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With the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival kicking off next week, anticipation is building for a few weeks of exciting screenings, intriguing events and of course, the DIFF Discovery Award. The Discovery Award at identifies, supports and encourages new and emerging talent in the Irish film industry, both in front of and behind the camera. Thirteen emerging talents have been nominated for this year’s Award, with the winner to be announced on the closing day of the festival, Sunday 8 March, 2020. Ahead of the beginning of DIFF, Film In Dublin reached out to some of the nominees to get a better sense of their creative influences, nominated works and views on the industry today.

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Sass Mouth Dames celebrates woman’s pictures from 1929-1959, a genre in classic Hollywood which regarded women’s stories as important and meaningful. Megan McGurk regularly hosts both the Sass Mouth Dames podcast and the Sass Mouth Dames Film Club, discussing, distributing and celebrating prominent fixtures in female films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The latest series of Sass Mouth Dames will be kicking off screenings in Dublin in March 2020.

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Located just on the South Circular Road, The Circular is a bar and grill that offers craft beer, pizza and now a bit of cinema too, via their Rialto Cinema Club. Every week they’ll be showing a variety of films, with some intriguing deep cuts on the menu for the weeks ahead. It’s sure to make for an entertaining addition to screenings taking place throughout the fair city of film.

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Founded in 2009 by Hannah Neurotica, Women In Horror Month is an international grassroots initiative that assists female genre artists in gaining opportunities, exposure, and education through various events, printed material, articles, interviews, and online support. The vision is a world wherein all individuals are equally given the opportunity to create, share, and exploit their concept of life, pain, and freedom of expression. Every February, WiHM supporters host events (blood drives, film screenings, art shows), write blogs and articles, conduct interviews, and create videos and podcasts for mass consumption, and over the last number of years has been a regular part of the calendar here in the fair city of film. Womxn in Horror Month Ireland are hosting a number of events this month.

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Director: Bong Joon-ho Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Chang Hyae-jin Running Time: 132 minutes

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The long anticipated Parasite from acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho has arrived on Irish big screens right at the end of what has turned out to be an incredible run of Oscar contenders. While in many ways the Academy Awards could well be regarded as an over inflated industry award, it is difficult not to get caught up in all of the fuss surrounding what is unquestionably the most notable event of the year in film. Similarly, while it might make more sense to maintain objectivity when reviewing films, it’s often challenging to suspend your own excitement for films that you’ve been personally routing for. On it’s own merit, I had been eagerly anticipating the release of Parasite for months. As someone who was first introduced to the now well-established perceptive craft of Bong Joon-ho since The Host in 2006, I was even more delighted that his latest work seemed to be getting the level of international traction that many South Korean films in the last year have undeservedly lacked. Casting memory back through the last couple of years, there seems to have been at least one highly impressive hit coming out of the country every year. In 2016 there was Train to Busan, a frantic and kinetic zombie movie tracking the desperation of a father and daughter to escape a lethal viral outbreak. In 2017 there was Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, a stylish period thriller that picked up the BAFTA for Best Film Not In The English Language. Then there was Lee Chang-dong’s Burning in 2018, a slow burning psychological mystery. All of these features could more than match the weight of any Oscar winning Hollywood films in recent years, but many were regrettably limited to selected art house screenings.

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The 92nd edition of the Academy Awards took place last night, and amid much speculation and fanfare, ̶S̶i̶n̶n̶ ̶F̶é̶i̶n̶ ̶w̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶i̶g̶ ̶w̶i̶n̶n̶e̶r̶s̶   Parasite was the big winner on the night, adding a surprise Best Picture win to victories in the categories of Best International Feature, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director for Bong Joon-ho. On a night where Ireland’s own Eímear Noone conducted the ceremony, there was the usual mix of overdue wins, rambling speeches and head-scratching choices, but the successes for Parasite will ensure that cranks like Film In Dublin’s head writer still talk about the Oscars while insisting they’re not important.

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Directors: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence Running Time: 124 minutes

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It isn’t much of an exaggeration to call the Bad Boys series to date some of the most hateful films ever to make it to the multiplex. Bad Boys II was particularly repugnant; a cruel, homophobic, racist, cynical indulgence in all of the worst excesses of director Michael Bay, mindless and reactionary even by 2003 standards. That’s on top of incoherent action and grimly repeated buddy cop tropes, just about jolted into life by the chemistry of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Action movies have moved on, and most big budget blockbusters at least try to hide it when they have fascistic overtones or adolescent sensibilities. So seventeen years later and with its stars both in very different places in their careers, was there any good reason to resurrect these crass cops, besides their sworn oath to be bad boys til’ they die? Improbably, yes. This is very much the post Hot Fuzz vision of Bad Boys, its ludicrous macho bullshit has been exposed so thoroughly but so lovingly since by films like Edgar Wright’s that the only real way to move forward is to acknowledge and embrace the OTT tropes. Like a lot of aging franchises, For Life asks the question if it’s old gunslingers still have any gas left in the tank. Then, to raucous effect, it blows up that tank, doubling down on every excess and wallowing in something wonderfully wild.

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Director: Robert Eggers Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe Running Time: 109 minutes

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Flying witches, talking goats, mystical seagulls. That’s only a select few of the mad and intriguing things that director Robert Eggers has brought to his first two feature films; 2015’s The Witch and, now, The Lighthouse. There is no doubt that Eggers likes to challenge cinema goers or, more accurately, create stories that demand attention and encourage debate. A straightforward cinema experience is not something you are going to get here, but you are, without a doubt, the better for that. With The Lighthouse, Eggers delivers an atmospheric psychological thriller unlike any other you’ll see all year. This is an intoxicating, feverish, unnerving and often hilarious experience and one that will have fans ruminating on its messages for years.

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Directors: Josh & Bennie Safdie Starring: Adam Sandler, Eric Bogosian, Idina Menzel, Kevin Garnett, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield Running Time: 135 minutes

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With a career littered by the likes of The WaterboyBilly Madison, and Happy Gilmore, it’s fair to say that Adam Sandler isn’t a name that’s been synonymous with the Awards season in film. It’s never been the case that lowbrow slapstick comedies have been the only thing that Sandler could come up with, but such films seem to be his career’s signature. There are parts of this that have always been endearing to me- for example, his loyal tendency to give his close friends consistent work, even through (at times) offensively rubbish pieces like Grown Ups 2. Notwithstanding this likable fidelity, Sandler has far too often had his name attached to horrendous, Golden Raspberry bait, with 2011’s Jack and Jill being a notable lowlight.

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