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One of the flagship festivals and highlights in the calendar of the Irish Film Institute, the IFI Documentary Festival begins tomorrow, running over the weekend into the beginning of October. The festival will showcase fine documentary filmmaking from directors, Irish directors alongside international ones, for a programme of 16 feature length documentaries, 7 Irish premieres, as well as a world premiere.

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Director: Sofia Coppola Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning Running Time: 94 minutes


The films of Sofia Coppola have always been drawn to the loneliness of the privileged, the longings and feelings of isolation of people who on the face of it, should have it all. In adapting The Beguiled, Thomas P. Cullinan’s novel previously put on screen from the decidedly more male perspectives of Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood in 1971, Coppola pushes her usual focus even further. The privileged here are the Southern belles of a Virginia girls school during the American Civil War, their isolation a gated-off manor, longing for the fathers and husbands and men-folk off fighting the losing side in a moral divide, even their hardships are a result of the school’s slaves not being around anymore. It may seem like too much Coppola at first glance, but in this repressed white erotica of furtive glances and fancy dresses, she uses restraint to great effect, resulting in a lean, sharp film, taking her usual privileged perspective and flipping it to comment on another.

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Director: Chloé Robichaud Starring: Sophie Desmarais, Jean-Sébastien Courchesne, Geneviève Boivin-Roussy Running Time: 94 minutes

The debut feature film of Quebecois writer-director Chloé Robichaud, Sarah Prefers To Run was screened at Cannes 2013 in the Un Certain Regard category, alongside the likes of The Bling RingFruitvale Station and The Missing Picture. Though she is a gay filmmaker, it goes without saying that Robichaud is not at all obligated to make her film strictly a gay romance. An important part of representation is showing diverse characters in stories that are not solely about what makes them ‘diverse’ and the subjects of this film are not defined by their sexual identity. However the ideal is still to have characters who are complex and engaging for reasons besides their sexuality and the problems of Sarah Prefers To Run mostly come from a reluctance to show anything about its protagonist that can’t be gathered from its title.

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