What to see for in Dublin for National Cinema Day 2023

National Cinema Day is back again, to the delight of cinema’s accountants everywhere and the resignation of their floor staff (please be kind this weekend).

This Saturday 2nd September, cinemas across Ireland will have tickets reduced to just €4 (RSP) including Premium seats, screens and 3D screenings. This includes hits currently in cinemas like Barbie and Oppenheimer, and latest release must-sees like Passages. But what else is on offer, and what should you see in the fair city of film this weekend?

If you enjoyed Cocaine Bear a few months back, it’s not the only genre film made on location in Ireland this year. Apocalypse Clown is in Irish cinemas from today, and in a sea of “inner city gangland crime”, it’s the kind of out-there premise we love to see more of in our homegrown cinema.

Filmed on location in Dublin and Kildare, in Ireland Apocalypse Clown tells the tale of a troupe of failed clowns and an ambitious reporter who embark on a chaotic adventure of self-discovery after a mysterious solar event plunges the world into anarchy.

Directed by BAFTA-nominated George Kane (Crashing, Disney’s Wedding Season) and written by Shane O’Brien, James Walmsley and Demian Fox from the comedy outfit Dead Cat Bounce, the film features hilarious performances from David Earl (Brian & Charles, After Life), Natalie Palamides (Nate — A One Man Show), Amy De Bhrún (The Bachelor Weekend), Fionn Foley (Dublin Oldschool), Tadhg Murphy (Brassic) and Ivan Kaye (Gunpowder Milkshake).

The film is out across the island now and if you want to support local, could make a great pick for the National Day that’s in it.

Irish horror guru Lee Cronin will be in attendance at the Omniplex Rathmines, for a screening of his international hit Evil Dead Rise at 7.30pm. We had a bloody good time with the messy horror back in April, and if you missed it then or want to catch it again, you can also catch up with one of Ireland’s rising stars behind the camera, as he’ll be on hand to sign swag at the screening.

As well as catching up on previous releases, you can get an early look at some Irish films before they release wide across the island. Tarrac is in Irish cinemas in October, but preview screenings of the as Gaeilge film will be taking place during National Cinema Day. The award winning drama sees Aoife Ni Bhraoin (Kelly Gough) return home to help her father Brendan ‘The Bear’ O’Briain (Lorcan Cranitch) in his recovery from a heart attack. During this time, Aoife faces the grief of her mother’s death that she hasn’t dealt with until now.  A lot has been left unsaid between her and her father.  Aoife reacquaints with a group of rowers and this all-female team, who against the odds, take on a high stakes Naomhóg rowing competition. It’s on at 1pm at the IFI and 4PM at the Light House, and across Dublin at other cinemas.

Ballywalter is another homegrown film set for preview screenings. See the Belfast dramedy before its release on 22nd September. Eileen (Seána Kerslake) is a caustic, unrepentant University drop-out whose dreams of a successful life in London have fallen by the wayside. Back at home with her mum, she makes ends meet by working as an unlicensed driver in her ex-boyfriend’s minicab. 

Shane (Patrick Kielty) has exiled himself in Ballywalter following the break-up of his marriage, but now he’s trying to get his life back on track by enrolling in a stand-up comedy course. When Shane calls a taxi to get him to his classes, Eileen answers and a surprising connection is made. As the two spend time together shuttling back and forth, a beautiful friendship develops, leading both to a moment of realisation. See this one at 6.30pm at the Light House, or 5.45pm at the IFI, and other participating Dublin cinemas.

Jurassic Park is showing for 30th anniversary screenings, cult horror Talk to Me is still out on some screens, charming indie flick Scrapper is well worth your time and cinemas have plenty of kid-friendly options on to sooth the back-to-school crowd.

What are you seeing for National Cinema Day?

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