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artwork by Amy Lauren McGrath

It has, somehow, been a year. And while this year hasn’t allowed us to seek refuge in front of the big screen as often as we might like, and though many of the most anticipated releases of the last twelve months have been deferred to 202-dot-dot-dot-question-mark, we still have been able to enjoy some truly exceptional films at a time when we really needed them. Using Irish release dates, the Film In Dublin team have come together to pick out ten of the best of 2020. Films that helped us to escape. Films that served as a funnel to feel through *all this*. Films with pet hyenas in them. So a broad spectrum as always.

What films made your own personal Best of 2020 list? As ever, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or hit us up on Twitter and Instagram and let us know what movies moved you over the last year, and let us know what you make of the list below.

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A new film festival in Dublin dedicated to comedy promises offers up some much needed winter levity with an online programme of films and live stand-up acts. A mix of films and live comedy will take place at the first Dublin International Comedy Film Festival next month. Some of our Ireland’s top comedic talent on screen and off will share new shorts, features, sketches and stand-up.

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Director: Ron Howard Starring: Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Frieda Pinto Running Time: 115 minutes


Sometimes ignorance is bliss. No matter how honestly one might believe that the Oscars are not the be-all-and-end-all of filmmaking, the ceremony remains impossible to avoid in the world of film. It can be a black hole that sucks in all quality discussion of the subject. Once familiar with the term ‘Oscar bait’, the industry within an industry that farms out forgettable, pandering, dull dramas purely to snag award nominations, it’s a bell that cannot be un-rung. A third, more cynical eye opens. It becomes just a little harder to judge certain films on their own merits, to become immersed in the nuances of an actor’s performance and not the narrative over their worthiness or whether they are ‘due’ their big win. Increasingly, every year the Oscar season also quickly picks out an ‘enemy’ among the frontrunners, from La La Land to Jokerthe discussion around the films, quality or otherwise, becomes slightly weighted; talk about whether the films would be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ winners taking on an ethical meaning as much as a qualitative one. The whole discourse can become it’s own self-perpetuating headache.

It’s actually a comfort then, when the Oscar Bait isn’t just middle-of-the-road but rather veers wildly off the road and into a lake where it sinks to the bottom with the rest of the miserable shite. As is the case with Hillbilly Elegy.

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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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