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The programme for the 33rd edition of the Galway Film Fleadh has been revealed tonight. This year one of Ireland’s biggest film festivals returns, offering an intriguing mix of Irish and international cinema from July 20 – 25th. The Galway Film Fleadh 2021 will offer a selection of films and events on the big screen, outdoors, and online.

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Director: Armando Iannucci Starring: Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin Running Time: 107 minutes

For years with both The Thick of It and Veep, Armando Iannucci has brilliant and bitterly skewed the nature of politicians in the West, bumbling self-servingly from scandal to scandal, always better equipped at putting down each other than accomplishing anything on their own. Applying that style of satire to Soviet Russia seems like a recipe for great comedy, but the stakes are rather different in a political climate where no one is allowed to admit that scandals ever happened and putting down political rivals meant a few feet underground rather than a few creatively chosen swear words. Staging the aftermath of Josef Stalin’s death similarly to the events of an episode of one of those programmes results in a black comedy that’s frequently very funny, but the satire here has a somber note too. That the people in charge of a superpower could be as arrogant and incompetent as those shuffled off to The Thick of It‘s Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship has some fairly chilling implications. Thank Christ we don’t have to worry about anything like that these days.

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Director: Tom Ford Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhall, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson Running Time: 116 minutes

A family on a road trip is run off the road by a car of dangerous, drunk men. The score goes deathly silent. There are many voices, but everything is shot in darkness and we don’t know half of the characters and everyone is talking over each other. It’s disorienting. Faux-friendliness and sudden social rules set up to be arbitrarily broken. And punished. Fake offense. Say the wrong thing and get in trouble. Say nothing and get in trouble. It’s a nightmare scenario we all fear, some more than others, one where everything goes wrong at once and it’s impossible to keep track of the situation as it spins rapidly out of control. Suddenly, Jake Gyllenhall is outside his car and his wife, teenage daughter and the dangerous drunk men are inside. The men drive away. Lives are ruined and ended. The audience’s stomachs collectively drop out.

But it isn’t real. It’s just a story Amy Adams is reading. But then that isn’t real either. It’s all still tense and horrifying. It’s Nocturnal Animals.

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