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The IFI Documentary Festival 2021 will bring the Institute’s usual intriguing offering of insights when it returns online and in cinemas this September.

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The sixteenth edition of Culture Night will take place across Ireland on Friday 17 September 2021 and a number of special events in the fair city of film will be of interest to culture vultures of the cinematic persuasion.
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We’re so used to seeing international cinema get remade in the States in one form or another that we barely blink an eye these days, even when it’s a film relatively successful with mainstream audiences, like Parasite. For film fans it can be a frustrating process – the one inch barrier shouldn’t be that hard to climb over – but an interesting development has now seen an Irish movie optioned for its own English-language remake. As reported on ScreenDaily by Irish media writer Esther McCarthy, Arracht has been optioned for a remake by a US company.

 

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Director: Prano Bailey-Bond Starring: Niamh Algar, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Burns, Sophia La Porte Running Time: 84 minutes


 

What is it that we enjoy about horror? From the blood and guts found in slashers, to the mental torments we see in more psychological scares, we’ve been intentionally scaring ourselves with really fucked up horror stories for decades? Um, and we’re all just okay with this? Sounds pretty sadistic to be honest. Someone should censor us from ourselves.

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Director: Michael Sarnoski  Starring: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin  Runtime: 92 minutes


A bloodied, weathered Nic Cage sits in an up-market restaurant. The man staring back at him is crippled with  embarrassment, terrified of what comes next. “We don’t get a lot of things to care about” whispers Cage before asking the all-important question..:

“Who has my pig?”

I spent the first 30 minutes of Pig searching for a touchstone to make sense of what I was experiencing. The trailer promised yet another revenge story with Nic Cage navigating his way through a bizarre set-up (in this instance, the case of the missing truffle pig…) and I was, in all honesty, quite excited at the prospect. 2018’s Mandy, while not perfect, was an interesting watch which proved, once again, Cage’s ability as a leading man AND that his reach didn’t stop past the straight-to-DVD bargain bin (if you remember what those are). From its trailer, Pig looked like another venture into this space and I was excited.

However, Michael Sarnoski’s Pig is something I truly didn’t expect. What starts as a madcap revenge thriller slowly unfolds into something altogether different and more unique: a tale of deep sadness, fear & loss punctuated by moments of true beauty with raw, human performances at its core. In short, Pig is the biggest surprise of the year and one of this year’s best.

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Irish horror is having a moment and as big fans of the genre, we’re thrilled to see films like The Hole in the Ground and The Boys From County Hell pick up notice overseas, both for the qualities of the films themselves and for the talents involved in making them. Joining their ranks soon will be changeling chiller You Are Not My Mother, the debut feature film of Kate Dolan, director of Catcalls and many a class local music video on the Irish scene. The film is set for its world premiere later this year as an Official Selection of the Toronto International Film Festival. It will be shown as part of the prestigious festival’s Midnight Madness programme, a raucous night screening the best in action, horror, shock and fantasy cinema. The film is one of only six selected for Midnight Madness this year from around the world.
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One of the very best festivals in the fair city of film will be returning, expanding and offering even more for film fans in Ireland this autumn.  The GAZE International Film Festival has announced a return to in-cinema screenings in September and October, for the festival’s 29thedition, once again showcasing some of the most exciting LGBTQ+ narratives on the big screen today and welcoming some of the most sought after LGBTQ+ films to Dublin.

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The Irish Film Institute will be bringing their annual 3 day festival of fun films and activities for kids aged 4 – 12 back to their cinema this month, as the IFI Family Festival gets set to take place from August 27 – 29th. Next week will see family friendly films from around the world returning to the Institute’s screens once again.

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Director: Tom McCarthy Starring: Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cotin, Lilou Siauvaud Running Time: 140 minutes


It’s fair to say that director Tom McCarthy has a keen interest on real life tragedies. While making his bones with independent films like The Station Agent and The Visitor, he has become renowned for his work directing the likes of Best Picture winner Spotlight and executive producing the hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Both of the latter involve holding up a mirror to tragic controversies and telling the story through the lens of victims. This task, in itself, often involves provocation, as evidenced by the decision to cut the most graphic scenes from the first season of 13 Reasons Why. His latest feature Stillwater is again approaching very sensitive subject matter, and has been criticised in some circles for effectively taking the real life events of the Amanda Knox story without asking for permission prior to doing so.

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