Arts editor Des O’Driscoll selects the must-see movies at the Cork Film Festival.
1 THE BIG HEAT
While we can track down almost any old film online these days, there is still a special thrill in watching some of the classics on a real cinema screen. Fritz Lang’s film noir from 1953 has Glenn Ford in the role of an earnest cop who takes on a local crime syndicate. Among the other golden oldies worth another watch in the festival is Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.
Gate, Saturday 11, 2.30pm
2 CORK ON FILM
The Irish Film Institute has dipped into its archives to compile 90 minutes of footage about various aspects of Cork through the decades. It includes state-sponsored promotional film The Irish Riviera from 1936; Louis Marcus’s Rhapsody of a River, another officially-sanctioned film, complete with a beautiful soundtrack by Sean O’Riada; and various newsreel clips and 1970s’ advertisements related to the festival’s host city.
Triskel, Sunday 12, 3.30pm
3 CONDEMNED TO REMEMBER
Tomi Reichental is best known in this country for keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive through the telling of his tale of being imprisoned by the Nazis in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a young Jewish child in Slovakia. In this new documentary, however, he’s more concerned with the present than the past. The Dublin-based 80-year-old looks at the worrying rise of fascist-type groups in his native land, speaks compassionately about the plight of Syrian refugees, and meets up with survivors of the Srebrenica massacre.
Gate, Sunday 12, 6.45pm
4 THE LODGERS
Set in a big house in Ireland in the 1920s, Brian O’Malley’s gothic horror got decent reviews when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. It revolves around twins Rachel and Edward in their crumbling mansion, who are under the power of a sinister presence who makes them conform to various rules and prevents them from leaving. It all begins to go a bit haywire when Rachel encounters a troubled war veteran.
Everyman, Sunday 12, 9.15pm
5 HAPPY END
Michael Haneke may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with films such as Caché and Amour, the German director certainly deserves the title of one Europe’s most interesting directors. Here, he teams up with the wonderful Isabelle Huppert who plays a bourgeois French woman whose life contrasts greatly with the refugees who wander the streets of her native Calais. Toby Jones stars as le fiancé.
Gate, Monday 13, 9.15pm
There’s a strong documentary programme at the festival this year, with this Sundance winner in particular arriving with plenty of plaudits. Its tale of two middle-age people who are planning to get married at times veers into romantic comedy, and its eschewal of many conventional documentary techniques makes it easy to forget that Dina and her fiance Scott are actually real people. Both are also on the autism spectrum, but this fact is very much an aside in how the endearing couple are portrayed.
Triskel, Tuesday 14, 9.15pm
7 MICHAEL INSIDE
Dafhyd Flynn previously impressed in I Used To Live Here, but this could well be the breakthrough role for the young Dubliner. He plays a teenager who ends up in prison after being caught with drugs, and much of the Galway Fleadh winner’s realistic feel probably comes from the fact that a lot of research for it was done with former prisoners. An added bonus for the Cork audience is that it was largely filmed at the city’s former prison near The Glen.
Everyman, Thursday 16, 6.45pm
8 THE SQUARE
Swedish director Ruben Östlund made people in this part of the world sit up and pay attention with his excellent Force Majeure in 2014. Earlier this year he continued his climb up the ladder when he won the Palme d’Or at Cannes with this latest offering. A satirical drama, the cast includes Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West.
Everyman, Saturday 18, 6.30pm
9 RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA
The festival has had some excellent music documentaries in recent years, and among the most interesting this time around is this portrait of Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. You’ve probably heard his work on such film soundtracks as Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and The Revenant, as well Nokia tones. This film is a sort of diary charting his return to creativity after a year out with cancer.
Triskel, Sunday 19, 2pm
10 BEST OF CORK SHORTS
Winners of the short film categories in Cork automatically go on the long list for the Academy Awards, a pathway that usually ensures plenty decent entries from Ireland and abroad. This particular selection showcases some of the local talent in Cork, with eight films, including The Pike by Alicia Ní Ghráinne, who has roped in her fellow West Cork resident Sinead Cusack to play a grandmother who is living with her grandson.
Everyman, Sunday 19, 3pm
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