Thursday, September 30, 2010

Education programme launched

Autumn’s definitely upon us and that means the start of our schools’ programme here at IFI. Our programme launch was last night, with the now annual tradition of a free film preview and glass of wine - much welcomed by teachers and friends on a recession-laden Wednesday. The programme (which should be landing in some 3000 school pigeon-holes around the country today) includes some great contemporary titles for Transition Year Film – Lebanon, Good Hair, Inception, Nowhere Boy and Banksy’s debut, Exit through the Gift Shop. Touring for French language students we have the great Persepolis (the graphic novel based film) with a studyguide and John Rabe for German. Primary pupils get a chance of a sneak preview of Ramona and Beezus and there’s also a tour of 32A, the new Irish title for Leaving Cert. English Comparative Study. Oh, and we’ve Ken Wardrop too in a one-off showing of His & Hers for schools with a chance for students to grill Ken on his filmmaking. No better person to take on a packed cinema of teens!

The launch night film was Made in Dagenham, starring Sally Hawkins and some of Britain's best actors in a story about a group of women working at Ford in Dagenham who strike for equal pay and conditions. Miranda Richardson is marvellous as feisty red-headed MP Barbara Castle who takes up the striking Ford workers’ demands for equal pay (and there’s some fabulous late 60s fashion from Mary Quant and Biba if you’re not interested in the politics!)

One thing definitely in the air last night was the pressure teachers are working under with budget restrictions and the rest. It’s ever-harder to get out of schools these days, get cover and make space in packed schedules for film. This just makes us all-the-more determined to make our programme as relevant and stimulating as possible. With our research project, Film Focus, entering the third phase of pilot projects, we hope that the outcomes of this next year will go some way to ensuring the place for film, visual literacy and moving image in school curricula. If you teach or know anyone in teaching who’d like more info on our programme, don’t hesitate to call Dee or Baz at IFI Education on 01 679 5744.

Here’s to a great term.

Alicia McGivern
Head of Education

Tony Curtis passes away

The news has just broken that Tony Curtis has passed away. Jamie Lee Curtis' rep confirmed the news to ET but no further details are currently known. Tony was due to visit the IFI for a short season of his work back in June of this year, but sadly had to cancel.

Born in the Bronx during the Great Depression, Bernard Schwartz overcame a traumatic, poverty-stricken childhood – as documented in the great show-biz autobiography American Prince – to become Hollywood legend Tony Curtis, enjoying a rather colourful life both on and off screen. Since his first notable appearance as a gigolo in Robert Sidomak’s Criss Cross (1949), Curtis notched up more than a hundred screen credits, amongst them iconic classics Sweet Smell of Success, Spartacus, The Defiant Ones (for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1957) and Billy Wilder’s immortal Some Like It Hot. He had been directed by everyone from Carol Reed and Stanley Kubrick to Nicolas Roeg and Quentin Tarantino.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gaspar Noé and 'Enter The Void'

Misogynist, pornographer, homophobe, cruel, racist, depraved . . . the list of pejorative terms hurled at Argentine-French filmmaker Gaspar Noé has lengthened with the release of each of his films. After all, here is a director whose first widely-seen film, Carne (1991), opened with a graphic abattoir sequence of a horse being slaughtered and the carcass stripped for meat. This was followed by Seul contre tous (I Stand Alone) (1998), which expanded on the world of the earlier film’s central character, the nameless Butcher unforgettably portrayed by Philippe Nahon, whose rage against the state of his life and of French society encompasses incest with his daughter and assaulting a pregnant woman. As if Noé hadn’t given his critics enough ammunition, his next film, Irréversible (2002), featured a horrific murder and an infamous nine-minute, single-take rape scene before the film had reached its halfway mark. As a result of his approach, Noé has been tagged as part of the New French Extremism, a movement of transgressive cinema which also includes directors such as François Ozon, Catherine Breillat and Marina de Van — interesting filmmakers all, each of whom deserves better than to pigeonholed in such a way.

However, to take the easy option and simply accept either Noé’s detractors or out-of-context descriptions of scenes from his films at face value is to do a huge disservice to a truly fascinating director. One of the keys to understanding Noé’s approach is provided by the work of his father, the artist and intellectual Luis Felipe Noé, part of the 1960s Buenos Aires Otra Figuración movement. Hallmarks of the movement included the use of vivid colours, political content and an extreme sense of kinesis, attributes Noé fils has incorporated into his own work. Also telling is a comment attributed to Noé pére: “I believe in chaos as a value.”

There is certainly also an element of the professional provocateur to Gaspar Noé; he has never denied his attempts at manipulating audience emotion, whether it be a thirty second warning to audiences to leave the cinema in fear of what is about to happen (Seul contre tous), or sound design incorporating frequencies guaranteed to cause uneasy discomfort in the viewer (Irréversible), but this is best seen as following in the tradition of  the showmanship and sly playfulness of Hitchcock, while his softly-spoken insistence on being ‘normal’ is positively Lynchian. The ostentatious gimmickry and overtly confrontational nature of his previous work gives rise to parallels with films such as Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (1997), but while Haneke is lauded for his intellectual austerity, Noé is unfairly demonised. Each of Noé’s films has been a huge leap forward in style, tone and content, and with Enter the Void he has created an unforgettable masterpiece — a film that’s remarkable in its ambition, scope, style and beauty.

Inspired by a viewing over twenty years ago of Robert Montgomery’s Lady in the Lake (1947), a film shot entirely from the point of view of the main character and which the director watched under the influence of psilocybin, Enter the Void has obviously long been a cherished project of Noé’s. Interviews at the time of Irréversible find him mentioning that that film had only been made due to a delay in “the pre-production stage of another movie I wanted to shoot in Tokyo, about a drug dealer,” while in recent interviews he has discussed how the balletic, sweeping camera movements of Irréversible were trial runs for the amazingly complex camerawork of the new film. Indeed, Irréversible may eventually be seen as a key film of transition in Noé’s body of work, as Enter the Void not only refines the shooting style of the former but also represents a significant maturing of the contemplative and tender nature of that film’s latter half, with none of the shock tactics of his earlier films. Noé’s psychedelic exploration of the afterlife (for which Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was also a key influence) and the bonds of love that bind us veers away from traditional narrative structures and instead places us at the very centre of a warm yet unforgiving examination of consciousness and existence.

Enter the Void was first shown in a rough cut at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, with a length of 163 minutes. Following almost a year of post-production and extensive editing, including the excision of a complete reel, the version showing at the IFI has a running time of 137 minutes.

View the trailer here.

Kevin Coyne

Open House, Open Archive

If you've ever wondered what goes on in the IFI Irish Film Archive, you might be interested in our new series of public tours. Starting on the 9th of October, as part of the Irish Architectural Foundation's Open House event and continuing in November and December, we are giving members of the public the opportunity to see what goes on behind closed doors. We've been trying to increase awareness of the important work the Archive does and raise its profile within the IFI building. You may have noticed our Archive exhibitions in the IFI foyer and outside Cinema 3 which we hope will remind people that the IFI is much more than just a Cinema and Café Bar; it's a dynamic cultural institute with a range of important education and archive activities going on behind the scenes.

In addition to the Archive tour as part of Open House, O'Donnell and Tuomey (the architects responsible for the initial design of the IFI and also the recent redevelopment) will  be giving tours of the main IFI building. Special screenings from the Archive’s collections will take place in the IFI’s new Cinema 3 and feature Gael Linn’s Amharc Eireann newsreel footage of the Abbey Theatre and Liberty Hall under construction, as well as of other buildings in this year’s Open House Dublin. All tours and screenings are free but tours must be booked in advance. To book your place on the Archive tour email

For more information on Open House, please visit

Kasandra O'Connell
Head of IFI Irish Film Archive

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Busy Days at IFI

We're in the middle of yet another busy spell at the IFI.

We've just sent the October programme to print which promises some great new releases, and also contains information on Darklight 2010, Civility in Crisis (our Polish Season in collaboration with the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival), a four week evening course, a preview of an award-winning film with a very special guest, and a host of other events. Full details will be announced on September 29th.

To top it all off, we've also included a taster of some of the titles in this year's Horrorthon (October 21-25) which promises to send shivers down the most hardened of spines. The full Horrorthon programme is being kept closely under wraps, but we will be presenting it shortly. (Don't forget to look out for a separate flyer on the Festival to get all the gory details!)

This week we have the usual comings and goings. If you haven't managed to catch the wonderful, restored version of Metropolis (which received five star reviews across the board) catch it before it finishes this Thursday (Sept 23rd). Also finishing on Thursday is Certified Copy which stars Juliette Binoche in the role that bagged her a Best Actress Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Having said goodbye to these two films, it opens the way for a few new (and familiar) faces. Opening Friday (Sept 24) we have the wonderful classic From Here to Eternity (remind yourself of what's in store by viewing the trailer) and Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void (watch the trailer). If you fancy something FREE, we're participating in Culture Night by offering a screening of Into The West from the IFI Irish Film Archive at 18.50 this Friday. You can get your tickets by calling the box office on 01 679 3477 or calling into the IFI.

Not being content with getting the October programme off to print, we've also polished off the IFI Education Autumn/Winter Programme which provides full details of the school screenings taking place at the IFI and nationwide from October through to January. The details will be announced on September 29th but if you want to recieve a copy of the programme, contact our Education department on 01 679 5744 or

And finally, if you're in the mood for rebellion, we have the perfect weekend lined up for you. Starting on Saturady, Before the Revolution is a special season of films curated by Enrique Juncosa offering a selection of titles that mark the social change and poltical activism of the 1960s which culminated in the events of May 1968. Screenings include Antonioni's Blow Up, Godard's Week-End and Bertolucci's Partner

We hope you enjoy all we have in store!

Ross Keane
Head of Marketing & Communications

Friday, September 17, 2010

IFI on Tubridy

Quite a busy end to the week for the IFI. In addition to our participation in the Action Day for the National Campaign for the Arts, I had the pleasure of chatting to Ryan Tubridy on his show this morning about the work of the IFI Irish Film Archive. I first met Ryan when he was in looking at film footage of JFK while researching his soon-to-be-published book. He came into the Archive to watch material from our collections and was particularly taken with a home movie shot by Irish-American Ed White that showed the young Senator Kennedy marching in a St Patrick's Day parade in Massachusetts in 1956. For him it proved that JFK was genuinely interested in (and celebrated) his Irish heritage.

Following on from his enthusiastic reaction to our collections, we asked Ryan to introduce our Home Movie Heritage Day which was part of Heritage Week. It was the first event of its kind in Ireland and  marked the end of a project that we had undertaken in conjunction with UCC that concentrated on the amateur film collections held at the IFI. The project was funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences and allowed us to spend the last year viewing, cataloguing and digitising non-professional films in our collections; footage that often had been unviewed until this project came about. In addition to the features, newsreels and documentaries, you might expect to find in a national moving image archive, the IFI Irish Film Archive has a large and incredibly rich collection of amateur-made films. Ireland doesn’t have as rich a history of indigenous professional production as other western countries, which makes these non-professional representations all the more significant. This material gives us an alternative view of Ireland; one that reflects the personal interests of members of the population which are often are the only record of a specific event, place or particular aspect of history, culture and society.  Over time these films can grow in value and meaning - a film of a family or local event may now be a fascinating record of a custom that has died out or of a landscape that has altered beyond recognition, even though this information was incidental to the filmmakers at intention at the time of filming.

Ryan, who is a history buff, was enthusiastic about the importance of these personal records and the need to preserve them, and mentioned that he would like to do a slot about the project on his radio show. True to his word he invited Michael Coyne and me onto the show this morning to talk about the IFI Irish Film Archive and the significance of amateur films as a historical record. Michael, an Irishman who emigrated to America in 1962, donated one of the most fascinating collections we hold -  8mm films he took in Vietnam from the back of his tank when operating as a rear gunner on a M48 tank in mid-1967. The footage is exceptional and gives an insight into his experiences along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Ryan was really fascinated by Michael's experiences and the fact that he had been able to record them for posterity and that they are now being preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive.

Hopefully the interview helped to draw attention to the work of the Archive and the collections we hold, and encourage other amateur filmmakers, like Michael, to contact us about their hidden film treasures.

If you'd like to hear the piece click here.

Kasandra O'Connell
Head of IFI Irish Film Archive

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One more day until the NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION!

Friday September 17th is the National Day of Action and it is not too late to get involved.

Over half the TDs in the Dail, including the Taoiseach, will be meeting representatives of the National Campaign for the Arts, and events will be taking place throughout the country.

The National Campaign for the Arts is working hard to remind our politicians and the public of the important role that the arts play in our economy, reputation and daily life. On a basic economic level further cuts make no sense - the arts generate more for the economy than they cost to fund. Beyond that they challenge, stimulate, transport, entertain and inspire us, all things that are essential within society. The large numbers of people who come and see our films and who visit other arts organisations throughout the country are testament to a widespread desire to experience something unique that feeds the imagination - for many this is a necessity not a luxury and something that is central to their experience of contemporary Ireland. 

If you like us believe that the arts are fundamental to our society then get involved tomorrow. Email your TDs to let them know you support the arts. When you vist the NCFA website you simply choose your constituency and it automatically sends an email to all your TDs. It takes 30 seconds tops! You can also sign one of the postcards in the IFI the next time you are in, and for the more adventurous, join the IFI staff and many others at the dance flash mob event - 12.45 Merrion Square (there will be time to learn the steps or you can learn by watching the video!).

Every voice raised in support of the arts really does makes a difference, so please do join the IFI in supporting the National Campaign for the Arts.

Sarah Glennie

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

European Film Treasures web success

Providing access to our collections is really important for us at the IFI Irish film Archive, and we are always delighted with the positive response we get from the public to our screenings, DVD releases and special events. However we are blown away by the online reaction to our contribution to the Europa Film Treasures website. Since it was uploaded last, our film Once Upon a Tram has been viewed 15,500 times.

In 2009 the Irish Film Archive was asked, along with 37 other film archives, to contribute to the European film Treasures project which aims to encourage European citizens to discover their shared European cinematographic heritage  The project is the brain-child of Serge Bromberg, founder of Paris-based historic film and restoration specialist Lobster Films. Serge had long been aware of the meticulous work being undertaken by film archives throughout Europe and of the difficulties that existed in making this work known to a wider public. He  felt that an online project would give film archives a democratic way to highlight their collections and raise awareness of their work in an international context.

The IFI Irish Film Archive selected a film we had recently restored (Once Upon a Tram) for inclusion on the Europa Film Treasures website. It was made by John Sarsfield and the late James Maguire between 1958 and 1959, and produced under the name Leinster Studios. Once Upon a Tram looks at one of the last journeys of the Howth Tram and is a record of an elegant and leisurely form of transport of a by-gone era. The film was made with the realisation that trams were about to become a thing of the past in Dublin, with the opening scenes of the film featuring shots of tram lines in Dublin’s city centre being dug up. Once Upon A Tram focuses on the different people who make use of this mode of transport and is narrated by Cyril Cusack.

We were also pleased to find out that our most recent choice for the website, Tony Bacillus & Co (1946) has been chosen by the Europa Film Treasures project to have a score written and recorded by the prestigious Paris Conservatoire; the film with its new musical score will be online in October. Tony Bacillus is a comical public information film about the threat of tuberculosis in which TB is represented by a menacing puppet, who attempts to infect a little boy puppet by placing various hazards - spitting, coughing and drinking unpasteurised milk - in his path. However, the boy puppet is well versed in disease prevention and T. Bacillus is foiled. This film was part of a series of educational and public information films made by the National Film Institute (now the IFI) in the 1940s and 1950s on behalf of the department of Health.

To see these films visit their website

Kasandra O'Connell
Head of IFI Irish Film Archive

Final blog from Venice 2010...

After eleven days of the Venice Film Festival, it has sadly come to an end. The experience of being on the young filmgoers jury for Venice Days has really had a huge impact on me for so many reasons.

I got to see over thirty films, mostly premieres, in the space of ten days, which is my idea of time well spent. Being in attendance at a film with the cast and crew is such a moving experience, especially when the films are good. I really appreciated the work that had gone into the films when I saw the directors in tears at the end of their films.

Being focused on Venice Days, the sidebar of the festival, I really learned the true importance of festivals. They're not just about the buying and selling of films. Since I was part of the '27 Times Cinema' initiative, debates and discussions were organised with filmmakers and critics, and therefore I had a platform to learn more about the films and the directors' approaches and methods.

On the jury, I had the opportunity to meet a person of my age from each EU state. Having a common favourite film with a Finish girl and Lithuanian guy, and agreeing with all 26 other nations that Somewhere should not have won 'Golden Lion', I realised just how universal cinema is as a medium. I have made twenty six new friends and film contacts all over Europe.

I'd like to thank Europa Cinemas and IFI  for really looking after me and supporting me during this unforgettable experience.

Conall O Duibhir
Member of the Young Cinephiles Jury
Venice Film Festival

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tips from Venice Film Festival...

Here are some film recommendations to look out for in the future.

L'ultimi Gattopardo: Ritratto di Goffredo Lombardo (Giuseppe Tornatore) - Just 55 mins of this film were screened as it is still a work-in-progress. Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso, Baaria) interviews friends and colleges of the screenwriter Goffredo Lombardo (The Leopard). I found that the film lacked any narrative, but since the subject and documentarian are so important to Italian Cinema, when it's finished it could be a really interesting documentary.

Post Mortem (Pablo Larraín) - Unfortunately this film didn't receive any awards, despite being my (and many others) favourite film. It's full of heart-hitting emotion. Even though the film has so little action, so much happens. The final shot is one I'll never forget. A tour de force!

Silent Souls (Aleksei Fedorchenko) - This film received the highest ratings by the press and also won the award for 'Best Cinematography'. I loved it because it's so poetic, but entertaining at the same time.

Incendies (Denis Villeneuve) - This was by far the strongest film in the 'Venice Days' selection and was awarded a special mention by the '27 Times Cinema' jury. If I told you the plot it would sound awful, but the film is dramatic and surprising.

I'm Still Here (Casey Afleck) - Me and my Danish friend were heart-broken when we queued for over an hour for this film and reached the very top of the queue only to be told there were no more seats. But I noticed it will be showing in the IFI soon so I'm sure the hype that was around it in Venice, will reach us in Ireland too. I can't wait to see it.

Martha (Marcelino Islas Hermández) - Imagine the final segment of Paris je t'aime (the one with Margo Martindale, dir: Alexander Payne). Martha is like a feature version only much more subtle and more awkward. You'll either find it really boring or you'll cry your eyes out.

Conall O Duibhir
Member of the Young Cinephiles Jury
Venice Film Festival

I'm Still Here opens at the IFI on October 1st

Friday, September 10, 2010

Metropolis reviews

The astounding reviews of Metropolis just keep coming in. Earlier we told you about the 5 star reviews in The Irish Times, Irish  Independent and Evening Herald. And they've now been joined by a host of other rave reviews...

GUARDIAN – five stars
TELEGRAPH – five stars
DAILY EXPRESS – five stars
INDEPENDENT – five stars
TIMES – five stars
MORNING STAR – five stars
EPOCH TIMES – five stars
SCOTSMAN - Critics Choice
EMPIRE – five stars
THE HERALD – five stars
TIME OUT – five stars
This is definitely one not-to-be-missed!
Ross Keane
Head of Marketing & Communications

Metropolis and a host of new releases...

Today's the day that we've all been waiting for... Metropolis finally opens at the IFI (watch the trailer). With 25 minutes of previously lost footage, this truly is the film find of the century.

We started the month with our two accompanying seasons (the early films of Fritz Lang and a season of science fiction classics that were influenced by Metropolis) and now we finally get to put the main attraction back on the big screen. Reviews in so far have garnered much praise, with the restored version boasting five star reviews from The Irish Times (read it here), Irish Independent and Evening Herald. And we're sure there are more to come. Not only have the critics been loving it, but advance sales have been so great that we've already had to swap some screenings into our larger cinemas to accommodate the demand.

If seeing Metropolis only whets your appetite for more Lang and sci-fi, this weekend will also see screenings of Lang's earlier film Woman in the Moon and the sci-fi classic Dark City.

Also opening today we have two other new releases. Tamara Drewe didn't show in competition at Cannes this year, but it was still one of the most talked-about films at the Festival and considered to be "by far the funniest" (watch the trailer).  Ciaran Carty had a great interview with director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liasions, The Grifters) in The Sunday Tribune which you can read here. In a similar fashion to Tamara Drewe, Cyrus (which also opens today) was a huge hit at Locarno but also shown out of competition. Another great comedy, its stars John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener and Marisa Tomei. You can watch the trailer here.

And if all that wasn't enough for you, this weekend we also have our Ireland on Sunday screening of Seaside Stories from writer/director Fergus Tighe which tells the tale of an 11-year-old boy whose life takes a turn for the worse when his mother takes to the drink again...

We hope you enjoy a busy weekend at the IFI! For more information, please visit

Ross Keane
Head of Marketing & Communications


Thursday, September 9, 2010

More from the Venice Film Festival...

Venice Film Festival is moving along swiftly and we're already over half way there. However, it still isn't ceasing to amaze me. And I'm talking about the festival in general not just the films. Before I go any further, I must apologise for the repeated reference to Quentin Tarantino below. (I'm in no way a fan, but he is the head of this year's Venice jury and therefore here he is God!)

A few days ago I saw the Chilean film Post Mortem (Pablo Larrain). I was one of the last people let in from the long queue and the only remaining seats were the front row of the balcony in Sala Grande. These are the best seats in the house! As soon as I'd taken my seat I looked down and saw Mister Tarantino himself. I couldn't help but be bowled over by the event. As it happens this is the best film I've seen here yet. It is a dramatic love story covering every single emotion. Hopefully it will get widely distributed and everyone can see it at the IFI.

Other great films I've seen include Essential Killing by Jerzy Skolimowski, starring Vincent Gallo. This war/ survival film is similar to The Road, but I think the latter is marginally better.

Silent Souls (Aleksei Fedorchenko) was another favourite of mine. It is a Russian film based around death. It is stylishly 'slow' (like any good Russian film) and slightly more avant-garde than many others, so an international release may be less likely.

In the last few hours I saw Balada Triste de Trompeta by Alex de la Iglesia. Huge hype has gathered around this film since it's premiere screening last night, at which "Tarantino laughed harder than anyone else there". It's a Spanish film that could be the next Pan's Labyrinth. It combines Tarantino and Tim Burton's style, but still feels very fresh and new. I was in the minority who thought the film was just ok, but I'll be very surprised if it doesn't reach Ireland in the coming year. An Oscar nomination is also a possibility.

The last film I'll mention here is the Happy Poet. It's an american 'indie' flick, that is actually independently produced, unlike so many 'indie flicks' these days. The main character struggles to start up an organic food stand. It is an endearing parallel of a film maker trying to get his film made without selling out.

There'll be further blogs form the Venice Film Festival in the coming days.

Conall O Duibhir
Member of the Young Cinephiles Jury
Venice Film Festival

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hurling Fever!

The GAA hurling season may just have finished ( well done to Tipperary and commiserations to Kilkenny) but the IFI Irish Film Archive is still hurling obsessed as we are put the finishing touches to our Archive hurling DVD. Encouraged by the tremendous success of our Irish Destiny and Seoda DVDs, which were released last Autumn, we decided to dig deep into the Archive collections and produce another DVD, this time with the focus on sport.

Highlights of All Ireland Hurling and Football Finals were routinely filmed by the National Film Institute (before it was renamed the Irish Film Institute) from 1948 onwards and generally lasted 10-20 minutes; in addition to highlights of the Senior and Minor games, the films showed the build-up to the match and the players in training, and generally had a tongue-in-cheek newsreel quality. Over the last few months the Archive staff have been painstakingly assessing the sound and picture elements of GAA film material held in our vaults, selecting the best quality elements and transferring them to a digital format ready for publishing on DVD. This DVD will feature All Ireland hurling finals from 1948 up to 1959 and we hope to follow it with a compilation of GAA football finals of the same period.

As with our other DVD releases, time and effort has also been spent producing an accompanying booklet with images and explanatory notes. The booklet will be full of interesting pictures and match notes will be provided by sports historian Dr. Seán Crosson. It will be an absolute must for GAA fans, but the shots of Dublin in the 1940s and 1950s, and scenes of crowds making their way from Heuston Station, along O'Connell Street and up Jones's Road, will also appeal to the those who remember a quieter, slower paced Dublin.

Keep checking our blog for details of the DVD release later in the year.

Kasandra O'Connell
Head of Irish Film Archive

Monday, September 6, 2010

The 'new' Metropolis at the National Concert Hall

Dublin got its first chance to see the newly restored, almost complete Metropolis on Saturday night at a fantastic live performance at the National Concert Hall.

Metropolis is one of the those films that even if you haven't seen it, you know it! Its imagery is so iconic that it has defined our aesthetic of 'the future' and is instantly recognisable to anyone who has ever seen a science fiction film or car advert! Seeing it again on Saturday night with the extra 25 minutes of restored footage was a reminder of why it was so central to 20th century culture and why its influence can still be seen. It really is extraordinary, and although silent (and now very long) it kept the 1000 strong audience at the National Concert Hall engrossed and captivated for the full two and a half hours.

You can clearly see the newly restored scenes as they were taken from a badly damaged 16mm print and there is a noticeable change in quality and size. This doesn't affect the narrative and it is fascinating to be able to recognise the 'new' bits and track the restoration. Most memorable for me were the new scenes of the children fleeing the underground city which are extraordinarily prescient of events in Europe in the two decades following this film and the much more extensive presence of the menancing (and slightly camp) 'Thin Man'. Although still fantasically crazy, the narrative is definitely more coherent and the extra detail helps make sense of some of the rapid plot twists.

Two and a half hours of live orchestral accompaniment is a tough ask for musicians and they did an incrediable job under the guidance of conductor Helmut Imig. Earlier this year Helmut conducted one of the first performances of the newly restored versions in Germany and his involvement ensured we heard Huppertz's great score at its best. The Goethe Institut supported Helmut's trip to Dublin and I would like to thank them for this invaluable contribution to the event. The IFI hasn't collaborated with the National Concert Hall for a while but it was great to work with them again and we are already planning some more projects for the future.

For those of you who missed Saturday night don't miss Metropolis when it opens this Friday. With robot women, sexual obsession, revolution and romance there is something for everyone and absolutely lives up to its reputation as one of the best films ever made. And don't forget that September is the month of Metropolis at the IFI and we have two accompanying seasons; one celebrating the earlier work of its director Fritz Lang and the other presenting classic science fiction films that have been influenced by this great classic.

To book tickets for Metropolis at the IFI, click here.

Sarah Glennie

Report from Venice Film Festival

Conall O Duibhir,  a member of the Young Cinephiles Jury, reports from the Venice Film Festival

I am here on the Lido in Venice and it is nothing like I thought it would be. It's crazy!… in the best way possible. The island is completely overtaken by the glamourous festivities surrounding the festival. Red carpets, huge golden lions, Scorsese, and lots and lots of films of course. The scale of the festival is enormous. And here I am in the middle of this mad world. Where else can you meet Michael Cera and have a casual chat about film (which he knows little about), befriend your new favourite actor, and discuss films with their directors?

I am participating in '27 Times Cinema', which is an initiative to engage with young filmgoers in Europe. There are 27 young people, one from each EU state here. 14 women and 13 men. An 'ideal' audience profile, if that's possible. Our days are filled with watching all the films in 'Venice Days' (which is a sidebar to the main festival that focuses on art-house and provocative films), attending discussions and fitting in as many other films as we can. The films are varying in strength. I can't stay awake for all because the long days of cinema and little sleep are so draining! While Aronofsky's 'The Black Swan' (which I didn't see) has been well received over all, Sophie Coppola's 'Somewhere' felt like a tired 'Lost in Translation 2'

I will post again with more details on some of the films I'm seeing, until then I'm off to debate what's happened to American independent films.

Conall O Duibhir

Friday, September 3, 2010

Juliette Binoche and Gerard Depardieu's War of Words...

Juliette Binoche stars in Certified Copy which opens at the IFI today. Watch the trailer here.

Juliette Binoche picked up the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 for her role as an antiques art dealer in Abbas Kiarostami's intriguing Certified Copy. But not everyone seems convinced by her talents...

Last week, in an interview for an Austrian magazine, Gerard Depardieu gave his opinion on the French actress. Without even being asked, Depardieu said "Please can you explain to me what the mystery of Juliette Binoche is meant to be?... I would really like to know why she has been so esteemed for so many years. She has nothing, absolutely nothing." He then added "What has she ever had going for her?"

Binoche, currently in Britain to promote Certified Copy, responded to his comments saying
"I don't know him and I don't know what I did to him." She added "I provoked him without knowing I provoked him, I think."

Read more about their war of words here.

If you want to judge Juliette's latest performance for yourself, Certified Opens today at the IFI and runs until September 23rd. For more information, click here.

Ross Keane
Head of Marketing & Communications

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Venice Film Festival Updates

Today is the start of the Venice Film Festival and Venice Days, the independently run section highlighting European Cinema.

This year, Europa Cinemas and Venice Days invited twenty seven young EU film enthusiasts (aged 18-25) to attend the festival, watch the Venice Days programme, meet filmmakers and serve on a ‘Young Cinephiles’ jury.

IFI was delighted to be asked to nominate some candidates, so we ran a competition which involved writing film reviews and then submitted these for consideration to Europa Cinemas. Conall Ó Duibhir was chosen to represent IFI and he headed off for Venice yesterday. Conall was a member of our IFI Teen Club and also a brilliant volunteer at the IFI Family Festival. To say he loves film is somewhat of an understatement (he did feel the need to put aside Leaving Cert. studies in order to complete his entry on time…)

Check back here for regular blogs and updates from Conall on his Venetian adventures.

Alicia McGivern
Head of Education

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Neil Sinyard talks about The Leopard

The Leopard closes at the IFI on Thursday September 2nd. Book tickets quickly as the final screenings are selling fast.

The magisterial opening sets both tone and theme. The camera approaches an Italian nobleman’s house, lovingly recording the veils and curtains of the rooms fluttering in the gentle breeze, before eavesdropping on the patriarch and his family at morning prayers. But there are disturbances outside and the formality of the occasion is interrupted by the discovery of a dead soldier on their grounds, killed by rebels. It is an early indication of an aristocratic life about to be changed by the social forces of the Risorgimento [the movement for the political unification of Italy during the 19th century] that can no longer be held back at the family gate. Prince Salina (a towering performance from Burt Lancaster) will come to recognise that his society must adapt in order to survive and that, in his words, “things will have to change in order that they remain the same.” Thus he will collaborate in an arranged marriage between his opportunistic nephew (Alain Delon) and the low-born daughter (Claudia Cardinale) of a wealthy trader, Don Calogero (Paulo Stoppa), who is a representative of the rising bourgeoisie and symbol of the new social order to which the Prince and his kind must adjust. All these threads come together in one of the most remarkable set-pieces in all cinema: an extended Ball sequence, lasting for almost a third of the film’s length, during which the Prince’s acknowledgement of the new order is confirmed by the waltz he shares with his nephew’s fiancée, and the themes of adaptation and adjustment come together in a swirl of changing partners.

At one stage in the film, the Prince has remarked that he “feels astride between two worlds, ill-at-ease in both.” It suggests a connection between him and Visconti, whose whole career seemed an attempted reconciliation of opposites in his personality and style: between aristocrat and communist, aesthete and social critic, and between neo-realist harshness and decorative decadence. ‘The Leopard’ is a pivotal film for him, looking back to ‘Senso’ (also about the Risorgimento period and the relation of the individual to huge historical forces) and forward to ‘Death in Venice’ (the decay of old Europe) and even a late masterwork like the 1974 ‘Conversation Piece’ (which also concerns itself with the uneasy integration of a civilised, cultured class into a cruder, undisciplined but vital community). With its sensitivity to both historical necessity and the sadness of change, Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s posthumously published novel might have been written for Visconti and it is impossible to conceive how it could have been more resplendently realised on screen nor more beautifully scored, photographed and designed. As intelligent historical cinema on an epic scale, this has never, in my experience, been surpassed.

Copyright © Neil Sinyard and the Irish Film Institute.