Giving arthouse films an airing

Cork Cine Club’s new season of films starts on January 23 at St John’s Central College with a screening of the 2012 French film Rebellion (L’ordre et la morale) directed by Mathieu Kassovitz (La Haine), who also stars in the film.

Giving arthouse films an airing

This political drama is based on the brutal repression in 1988 of an indigenous insurrection in the French Pacific Island territory of New Caledonia.

Ben Cuddihy of Cork Cine Club says of Kassovitz: “He’s a really interesting film-maker because he’s a bit of a rebel himself, always questioning France’s place in the world. Rebellion is about a hostage situation in a French colony. It’s about how President Mitterand sent in police to quell the rebellion because he had an election coming up and was using it to make him look good.

“The film is based on the book of one of the guys involved in the hostage situation where indigenous semi-terrorists arrested some policemen and then 300 storm troopers came over from France. You have all the things that happened in a political situation; morality and what’s right versus realpolitik as well as oppressors coming to a homeland.”

Rebellion is, says Cuddihy, a strong film that didn’t get much screen time when it came out. I’m delighted to be showing it.”

Cuddihy, former general manager of Triskel Christchurch, says there’s a wider market for good international foreign language films, which are better made now because of the breakthroughs in digital technology. But he says there is a lack of an audience for more “hard-hitting” films.

“That kind of material doesn’t get much screen time because of commercial realities. We’ll sometimes take a chance on a film. But we’re a non-profit organisation and we have to get a certain amount of people to attend each week. If they don’t attend, we lose money which we can’t afford to do. We always have an eye out for what our audiences like. We want as wide an audience as possible. But sometimes, commercial considerations over-ride artistic considerations. It’s a dilemma facing (arthouse) cinema programmers.”

Cork Cine Club was formed by Ann FitzGerald and Mary Doran following the closure of the Kino Cinema four years ago.

“Triskel Christchurch does an amazing job with screenings on three or four nights of the week,” says Cuddihy. “But Cork still doesn’t have a full-time cultural screen. As long as it doesn’t, we will continue what we’re doing at Cork Cine Club.”

While Triskel Christchurch sources its films from the Irish Film Institute, Cork Cine Club is supported by Access Cinema, a resource organisation for regional cultural cinema.

“Access Cinema offers between 50 and 100 movies every year. We screen about 20 movies a year over our two seasons. We also show some Irish Film Board shorts.”

Cork Cine Club has over 500 members. “We have new members all the time. In a city, you’ll have people turning up to see a particular film. We had a big success with Searching for Sugarman (about the American musician, Sixto Rodriguez). Most of the people who came to that never came back. We’re looking for people to interact with us and join the committee. Sometimes, we go for a drink after a film and people discuss it. It’s a different kind of night out.”


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