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In this week’s Review Round-Up, we look at another pair of excellent films that flew under the radar at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Catch them now on VOD and enjoy the cinema experience from your own living room! Throughout the month of November, keep an eye on FilminDublin.ie for even more recommendations on the best 2020 films so far.

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The Dublin Arabic Film Festival, now into its seventh edition of featuring Arabic films here in Ireland, will be moving online next month. A staple of Dublin’s usual celebration of international cinema over the last few years, this year the festival will be going ahead, spotlighting Middle Eastern filmmaking talent on the big screen through your smaller one.

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This week marks Fingal Inclusion Week, an initiative led by Fingal County Council and the Fingal Public Participation Network. Over 35 events will take place across the County of Fingal from Monday 16th November to Saturday 21st November, all of which are free to attend and open to all.

As part of Fingal Inclusion Week this year, the Bleeding Pig Film Festival in association with the Bleeding Pig Cultural Festival, are presenting a free online programme of short Irish films. These shorts are about shifting attitudes, highlighting gender and LGBT issues in Ireland, include comedy and drama alike, presenting different perspectives under a common theme- the importance of acceptance and inclusion.

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With new releases thin on the ground once again, during November Film In Dublin are revisiting some notable releases during 2020 that we haven’t yet had the chance to review. In this Review Round-Up, we’re looking at a pair of films available now on Netflix that are essential viewing. Expect more recommendations in the next few weeks of films from this year that are worth accelerating up to the top of your catch-up list.

 

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From ‘what is Rosebud?’ to ‘what is the Matrix?’, film has a long tradition of using compelling questions to hook in audiences. An air of fascination and mystery, well harnessed, can be as strong a pull into theatre seats as any dazzling movie star or cutting-edge technology. But in our modern world, where more jaded viewers can have most of their questions answered at the press of a button – correctly or otherwise – and where the sheer saturation of information at all times means we are up to speed with all major media whether we ever intend to watch it or not, a new question is increasingly successful at hooking in potential movie viewers:

 

“What the fuck was that?”

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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.

An award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer, Maureen O’Connell is a recognisable name to anyone with an eye on the Irish film scene. Her short films, wide ranging comedies like Meitherhood or the 1916-themed Proclaim! are regular selections for any solid Irish festival programme. More recently, the director’s comedy feature Spa Weekend has been a hit at festivals home and abroad, screening in British and Irish festivals and last year winning the ‘She Is On Fire’ Award at the Female Filmmakers Festival in Berlin.

Keeping that fire lit, Maureen O’Connell is now organising the first Dublin International Comedy Film Festival. Taking place online from December 3rd and 4th, the festival promises to offer some much-needed winter levity with a selection of short and feature films.

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As we continue through lockdown, we continue at Film In Dublin to cast our net wider across the country, spotlighting some of the great festivals taking place outside our home county. Though this year they, as so many, have to go all-virtual, the Waterford Film Festival has a considerable pedigree. Now in its 14th year, the festival ought to be taking place in-person at the Central Arts Hall, but sadly the venue closed its doors permanently earlier this year, a sobering sign of what is at stake for arts and entertainment venues across the country.

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Director: Remi Weekes Starring: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith Running Time: 93 minutes


A war-torn nation. A fleeing family. A crammed boat. A daughter in the water.

Harrowing images flash across the screen as His House begins, traumas that haunt the subjects of English director Remi Weekes’ debut feature well before any ghosts get involved. Bol Majur (Gangs of London‘s Sope Dirisu) is racked by nightmares, as he and his wife Rial (Wunmi Mosaku of Lovecraft County) await asylum in a centre in England, having fled from South Sudan. The daughter of their flashbacks, Nyagak, is no longer with them. Newly distributed by Netflix, His House deals with deeply-rooted fears, the traditional ghost story used to frame a migrant experience, of what it  might cost to wrench yourself free of your home, and of the things carried over even as you try to start anew.

 

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A Halloween spent in lockdown is the perfect time to feast upon the quintessential horror classics that we all love to fear. Whether it’s the head spinning experience of re-watching The Exorcist or binge watching the good, the bad, and the very ugliest of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, we all know how to tell a safe bet from a dodgy Netflix choice just as well as we can tell a good piece of chocolate from an unwanted apple in a trick or treat bag.

 

But what about the films that have slipped through the cracks? There are many reasons why certain horror films haven’t received the attention they deserve. A lack of advertising, coming out at the wrong time of the year, or maybe because for lots of cinema goers one or two scary films a year is more than enough. For the films on this list however, the reason why you’ve probably never seen them has nothing to do with their quality. These are some of the lesser known but  better placed fright fests to satiate your Halloween sweet tooth on this spooky stay at home weekend. This list is not to be confused with an “underrated horror films” selection. That’s an interesting but separate discussion. The films on this list were generally well received critically, but they unfortunately just never seemed to get the reach that they deserved. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be bombarded with a universe of existential horror you probably haven’t yet heard about.

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Director: Ben Wheatley Starring: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristen Scott-Thomas Running Time: 121 minutes


 

Did Netflix, one wonders, agree to distribute a fresh adaptation of Rebecca out of a higher-up’s affection for the source material, or a canny belief that it would make fertile ground to grow acclaim and awards? Or having run the numbers, one might continue to wonder, did they determine that the beautiful faces of stars Lily James and Armie Hammer would be suitably alluring to get subscribers to click on them, and that the title was recognisable enough to squeeze out a week or two in the ‘Trending Now’ tab? The mind tends to do a lot of wandering while trying to take in this latest adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s literary classic, a disappointingly vacant ‘return to Mandalay’ from creative forces that seem to have spent little time in the grounds of this story on their first go around. The result feels like a perfume advert that overstays its welcome to the tune of two hours; stale and lingering.
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