The programme for this year’s edition of the Dublin International Film Festival has been announced. Tickets are available now for the eagerly anticipated 20th anniversary of Dublin’s biggest celebration of film, which is returning to live screens in 2022.
For decades DIFF has brought big names, celebrated cinema and a space for film fans and pros to meet up in the fair city of film, and with the return to live screenings following last years all-online edition, it’s good timing for the festival to celebrate itself for its anniversary. A film as Gaeilge will be opening this year’s event for the first time with An Cailín Ciúin, the Opening Gala screening on February 23rd, which will kick off two weeks of the festival from Feb 23 – Mar 6. DIFF will close this year Jono McLeod’s My Old School a look at the 1990’s Brandon Lee story, one of the strangest and most notorious imposter cases of modern times. In-person screenings during the festival will all be operating at 100% capacity, but the festival will be keeping something of a blended approach too. A selection of films are also available to see online for viewers on the island of Ireland.
The Festival will once again be welcoming a host of onscreen talents to Dublin, including Carrie Crowley, Alan Cummings, Moe Dunford, Vicky Phelan and George MacKay alongside filmmakers and creatives Neil Brand, Nathalie Biancheri, Adam McKay, Laurent Larivière and Joi McMillon to mention a few.
An Cailín Ciúin won’t be the only feature in Irish this year, as drama Róise & Frank is among the local selection. Written and directed by Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy, the film centers on grief stricken Róise, who lost her husband Frank, two years ago. Her son, Alan, worries about her but the arrival of a mysterious dog seems to bring happiness to her life once more. Róise soon comes to believe that the dog is, in fact, Frank reincarnated. International stars George Mackay, Lily-Rose Depp and Paddy Considine feature in Nathalie Biancheri’s Wolf. Believing he is a wolf trapped in a human body, Jacob (George MacKay) eats, sleeps, and lives like a wolf – much to the shock of his family. When he’s sent to a clinic, Jacob and his animal-bound peers are forced to undergo increasingly extreme forms of ‘curative’ therapies. However, once he meets the mysterious Wildcat, and as their friendship blossoms into an undeniable infatuation, Jacob is faced with a challenge: will he renounce his true self for love?
The eagerly anticipated horror You Are Not My Mother by Kate Dolan will be showing, in the midst of award winning success across the festival circuit. Comedy Let the Wrong One In will strike a lighter tone on the horror front, a story about a supermarket worker dealing with his brother’s turn into a vampire, while Neasa Ní Chianáin’s documentary Young Plato has a high profile spot as the Lord Mayor’s Gala film, focusing on maverick headmaster Kevin McArevey, who in Belfast’s Ardoyne area uses the wisdoms of ancient Greek philosophers to encourage his pupils to challenge the mythologies of war and conflict. A strong focus on homegrown docs will be seen throughout but particularly in the ‘Reel Art’ selections. An initiative by the Arts Council, in association with the Irish Film Institute and the Festival, the Reel Art funding programme was designed to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme.
Set over the course of one night in Belfast, Nightride is an intriguing prospect, a real-time, one-shot thriller about a dealer trying to pull off one last job in order to go straight.
DIFF has a strong tradition of bringing some of the best of the international circuit to town, and digging up some underseen gems too.
The international selection of documentaries takes an in-depth look at subjects from a focus on individual subjects to lesser known stories. Thomas Robsahm’s documentary Aha: The Movie, which includes candid new interviews with the band as well as previously unseen footage, takes a fresh look at the band that reinvented the music video as an art form; whilst Julia Cohen and Betsy West’s insightful and mouth-watering documentary Julia shows how Julia Child changed the way people thought about food, television and even women after finding fame in her 50s; Benjamin Bergmann and Jono Bergmann’s documentary Mau delves into the career of design visionary Bruce Mau and his optimistic push to expand the boundaries of design; whilst the career of Ann Hui, one of Hong Kong’s most influential filmmakers, is explored in Keep Rolling.
Looking at the more unusual Mads Hedegaard’s Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest casts an eye on the Copenhagen gaming scene and infamous gamer Kim Cannon Arm; Jin Huanqing’s Dark Red Forest takes a majestic look at one community of 20,000 Buddhist nuns in Tibet; Venice Film Festival winner Special Jury Prize, Michelangelo Frammartino’s Il Buco is an immersive exploration of the ground breaking discovery of Calabria’s Bifurto Abyss in 1961; other gems include Bianca Stiger’s testament to life before the Holocaust, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, narrated by Helena Bonham Carter and Pietro Marcello’s keenly observed Italian documentary Futura.
Offering much needed levity, comedy films are in abundance in the programme, from French/German/Irish co-production About Joan in which Isabelle Huppert heads a starry cast; to flamboyant comedy from top filmmaker Fernando León de Aranoa The Good Boss, starring Javier Bardem; Joachim Trier’s latest comedy-drama The Worst Person in the World, for which Renate Reinsve won best actress at Cannes; professional goalkeeper for Iceland turned director, Hannes Þór Halldórsson’s wild blend of action, Cop Secret, a comedy and a satire on mainstream Hollywood blockbusters; American indie comedy drama Red Rocket; Todd Stephens’ flamboyant Swan Song; German playful black comedy Nö; quirky, offbeat drama imagines a world where our dreams are for sale, Strawberry Mansion; Iranian road movie and Audience Award winner at London Film Festival, Hit The Road; tender comedy The Odd Job Men; French romantic comedy Anais in Love and Anca Damian’s animated comedy The Island.
Festival audiences will get exclusive opportunities to watch some of the most highly anticipated and recognised films from across the world including: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic’s debut Murina, executive-produced by Martin Scorsese it scooped the Camera d’Or at Cannes Film Festival; Happening, Audrey Diwan’s adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s acclaimed novel which won Golden Lion at Venice International Film Festival; Luzzu, for which lead actor Jesmark Scicluna received a Special Jury Award at Sundance; Nitram, which won Caleb Landry Jones the Best Actor accolade at Cannes Film Festival for the titular role; and Cannes Film Festival breakout hit Playground.
New films by internationally acclaimed filmmakers offer many gems: François Ozon’s Everything Went Fine starring Sophie Marceau, André Dussollier and Charlotte Rampling; Terence Davies’ Benediction which tells the story of the remarkable life of acclaimed British poet Siegfried Sassoon; Mia Hansen- Love’s charming Bergman Island starring Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth; Gaspar Noé’s most personal film Vortex; Chinese film icon Zhang Yimou’s (House of Flying Daggers) testament to the magic and strength of cinema One Second; Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) breathes a fresh new perspective to a well-known story in animation Where is Anne Frank; and Paul Verhoeven brings us to 17th-century Renaissance Italy in a tale of illicit sexuality Benedetta.
Stories continue to range across the world from Western The Drover’s Wife, The Legend of Molly Johnson, set in Australia’s remote Outback; Shortlisted for the Palme d’Or, Casablanca Beats tells of the power of hip hip in the Moroccan city; Dina Amer’s powerful first feature You Resemble Me which looks at identity and Islamic radicalisation; Evolution by acclaimed Hungarian filmmakers Kornél Mundruczo and Kata Wéber (Pieces of a Woman); history, politics and France’s passion for food combine in comedy/drama Délicieux; Ukrainian film Reflection, a compelling and potentially prescient statement on the horror of war; Bouli Lanners’ tender, engrossing drama Nobody Has to Know; Lisa Bierwith’s tender romance Le Prince; Laura Samani’s powerful debut Small Body; Queena Li’s atmospheric fable Bipolar; psychological drama True Things starring Ruth Wilson, as well as a selection of films that show the power of sport, football focused For You Diego, and the highs and lows of gymnastics in Olga.
The 2022 Festival Retrospective celebrates the work of Sarah Maldoror, continuing the focus on trail blazing Black Women Filmmakers initiated in last year’s event. One of the great anti-colonial filmmakers, Maldorer was best known for her feature film Sambizanga on the Angolan War, and passed away in 2020.
Featuring 48 shorts across six different screening presentations, the Festival Shorts Programme will be the biggest showcase of this unique artform by DIFF to date. The programming of short films will include a selection of highlights from Screen Ireland’s funding schemes, a new selection of some of the best shorts from Glasgow Film Festival, four Virgin Media DIFF presentations and the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition, in association with Screen Ireland.
More on the VMDIFF22
Realising the central role of festivals within the domestic film industry, the Festival has a number of Industry initiatives, including the Aer Lingus Discovery Award for emerging talent, First Frame Film Student Initiative sponsored by Warner Media, which will welcome Academy Award winning writer-director-producer Adam McKay who will also receive the Volta Award marking his contribution to film, the Young film critics initiative and various talks and events throughout the Festival. This year’s Discovery Award offers a great chance to acknowledge Irish stars on the rise, including nominees Kate Dolan, Rioghnagh Ní Ghrioghair, Ojegbenro Olamide Moyosore and more.
The Surprise Film is always one one of the most popular events in the Festival programme, with the intrigue and the ever present ‘high risk, high reward’ factor. As always its identity remains a tightly-guarded secret known only to the Festival Director – let us know what you think you might be seeing if you’re going!
“We are all thrilled to celebrate our 20th anniversary year as a living, breathing cinematic experience. I am particularly delighted to premiere the superb line up of new Irish films and show these new works alongside their international counterparts. It’s a festival programme which I am extremely proud of, packed with discoveries and gems. I’m thankful as ever to all our partners and friends for their support in helping us to realise a physical festival and to my colleagues for their commitment to making this the best festival possible. It has been a labour of love – so please enjoy.”Grainne Humphreys, Festival Director
“The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival provides a feast of Irish and world cinema to discover, in particular the immense talent and creativity of the Irish film production sector which we’re delighted to support and promote as Ireland’s leading connected entertainment provider. The festival offers a host of movies, international features and shorts, along with celebrity and director Q&As and special events which cinema fans can experience in person or from the comfort of their home. There really is something for everyone to discover at this year’s festival.”Paul Higgins, Vice President of Commercial at Virgin Media Ireland
Tickets for this year’s programme picks are available to purchase now from the festival. Also available at the moment from diff.ie is the Festival Pass. Priced at €250, this will give access to the Festival’s regular cinema tickets as well as 20% discount on special presentations. Online 5 x film pass vouchers and 10 x film pass vouchers are also available to purchase. All Festival screenings and events will adhere to government guidelines and Covid safety regulations.
Stay tuned to Film In Dublin for more reviews, news and interviews from #VMDIFF22.