This year the Jameson Film Festival looks bigger than ever. Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan will be in the capital giving writing master classes, they’ll be industry talks, interviews, Q & A’s and they’ll also be blowing things up in Smithfield. In a good way. But what we’re all here for is the movies. Here’s a a handful of old and new that should get any film lovers juices flowing rightly.
Thursday 13th, Savoy Cinema 7.30pm
The festival looks to puts its best foot forward by opening with Calvary the new film from the fruitful partnership that brought us The Guard. The buzz around this all but says ‘best Irish movie ever’ and a lot of that seems to come down to the performance of Brendan Gleeson who plays a priest warned of his own imminent murder. According to reports writer-director McDonagh’s talents have blossomed on this picture adding both beauty and ferocity to what was already an acerbic wit and talent for dialogue. Add actors like Chris O’Dowd and Dylan Moran and this looks like an Irish feast but for me the real treat is going to see what cinematographer Larry Smith (Only God Forgives) does with the Mayo country side. Croagh Patrick lit by neon? I guess its unlikely.
Sunday 16th February, Light House Cinema, 1pm
In this later work from the great master the imagery is king. The city itself is the protagonist and Fellini’s avatar in the film (played by the elusive Peter Gonzales) is only the conduit for all that’s mad, bad and magnificent about the capital. A series of unconnected tableaux’s before anything else, what connects each scene is Fellini’s vision. This isn’t a guided tour of the city but rather a drug induced stumble into its heart where men mumble in bars, families eat on the street and the lines between romance and carnality are blurred. Though there isn’t really a plot the build up of sensory information is the power of this film and as it gets stranger that feeling only gets better. Containing some of the directors greatest imagery, this film is a must see, especially since Fellini is made for the cinema.
Friday 21st February, Cineworld, 6.30pm
Director Richard Ayoade is running the real risk of becoming a British institution. Though best known for his comedy work, his debut feature Submarine was a new type of coming of age story that worked the genre into all kinds of interesting shapes and sizes. In his second feature, The Double, Jesse Eisenberg is given twice as many chances to reclaim the lofty heights he achieved in Social Network as he plays a clerk who comes to work in the same office as his doppelgänger. Adapting from a literary giant like Dostoyevsky may sound risky but if the early reviews are anything to go buy it looks like the transition from book to screen has been a good one. Look out for guest stars Chris Morris and Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis. The director himself will be the special guest at the screening.
Tuesday 18th February, Light House Cinema, 4pm
Though William Klein may primarily be a photographer, JDIFF proves his huge contribution to motion picture by showing six of his full-length features. It’s hard to pick just one from a man capable of being sardonic as well as reverential but though each is worth a watch none reaches the anarchic heights of 1969’s Mr. Freedom. The titular character is an American, right wing super hero. Part Bond, part KKK member and completely insane, he’s a strange precursor to the Russian-killing beef heads of the 1980s action films. This is silly turned up to eleven but though it may be obvious it still has a high satirical punch. Kitsch, noisy and violent, this is a perfect afternoon watch. Look out for the cameo from super hipster Serge Gainsborough.
Sunday 23rd February, Light House Cinema, 12.30pm
Yeon Sang-ho’s 2011 King of Pigs was a piece of brutal, uncompromising adult animation. In subject matter it drew many comparisons with Golding’s Lord of the Flies but in terms of style it was all its own. The movie got positive reviews and proved once again that animation is a more than worthy medium for dealing with weighty issues. Now Sang-ho is back with a tasty plot that offers even more moral questioning than his debut. A small Korean village is about to be vacated to make way for a hydroelectric dam when a church pastor offers the residents salvation, and a new home, in exchange for their life savings. Into the fray steps a lone cynic who is by no means a good guy. The grey areas in life are always the most interesting and given the directors capacity for violence this will hopefully be a clean, smart, visceral thriller.