Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn in the Light House at 6.00pm on Friday 20th sees Refn’s agonising struggles while directing Only God Forgives documented by his wife. Another articulate practitioner of the extreme is centre stage in Bertolucci on Bertolucci. Directors Luca Guadagnino and Walter Fasano will be in The Screen at 6.45pm on Friday 27th to discuss their extraordinary curating of Bertolucci’s public interviews.

Out of the Past

King Vidor's The Crowd - HeadStuff.org
King Vidor’s The Crowd

No Festival is complete without some rare chances to see an obscure classic on the big screen. King Vidor’s 1928 silent movie The Crowd is a portrait of urban alienation and ennui, whose influence can be seen in Orson Welles’ disorienting presentation of a vast office space in his 1963 film The Trial. Stephen Horne will provide a live accompaniment to its screening in the Light House at 8.15pm on Sunday 22nd. Jean-Francois Rauger, director of Paris’ Cinematheque, will be in the Screen at 8.00pm on Saturday 21st to present Jean Renoir’s Partie de Campagne, a bittersweet classic based on Guy de Maupassant’s short story of pastoral romance. Before everyone got obsessed with making films about how Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood director Richard Brooks simply filmed the book. Scott Wilson and Robert Blake are the killers in rural America, and Conrad Hall’s stark black and white cinematography features one of his happiest visual accidents.

All the World

Pedro Costa - HeadStuff.org
Pedro Costa

The Festival aims to complement the world cinema available to Irish audiences by screening films that will not be released here. Pedro Costa is thus a guest of the Festival, introducing his latest film, Horse Money, in the Screen at 6.00pm to expose Irish audiences to his politically engaged film-making. Ukranian film-maker Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s The Tribe is also being screened because, as Festival director Grainne Humphreys noted, it reinvents the way you think about cinema – no subtitles, just sign language, as a young boy is initiated into the brutal gang culture of a school for the deaf.

The resurgence of Polish cinema is represented by, among other films, Hardkor Disko, a visually stylised tale of a serial killer whose motivations remain enigmatic. Its director Krzysztof Skonieczny will do a Q&A after its screening at 6.00pm in the Light House on Thursday 26th. Olivier Assayas follows up the autobiographical Apres Mai, which also screened at the JDIFF with the psychodrama Clouds of Sils Maria. This will be on at 1.00pm in Cineworld on Saturday 28th if you want to check it out for yourself Kristen Stewart’s Cesar-winning supporting turn while Juliette Binoche and Chloe Grace Moretz duel over a play.

Far From Men sees Viggo Mortensen speak French (is there no end to this man’s skills?!) in the latest effort from writer/director David Oelhoffen. Showing in the Savoy at 11.00am on Sunday 29th this thriller sees Viggo’s schoolteacher develop an unusual bond with a dissident in colonial Algeria. Shades of Camus’ Exile and the Kingdom? Force Majeure is a pitch-black Swedish comedy from writer/director Ruben Ostlund that has been hailed by Bret Easton Ellis. If you want to see a man running away when he should be saving the day check this out at 8.15pm in Cineworld on Thursday 26th.

Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams stars as an English schoolgirl in the 1960s whose boarding school outing goes strangely awry in The Falling, a riff on Peter Weir’s classic Picnic at Hanging Rock. Writer/director Carol Morley will discuss the movie at 6.00pm on Saturday 28th in the Light House. Two character actors in top form drive everyone crazy in the final two selections. Jason Schwartzman is an obnoxious writer splitting up with Elisabeth Moss in Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip, showing at 6.30pm in Cineworld on Sunday 22nd. Michael Shannon is a heartless real estate agent who is the Mephistopholes to the Faust of Andrew Garfield’s unemployed contractor in 99 Homes, showing at 8.30 in Cineworld on Friday 20th.

The full programme is available on the festival website jdiff.com with online booking open now.

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