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Director: Neasa Hardiman  Starring: Hermione Corfield, Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott Running Time: 89 minutes

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From the visceral threat of Jaws to the unnerving nightmares of H.P. Lovecraft, the sea has always been a fertile breeding ground for horror. To cast characters adrift into vast, unexplored and uncaring waters means that they are exposed to one essential real-life fears – the instinctual anxiety that kicks in when a human is fundamentally and literally not on their home turf. Start adding freaky monsters into the mix and you can really start turning the screw, just as Irish director Neasa Hardiman has done in Sea Fever. Set aboard a small Irish fishing boat that becomes infested with aquatic parasites, the isolated ship mates become their own vessels and are as much at risk from each other as they are the horrors of the deep. What the film lacks in originality, knowingly but practically taking inspiration from classics like Alien and The Thing, it has gained considerably in timeliness. Let’s hope we don’t start seeing every movie through an “of-the-moment” lens, but if the lifejacket fits…

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With news, reviews and events in the fair city of film a little thinner on the ground at the moment, Film In Dublin will taking an occasional look at What’s On…The Shelf, taking a deeper dive in to some of the films in their personal collections. This time, Luke Dunne goes on a ramble about Jackie Chan’s 90’s hit, Rumble in the Bronx.

 

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In Direct Line, Film In Dublin cuts to the chase, asking 20 questions of Ireland’s directors to get a brief look into their outlooks, influences and inspirations.

Director Shaun O’ Connor’s work has screened all over the world and won awards at various festivals, from DC to Dublin and Cork, where Shaun himself is based. He’s directed for television, on stage and for several advertising campaigns, but has received particular notice for his short films. His latest, A White Horse, has been a smash success on the Irish festival circuit over the last year, as an official selection at the Galway Film Fleadh, the Belfast Film Festival, the Cork and Waterford Film Festivals and VMDIFF 2020. Having won at the Oscar-qualifying Foyle Film Festival, A White Horse will be on the longlist for the Academy Awards in 2021.

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Director: Lorcan Finnegan Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris Running Time: 97 minutes

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Even as news reports were starting to darken and arrive ever closer to our doors, while sitting in the sold out screening for the Opening Gala of VMDIFF 2020 it was difficult to imagine just how real Vivarium would become. Or how quickly the energy of a film premiere, glamorous stars ; a room packed full of people eagerly anticipating the uncertainty and possibilities of the immediate future, would feel like a bittersweet memory of oohhh, a billion years ago.

If Vivarium is a horror, it’s a horror about the domestic drudgery, a blunt jab at how social constructs can be so narrowly confined, widely expected and hellish to navigate that they can feel like a trap from which there is no escape. The fact that we all have to stay indoors right now with unknown and deadly consequences lurking ominously over us all the time has made the film’s blunt, exaggerated parody of suburbia very real in ways that director Lorcan Finnegan and writer Garret Shanley (who paired previously on Without Name) might never have anticipated when putting this story together, and it would be hard to blame the average viewer for running a mile from its ideas at the moment. The black joke has gotten a few shades darker, but the film is so committed to the bit, so giddily weird, it manages to pull off the delivery.

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The effects of Covid-19 continue to cause uncertainty and doubt in the film industry, with cinemas closed and the festivals that would normally be filling the calendar in the fair city of film either out the window or up in the air.

Thankfully the GAZE Film Festival along with the British Council Ireland are presenting some online screenings to keep us all going indoors as part of the #FiveFilms4Freedom Shorts Programme.

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Director: Céline Sciamma Starring: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino Running Time: 120 minutes

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“Do all lovers feel like they’re inventing something?”

So whispers the besotted Héloïse in a fit of passion in Portrait of a Lady on Fire. The exploration of that spark, that fierce and intense rush of feeling is central to the latest feature by Céline Sciamma, her own work continuing to evolve and innovate in exhilarating fashion here following the “accidental trilogy of youth” that was Water Lilies, Tomboy and Girlhood. Love as shown here between painter Marianne and her subject Héloïse has that feeling of invention, the sudden arrival of something entirely new and brilliant and unique and though what emerges between these two can’t hope to last in the way that they would prefer, the depth of emotion and ideas brought to light by Sciamma and her excellent crew lifts Portrait into so much more than the typical Forbidden Romance.

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The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020 is in full swing and tomorrow one of the biggest parts of the festival every year will take place: the screening of the surprise film. A closely guarded secret by festival organisers, not even the projectionist knows what the film is going to be until the lights go down and the film begins. Some have been excellent, some have been awful, but the anticipation is always killer.

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Making Film Dublin is a special event for anyone seriously interested in filmmaking, including current film students, and independent filmmakers. During the course of the afternoon attendees will hear from a panel of experts about their own filmmaking journey and to learn from them. Taking place at the Generator Hostel Dublin this Sunday March 1st,
a substantial line up of expert filmmakers have been assembled, all of whom are vital and active members of the fair city of film. Two of the first guests confirmed for this event are:

Liam McGrath, Scratch Films:
Liam McGrath is a director and producer, known for Southpaw: The Francis Barrett Story (1999), Blood of the Travellers (2011) and Dolores Keane: A Storm in the Heart (2014).

Robert Fitzhugh, Dublin Smartphone Film Festival :-
Director of the Dublin Smartphone Film Festival, founder of Filmsmart productions. Videographer, director, and speaker.

Making Films Dublin has been organised by final year film students at Ballyfermot College of Further Education. The proceeds from ticket sales will be used to fund their Final Year film which is called Ballcourt (Dir. Heidi Kivikallio) which will be shot on 9th – 13th March and screened in the IFI in May 2020.

The workshop will be divided into talks, practical tips, Q&A and networking to close, providing aspiring creatives with an opportunity to take valuable first steps in filmmaking in Dublin. Find out more here.

Tickets for this event are €10 and are available now from Eventbrite.

The 2020 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival has finally arrived. The biggest event in the year for film in Dublin (and Film In Dublin) officially gets started this Wednesday evening with the Opening Gala screening of Vivarium, Lorcan Finnegan’s sci-fi thriller. Cinephiles from all over the island and beyond will be zipping back and forth in the fair city of film over the next twelve days, checking out screenings and events in a packed programme.

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