Friday, June 29, 2012

July at the IFI

Welcome to the IFI’s July programme which features the return of the IFI Family Festival, a focus on Pat Murphy and a selection of special events. 

IFI Family Festival, 5-8th July

This July, the IFI Family Festival returns with four days of films and workshops for children. Building on the success of our monthly family screenings, this annual festival is your one chance to see some of the best films from around the world. With movies from countries including Ireland, the Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand, young films fans will get to experience stories of different lives in other places. This year, one of the festival highlights is our Irish Animation Trail which allows audiences to see how animations are made, watch them on the big screen and meet the animators. Other workshops provide hands-on experience of sci-fi model-making, pop-up 3D, animated light sculptures and soundtracks. It’s always a fantastic festival and one that I’d urge you to bring any budding film buffs along to.

Focus on Pat Murphy (July 21st - 22nd)

We’re also presenting a focus on one of Ireland’s leading feminist directors, Pat Murphy, who is one of the most researched filmmakers in the Tiernan MacBride Library at the IFI. This short season (July 21st and 22nd) will focus on three of Pat’s films: her first and most experimental feature, Maeve; the film that cemented her reputation as a feminist filmmaker, Anne Devlin; and the examination of Nora Barnacle and James Joyces’ relationship in Nora. Pat Murphy will also discuss her career in an in-depth conversation (free, but ticketed) with IFI Curator Sunniva O’Flynn on July 22nd, which will include screenings of some of her shorts.

Premiere: The City Dark on July 22nd

July also has a great selection of one-off events. Our IFI Irish Film Archive Monthly Must-See is a 40th anniversary screening of Deliverance (July 4th) which we have preserved in our vaults. This special screening will be introduced by director John Boorman and it’s a rare chance for everyone to see this Academy-nominated masterpiece back on the big screen in glorious 35mm. We also have single screenings of two insightful documentaries: Ian Cheney’s thought-provoking The City Dark (July 22nd) which explores the topic of light pollution and Ross Ashcroft’s (who will be in attendance) Four Horsemen (July 16th) which examines the key factors in the current economic meltdown. We’re proud to partner once again with the Irish Architecture Foundation on The Fourth Wall, this time with two screenings: Patrick Keiller’s debut feature London and Michael Winterbottom’s sci-fi Code 46 set in a dystopian future where procreation is strictly regulated.

Silence, opening from July 27th

We’ve got some fantastic new releases lined up this month including two great documentaries: Searching for Sugar Man which is a must-see for all music lovers, and Pat Collins’ latest (his work will be the focus of a special season in August), the cinematically stunning Silence. Big features include Willem Dafoe in the engrossing drama The Hunter and Kristin Scott Thomas in the probing character study In Your Hands.

So if you’re looking for a break from Olympics fever, we hope we have plenty to entice you to the IFI!

Ross Keane

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

IFI Family Festival 2012 announced!

It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to sunshine, sand, school holidays… and how to fill them. Well, why not get those two long, school-free months off to a great start with the IFI Family Festival, running July 5th – 8th? 

Alfie, the Little Werewolf (Friday, July 6th, 14.00)

There is plenty in our programme to engage all tastes: for the adventurous we have films from other countries including Australia, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Sweden, whose stories, though different, will be quite familiar too. For something closer to home we will be screening the premiere of Moon Man, a brand new Irish animation. Kiwi Flyer, a New Zealand story of go-cart racing and overcoming the school bully, will bring the festival to a close.

Moon Man (Premiere - Saturday, July 7th, 18.30)

The aim of our Festival is to try to give young audiences a chance to see some of the wealth of international films made for their age range but which don’t very often get a cinema release here. Countries such as The Netherlands and Sweden have long and rich histories of filmmaking for young people but, if competing for distribution and cinema space with the latest story from THAT wizard, or yet another ‘brilliant’ 3D pirate adventure, they’re not going to get much of a look in. So it’s at festivals like ours where they’ll get a chance to be seen.

Short Tales: Programme 1 (Friday, July 6th, 11.00)

We watch a lot of films before making our selection, and look to more established festival such as Berlin or Toronto for their experiences, as well as drawing on our own knowledge of programming for schools and the IFI Family monthly programme. We use readers, i.e. a person who reads the subtitles aloud so that having to follow titles isn’t an inhibitor to enjoyment of the film. Having a reader makes the film instantly accessible; you can sit back, watch and listen as the magic unfolds.

Sci-fi Pop-ups Workshop (Saturday, July 7th, 11-13.00)

And for those who are keen on behind the scenes, we have a host of workshops too – exploring music for film, creating digital playgrounds and generally giving participants a chance to learn more about the art and craft of film and digital art.

Alicia McGivern
Head of IFI Education

For more info on the festival see our separate programme or visit For bookings, please contact our Box Office on 01 679 3477, or book online

Follow #IFIFamily on Twitter or join us on Facebook for more Festival updates, ticket competitions and special offers!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bloomsday at the IFI

The time has rolled around again, all stately and plump, for our annual Bloomsday film extravaganza.

Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann in The Dead

James Joyce (himself a cinema manager and programmer) was, famously, intrigued by cinema.  At the Volta (est. 1909) he screened about 100 short films (actualities, news films, comedies and dramas) in the brief period of his stewardship. He was a regular and passionate cinema goer and indeed is known to have explored adaptation of his work for cinema with Sergei Eisenstein and to have been approached by Warner Brothers to buy rights for Ulysses.  His work has since been widely adapted for film and television. 

So it is fitting then that we pay annual tribute through film to the man and to his work.  This year, with a pumped up level of interest generated by the unleashing of much of Joyce’s published work from the constraints of copyright, we decided to extend our usual modest homage from a single cinema slot to two feature films, one newsreel, two documentaries, one promotional film, one humorous short  and one animation.

Archive at Lunchtime: Pitch 'n' Putt With Beckett and Joyce

We have been running our Joycean Archive at Lunchtime series throughout the month to healthy and enthusiastic houses – enthusiastic not only because entrance is free but because the programme is so digestible and varied.  We enjoyed a particularly rewarding moment last Saturday when the audience spontaneously stood and applauded for the filmmaker Ulick O’Connor, producer of Joyce’s Dublin who had joined us for the double bill.  The programme continues three times weekly until the end of the month.

The Dead – the much-admired and, arguably, the most successful adaptation of a Joycean work to date – will run for a week from today.

Passages From James Joyce's Finnegans Wake

On Saturday, June 16th we are delighted to present a bold adaptation by experimental pioneer Mary Ellen Bute of Finnegans Wake. Joyce scholar Nick Miller of Loyola University Maryland will be on hand to help us navigate the Passages.  The print we will screen is one which we acquired some years ago from Vogue McNally, widow of the late film distributor Bertie McNally. With its tell-tale French introductory title we believe it to be the actual copy which screened at Cannes in 1965 when the film was honoured as best debut of the festival.

So whether you’re a true Joycean or you’re a chancer looking for a bluffer’s guide to Ulysses, Finnegans Wake and Dubliners – our film programmes will fit the bill - yes I said yes they will Yes.

Sunniva O’Flynn
IFI Irish Film Programming 

For more information on IFI Bloomsday screenings, please contact our Box Office on 01 679 3477, or visit our website

Friday, June 8, 2012

Winning review of THE RAID

'Provocative!', 'Violent', 'Pumped of sweat and adrenaline'... After receiving all your entries, we've selected our winner - congratulations! We publish the winning 150-word review of The Raid by Bernard O'Rourke below.

What is my favourite action movie?  Either Die Hard or Hard Boiled.

I can’t decide which I like better, but a Welsh director named Gareth Evans may have finally solved that problem for me. The Raid takes the best bits from both my favourite movies – the claustrophobic setting and unity of place of Die Hard mixed with the sheer explosive spectacle of Hard Boiled – and fuses them together into the holy grail of action cinema.

The Raid’s dizzy shootouts and visceral hand-to-hand brawls are perfectly handled and suitably jaw-dropping, but more importantly Iko Uwais (like John McClane) always seems like an underdog pitted against impossible odds. This is what a good action film should always have at its core, something CGI driven Hollywood blockbusters seem to have forgotten.

The only thing The Raid is missing is the word “hard” in the title, because they don’t come any harder than this.

Bernard O'Rourke

The Raid continues at the IFI until June 14th. For more information and bookings, please contact our Box Office on 01 679 3477, or book online

IFI Audience also said:

"Brace yourself for the action film of the year - The Raid delivers on every level" - Gareth O'Connor

"If you have a notion you may enjoy this film, go and see it. Do not miss out" - Daragh O'Farrell

"I will definitely see it almost has me taking up Pencak Silati" - Brendan Griffin

"Never underestimate the persistence of paranoia - possibly the greatest line in cinamatic history" - David Thomson

... and a special mention goes to Will "Papa Kenn" Damron and his video-review:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Programmer's Choice: THE TURIN HORSE

IFI programmer Peter Walsh writes about The Turin Horse, this month’s ‘Programmer’s Choice’.

The great Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr’s dauntingly rigorous work, with its minimalist settings and incredibly elaborate long takes, is not to everyone’s taste. Yet he is a true visionary and one of the great stylists of post-war European art cinema. His towering masterwork is 1994’s Sátántangó, a seven-and-a-half hour allegory of social disintegration. The Turin Horse is not quite in that league, but it’s still one of Tarr’s finest and at a mere two-and-a-half hours, a relatively comfortable watch. It begins with an anecdote about the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who was appalled to witness the whipping of a horse whilst visiting Turin. He tried but failed to save the animal, after which the great man was diagnosed with a serious mental illness that made him speechless for the next eleven years of his life.

Tarr’s film is not exactly about Nietzsche or his trauma. It might be seen as a fictional account of the subsequent experiences of that abused horse, which in the film is owned by a farmer and his daughter who live in abject poverty on the Hungarian plains. This is another of Tarr’s allegories in which human existence is pared down to its barest essentials, with man’s battle against nature assuming apocalyptic dimensions. The weather is relentless, with constant wind and rain, and one wonders how Tarr achieved some of his truly spectacular effects without the use of digital technology, which he abhors.

In terms of narrative, the film simply recounts the gradual decline of the farmer and his daughter as it records their daily routines. Their fate is sealed almost from the start, or at least from the moment their horse refuses to take another single step forward. In dramatic terms, the basic set-up is reminiscent of a Samuel Beckett play, combining as it does elements of reality and abstraction, the serious and the absurd. The qualities that really distinguish a Béla Tarr film, however, are almost exclusively cinematic, and The Turin Horse is no exception. Shot in suitably austere black and white in a mere 30 or so sequence shots by his regular cameraman Fred Kelemen, the film is an extraordinary technical and aesthetic achievement that surpasses everything produced by other gifted contemporary filmmakers, American or European. In this respect, The Turin Horse will probably be best appreciated by other filmmakers, especially directors and cinematographers, who can recognise the artistry involved in mounting the film’s continuous flow of masterful sequences. In reality, though, Tarr’s film was never likely to find due acknowledgement for its amazing achievements. It was awarded a prize at the Berlin Film Festival last year, but frankly it deserved much more, especially since it’s said to be the director’s last work.

Another way of approaching Tarr’s film is to consider it as belonging to a tradition that harks way back to the glory days of silent cinema. The Turin Horse has much in common with some of the masterpieces of silent cinema. Indeed, I’d say it belongs to a privileged little collection of movies—one thinks of Eric von Stroheim’s Greed (1924), of Lev Kuleshov’s Dura Lex (1926), of Victor Sjöstöm’s The Wind (1928)—which capture, with absolute credibility and conviction, the gradual erosion of the human soul by a hostile environment.

Peter Walsh
IFI Programmer

This is a slightly expanded version of my coverage of The Turin Horse in an IFI blog piece on the 2011 Berlin’s Film Festival.

The Turin Horse continues exclusively at the IFI from June 1st - 14th. For more information and bookings, please contact our Box Office on 01 679 3477, or visit

Watch film trailer here: