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Director: Charlie Kaufman Starring: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis Running Time: 134 minutes


 

Charlie Kaufman has never been one to shy away from unconventional projects. While his directorial debut came with Synecdoche New York in 2008, Kaufman made his bones in screenplay, penning Being John Malkovich in 1999, while perhaps being best remembered for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind five years later. Throughout this eclectic filmography has been a strong theme of existential uncertainty and metaphysical pondering. There’s also been a fair share of Kaufman’s work being referential to pop culture, sometimes satirical, sometimes more serious. Among these rather confounding patterns however stands a more clear characterisation of Kaufman. That is, his understanding and appreciation of storytelling stems from his impressive communicative abilities in the written form. To those most familiar with his career, he will likely be seen as someone who is best equipped to deliver if he grounds his film in an expertly crafted script. No doubt, this talent is one that Kaufman appears well versed in. Here however, on the back of films like Synecdoche New York that were famously difficult for audiences to penetrate, his task as a more deeply involved film maker requires a more balanced and nuanced skill-set.

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Director: Patty Jenkins Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Robin Wright, Connie Nielson, Elena Anaya  Running Time: 141 minutes


It seems bizarre that a character with the history and popularity of Wonder Woman would have to wait some 75 years before getting her own feature film. One of the arguments that would come up a lot as to why that is, in some comics circles at least, is that Wonder Woman is a “difficult” character to get right, with her unusual origin, grab-bag elements, lack of memorable villains etc, etc. But the Wonder Woman movie shows that in the right hands, the hands of a woman director with freedom and a vision for what she wants the character to represent, it doesn’t have to be difficult at all. In fact, it finds the DC approach of its characters as mythic icons much easier than previous entries to the stuttering ‘expanded universe’ so far. As it turns out, calling your superheroes gods is much less eyeroll-worthy when they’re literally gods, and what helps Wonder Woman stand out among the legions and legions of superhero properties is that it taps into what makes its character iconic and inspirational.

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The Academy Award nominated film Anomalisa will open the Dublin Animation Film Festival, which takes place at the Pavilion Theatre in Dún Laoghaire at 12pm on the 22nd October 2016. Director Duke Johnson will take part in a Q and A following the film, before an afternoon showcasing new talents in Irish animation.

Co-directed by Johnson and Charlie Kaufman, stop-motion film Anomalisa is the story of an introverted customer service agent who perveives everyone around him as looking like the same unexceptional man, including his wife and child. This continues until he meets a unique-appearing women in a Cincinnati hotel. Featuting the voices of David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan, Anomalisa was nominated for the Best Animated Feature for 2015 Academy Awards. Duke Johnson was no stranger to melancholy animation before working with Kaufman, having previously directed episodes of grim Adult Swim show Moral Orel and the Emmy winning stop-motion Community episode Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas. 

Following Anomalisa will be a series of short animated films from Ireland and abroad, before the festival culminates in the DAFF2016 awards ceremony. The festival ceremony will include an award for ‘The Spirit of 1916’, as well as an Audience Choice award in association with festival sponsor Mutiny Sound. Tickets are available now from the Pavilion Theatre, with the Anomalisa screening costing €8. The short film screenings and award ceremony are free of charge, but advanced booking is advised, so for those hoping to see the next great Irish animators, don’t wait around.