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Ian Briggs » Belfast Film Festival Preview

Belfast Film Festival Preview

Posted by: Ian Briggs on 28th May 2012 at 9:46 am

Categories: Films | Tags: , | No comments

The Belfast Film Festival kicks off later this week and in preparation, here are the films that I have booked to see along with a brief description from the festival’s website.

Good Vibrations

Terri Hooley is a radical, rebel and music-lover in 1970s Belfast when the bloody conflict known as the Troubles shuts down his city. As all his friends take sides and take up arms, Terri opens a record shop on the most bombed half-mile in Europe and calls it Good Vibrations. Through it he discovers a compelling voice of resistance in the city’s nascent underground punk scene. Galvanising the young musicians into action, he becomes the unlikely leader of a motley band of kids and punks who join him in his mission to create a new community, an alternative Ulster, to bring his city back to life.

Starring: Richard Dormer, Jodie Whittaker, Michael Colgan, Karl Johnson, With Liam Cunningham, Adrian Dunbar, Dylan Moran

Screenplay: Colin Carberry, Glenn Patterson

Producers: Chris Martin, Andrew Eaton, David Holmes.

BBC Films presents with the participation of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/IFB and Northern Ireland Screen. In association with Immaculate Conception Films a Canderblinks Film & Music, Revolution Films and Treasure Entertainment production.

Directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn. United Kingdom / Ireland 2012, 102min 

The Verdict

Screening at Belfast’s Royal Courts of Justice. Introduced by a prominent member of the Northern Irish legal profession. 

In Sidney Lumet’s powerful courtroom drama Paul Newman stars as Frank Galvin, an alcoholic Boston lawyer who tries to redeem his personal and professional reputation by winning a difficult medical malpractice case. He is assisted by his new girlfriend, Laura (Charlotte Rampling),. Frank, down on his luck, is presented with the case of his life when he is approached by the family of a woman who has been left in a coma following an operation in a large hospital. Helped by his assistant Mickey (Jack Warden), he agrees to take the case, hoping for a fast settlement. When he visits the victim in the hospital, he becomes emotionally involved, turns down a sizable settlement offer made by the hospital, and decides to bring the case to trial despite the formidable opposition of the Church and their lawyer, (James Mason). Oscar-nominated for “Best Picture” and “Best Director” (Lumet) as well as for “Best Adapted Screenplay” (David Mamet).

Directed by Sidney Lumet. USA 1982, 129min

Woody Allen: A Documentary

Beginning with Allen’s childhood and his first professional gigs as a teen – furnishing jokes for comics and publicists – Woody Allen: A Documentary chronicles the trajectory and longevity of Allen’s career: from his work in the 1950s-60s as a TV scribe for Sid Caesar, standup comedian and frequent TV talk show guest, to a writer-director averaging one film-per-year for more than 40 years.

Exploring the ultimate “independent filmmaker’s” writing habits, directing, and relationship with his actors, acclaimed filmmaker Robert B. Weide travelled with Allen from the London set of You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger to the Cannes premiere of Midnight in Paris. He also filmed Allen at home, in the editing room and touring his childhood haunts in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. New interviews provide insight and backstory, with actors Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Penelope Cruz, John Cusack, Larry David, Mariel Hemingway, Scarlett Johansson, Julie Kavner, Diane Keaton, Martin Landau, Chris Rock, Mira Sorvino, writing collaborators Marshall Brickman, Mickey Rose and Doug McGrath, longtime managers Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe, and Martin Scorsese, among many others.

Directed by Robert B. Weide. USA 2011, 92 mins

Come As You Are

Winner of two major awards at the Montréal World Film Festival, Come As You Are is an off-beat Belgian road movie about three young disabled men on a quest to lose their virginity. Jozef is nearly blind, Philip is a paraplegic, and Lars suffers from a disease that keeps him wheelchair-bound. These buddies enjoy the finer things in life, including wine and song; the only thing missing is the women. Isolated by their disabilities and cared for by their parents at home, they convince their families they need to go on a “wine tour” to Spain. But this is a cover for their true goal—a Spanish brothel, which Philip has heard caters to disabled men. Accompanied by a large woman caretaker named Claude who only speaks French, they take off in a beat-up van for the journey of a lifetime.

Never condescending and constantly unpredictable, this film provides a warm look at people whose bodies may not cooperate, but whose souls yearn to breathe free.

Directed by Geoffrey Enthoven. Belgium, 2011, 115min

Don Hertzfeldt

A special selection of cult animator and Academy Award nominee Don Hertzfeldt classic animated shorts, culminating in the exclusive premiere of his newest film, It’s such a beautiful day: the third and final chapter in a trilogy about a mysterious man named Bill.

Chapter One, Everything will be OK, won the Sundance Film Festival’s Jury Award in Short Filmmaking and was named by many critics as one of the ‘best films of 2007’. Chapter Two, I am so proud of you, received twenty-seven awards and was described by the San Francisco International Film Festival as, “[his] best yet… even the Hertzfeldt faithful may be too stunned to laugh.”

Nearly two years in the making, the 23-minute ‘It’s such a beautiful day’ is Don’s longest, and most ambitious, piece to date. Don Hertzfeldt is the creator of many short animated films, including the Academy-Award nominated Rejected. His animated films have received over 150 awards and have been presented around the world. He was the youngest director named in the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of The 100 Important Animation Directors of all time. In 2012, Hertzfeldt was ranked #16 in an animation industry and historian survey of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Animation.

Directed by Guillaume Canet. France 2011, 154min

Shadow Dancer

Even as a child, Collette was to experience at first hand the bloody consequences of the conflict in Northern Ireland when her little brother was killed by British security forces. Years later, Collette is herself now a mother and, like the rest of her family, still involved in the Republican cause. When she is arrested for her part in an aborted IRA bomb plot in London, a British secret service officer offers her a choice: lose everything including her little son and go to prison for twenty-five years or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. SHADOW DANCER is a psychological thriller in the truest sense of the term: it does not merely focus on the external elements of the plot; it also explores the moral dilemmas that face its protagonists. When the secret service man begins to worry about Collette’s safety she decides to feign interest in the agent – a duplicitous, risky game.

Director James Marsh depicts the conflict in Northern Ireland from the point of view of a woman whose daily life is a constant struggle for survival but who is nonetheless determined to create a better future for herself and her son.

Director James Marsh will introduce the film. Cast and crew will be in attendance.

Directed by James Marsh. UK / Ireland 2012, 101min

Witness For The Prosecution

Screening at Belfast’s Royal Courts of Justice.

Agatha Christie tale of a man on trial for murder: a trial featuring surprise after surprise.

Witness for the Prosecution casts the great scenery-chomper Charles Laughton in Agatha Christie’s courtroom play. Marlene Dietrich plays the wife of Tyrone Power, accused of killing an old lady for her money.

A delicious Billy Wilder mixture of humor, intrigue and melodrama, Witness for the Prosecution is distinguished by its hand-picked supporting cast and perfectly crafted dialogue. Wilder plays the suspense well, but this movie belongs to Laughton, who makes his every line resonate like music and thunder: “I am constantly surprised that women’s hats do not provoke more murders”.

Directed by Billy Wilder. USA 1957, 116min

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