The Art of the Awkward tumbles into the Light House for Greta Gerwig Season

On 21st July 2023, the Barbie movie will be arriving in Irish cinemas. Already it’s already attracted no shortage of excitement and intrigue, in part because of the director behind it, one of the very best in the game today, Greta Gerwig. Empathetic and involved, Gerwig’s work both in front of and behind the camera has produced some of the best American cinema of the 21st century. Ahead of the release of Barbie, the Light House Cinema will be presenting a season devoted to the worlds of Gerwig. From July 1st – 19th, the Smithfield venue, along with Galway sister cinema Pálás, will be hosts to Gerwig season, ‘The Art of Awkward’. It’s eight films this summer that celebrate a 20th century woman with a modern love for classic stories.

Watching a Greta Gerwig film can often feel like spending time with your best friend – there’s a relatable-ness and ease to her writing, directing and acting that makes it seem effortless. Maybe that’s because she developed her craft on each project, learning as she went. Born in Sacramento, Gerwig was a devoted theatre kid, always acting in her living room and in local amateur productions. Rejected from theatre and film school, she forged a different path studying English and joining a community of creatives (the Safdie Bros, Ti West, the Duplass Bros) who, by embracing new digital technology, were getting films made outside of the system. A few mumblecore films later, her first big break was a role in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg in 2011.

Working steadily as an actor from then, with an impressive list of directors (Barry Levinson, Rebecca Miller, Wilt Stillman, Wes Anderson, Mike Mills), Gerwig also increasingly began to work on her own material and behind the camera. Her characters are familiar, determined but often lost, ambitious but unfettered as they take us on a journey with them. Don’t be fooled by the effortless humour and warmth Gerwig brings to screen, each hesitation is meticulously crafted, each stumble is part of the process, this is the art of being awkward and it is why we love her.

Light House Cinema

From mumblecore to the multiplex, Gerwig’s career has continued to rise at an impressive rate. The joie de vivre that jumps out of every frame we’ve seen so far of Barbie is a huge part of the director’s appeal, an appreciation for her characters and the stories she’s telling about them, an endearing excitement that fizzes through. Is that a little awkward? Sure. But it’s also accessible, honest and alive.

Her on screen performances are drawn similarly. In Frances Ha, Gerwig’s plays the millenial misfit as a Marmite delight, a fun and friendly engenue who drives those around her spare with her inability to get it together. Deeply set in the script she wrote with Baumbach, Gerwig’s performance is played exceptionally, making sure the whole film works, because no negative way of looking at Frances ever finds its way into the actual acting of the character. In Mills’ 20th Century Women, she plays free-spirited tenant Abbie, one of the women helping to bring up Annette Bening’s son in the 70s. Abbie is stylish and cool, but recognisably struggling, an idealised figure in a coming-of-age story who is always grounded as her own full person. Gerwig plays her as “a lost but brazen young woman”, awkward limbs under a confident gaze.

It’s a season of strong selections that begins on July 1st with Frances Ha, building up to Barbie. Check out the full lineup of the Light House’s Greta Gerwig season below.


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