Browsing: Ireland

Cannes IMG_2135.CR2

Yorgos Lanthimos returns to the Croisette after winning the Un Certain Regard prize for his bizarre feature Dogtooth back in 2009. This year the Greek director moves up in the ranks of the festival by competing for the Palme d’Or with his star-studded English-language dystopian love story The Lobster that can also ironically be described as a satire of our…

NP Approved 9f3273a7da5c694fcd90b0f56fb940c9

Every year moviegoers are treated to CGI-animated blockbuster fare. It’s easy to dismiss it as just the way animated films are done now. However, there’s brilliance and craftmanship in all forms of animation and when it works, it’s perfect. It just so happens that Tomm Moore’s Song Of The Sea.

Reviews calvary_2014_1

Genre has never lent itself terribly well to Irish cinema: the folklore is too fairy-filled for horror; the war never hit hard enough for noir; the absence of guns makes almost absurd the idea of action. To have made of Calvary a full-fledged western, then, is quite …

Film Festival thecanal_1-1

A young family moves into a nice, quiet home. What can go wrong, besides everything? Such is the premise of untold horror movies, and now The Canal. An Irish import ../../css/r tropes_ from jump scares to witless gore. It also gives horror fiends an entirely competent __8212_5rue8jknoj6xd7f0zsvz45.css; if pretty uninspired — latest fix.

Reviews stay_2013_2

“Idyll by the sea” exclaims a housing development billboard that decorates the desolate landscape of Stay, ironically fronted by the film as a monument to the dashed dreams that have served to dampen the verdant allure the Irish countryside’s more commonly been accorded onscreen. It’s not only the development’s distinct absence that might tempt us to mispronounce the sign. Canadian director Wiebke von Carolsfeld here captures an image of Ireland as accurate as any of the country’s own directors’: hers is a sky every bit as brooding as her characters, its dark clouds and their dry eyes equally indicative of a restrained force that feels any moment about to erupt in floods.


Romantic attraction is a powerful feeling, a sensation that can simmer softly in the background or swell to a crescendo of burning passion. It triggers primordial reactions that can’t always be controlled, shaping futures, tearing lives apart, providing instant gratification and fuelling unfulfilled longing. Romantic attraction is capable of many different things but it always has an impact. It’s such a shame then that Jérôme Bonnell’s film fails to elicit much of anything. Like a mass produced car assembled by a robot, all the parts are in place but they’ve been put together without care and none of them are unique.

JDIFF 2014 loveeternal

It’s a strange old world, and we a strange old species in it, where a film as macabre and morbid as Love Eternal can somehow seem quite moving. But that’s the only word with which to describe Brendan Muldowney’s film, a tale of near-necrophilia that’s at once a romance in the classical vein and a clear contribution to Irish independent cinema’s increasingly transgressive tendencies. “I am a defective human being,” its protagonist muses at one point; it can be tempting to think the same of Muldowney as his movie hinges its hero on the relationship he maintains with a corpse he’s taken home after finding it hanging in the woods. But the movie’s brilliant coup, of course, is in luring us in: who among us, after all, isn’t defective?

Film Festival SONY DSC

Political themes are inherently unavoidable for any film emerging from Northern Ireland’s blossoming production line but writer and director Paul Kennedy manages to steer Made In Belfast away from any obvious pitfalls. With a changing, modern city as the backdrop this is a tale of forgiveness and redemption that flirts with sentimentality without ever becoming too saccharine.

Jack (Ciaran McMenamin) is a successful writer living hermit-like in Paris. On the day his new book is launched he receives a call from his estranged brother Petesy (Shaun Blaney) who tells him their father is hours from death. Much to the chagrin of his agent Jack leaves immediately and travels home to Belfast without any real thought as to how much history is waiting for him there. Following the death of his father Jack begins to reconnect with friends he had lost when he left some 8 years prior with the reasons for that dramatic and speedy departure slowly emerging. With many wounds still very raw it remains to be seen how much Jack’s life and that of those around him have really changed.

Film Festival

Where the 2007 win for Once’s “Falling Slowly” offers perhaps the only high-profile Irish Oscar win since My Left Foot took two awards in 1990, the 2011 Live Action Short win for The Shore marked the culmination of the country’s consistent nomination success in the short film fields over the past several years, a trend started with Michael McDonagh’s 2006 win for Six Shooter. Indeed, it’s telling that one of the choices The Shore beat out was Pentecost, another Irish production. And the consistency of quality looks set to continue: the Toronto Irish Film Festival’s selection of state-supported shorts—whether via the Irish Film Board or Northern Ireland Screen—is a strong reminder of the fine little films the island is outputting.

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