JDIFF – Whiskey and Film, What more could you want?

Posted on February 1, 2010

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This article originally appeared on Totally Dublin’s website in Event/Festival Listings.

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Our favourite annual excuse to skull whiskey in the back seat of the Savoy, the Jameson Dublin Film Festival is on its way back to our silver screens next month from the 18th – 28th February. Launched in Dublin last night with a shiny, happy shindig in Tripod Bar, Harcourt Street (which we were definitely at), the programme for the festival is a cocktail of the star-studded and the arthouse.

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The programme was announced by Brendan Gleeson and Nora Jane Noone with just hours to spare before box office opening at midnight, by which time the residents in Tripod were probably so anaesthetised with Jameson that they were contemplating skipping across the road to Coppers. Opening the festival this year is Neil Jordan’s Ondine, starring everyone’s favourite scuzzy cad, Colin Farrell. Other highlights include a season celebrating Kristin Scott Thomas’ French film work (which explains why we haven’t seen a whole lot of her, of late); three films featuring Patricia Clarkson; and the Closing Gala of I Am Love with director Luca Guadagnino and actress Tilda Swinton in attendance. Other guests will include Ciarán Hinds (Life During Wartime), director Kirk Jones (Everybody’s Fine) and Oscar winner Fernando Trueba (The Dancer and the Thief), among others.

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The festival likes to wave its diversity flag quite erratically and thus every genre of filmmaking from documentary, drama, foreign and archival footage is given screen space. Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys stated “With special seasons from Russia and Korea, an increased focus on documentary and classic films, our Irish film season, a retrospective of Kenneth Anger, a celebration of the film music of Nino Rota, and new films from famed filmmakers such Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton and Woody Allen, I hope we have found something for everyone.” So do we, Gráinne.

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The Russian film season will challenge audience perceptions of Russian cinema (I didn’t know we had any perceptions of it but how and ever). It includes the Sundance award-winning Mermaid; spiritual parable The Island, and the film that has been described as the Iron Curtain version of Hairspray, the colourful and lively Hipsters! And still, it doesn’t sound half as scary as Zac Efron’s proposed lead role in a Saturday Night Fever remake.

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Similarly, the Korean season includes Academy Award submission Mother; the original and quirky Castaway on the Moon (which I highly doubt stars Tom Hanks or Jim Carey…) and gangster film Breathless, considered by many to be one of the best Korean films in years.

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The Real to Reel season will feature Arts Council Reel Art Documentaries by Fergus Daly, Katherine Waugh and Jimmy Murakami, as well as Sundance nominated, Doors’ documentary When You’re Strange, because the Doors could probably write a book on that sentiment.

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The Irish Talent Spotlight, currently in its third year will showcase work from director Conor Horgan whose documentary The Beholder will receive its world premier at Jameson, along with a screening of his feature One Hundred Mornings. IFTA nominated actor Darren Healy’s Savage will also be screened along with cinematographer Kate McCullough’s Sundance acclaimed His & Hers. There will also be a panel discussion regarding representations of Ireland on screen (Aye, begorrah!) which Horgan, Healy and McCullough will be members of, so try to think of some dodgy questions and watch the panel squirm.

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Following the sad passing of Michael Dwyer earlier this year, Grainne Humphreys states: “We acknowledge our friend and colleague Michael Dwyer by dedicating this year’s festival to his memory and by presenting a season of films to celebrate his life”. A stalwart in Irish film, Dwyer founded the Dublin Film Festival in the mid 80s. When this festival ran into financial difficulty he was instrumental in the founding of its successor, the Dublin International Film Festival, which is now sponsored by, you guessed it, Jameson. The 2010 Festival is dedicated to his memory with a selection of films including My Beautiful Laundrette and The Best of Youth, paying testament to the influential reviewer’s passion for the cinema.

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In addition to all of this, Irish audiences will have the opportunity to get a First Look at some of the upcoming movies of 2010 (and subsequently ruin them for everyone else via the internet), including Drew Barrymore’s first feature Whip It!, Tim Burton’s eagerly anticipated Alice in Wonderland 3D, (once again starring Burton’s go-to-guy, Johnny Depp, as the Mad Hatter and looking a hell of a lot creepier than I remember that character being in the Disney version…) and Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant. Irish audiences will have particular interest in the screening of Atom Egoyan’s Chloe, starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried. Neeson was filming the last of his scenes in March last year when he suffered the tragic loss of his wife, Natasha Richardson through a skiing accident, causing a delay in filming. Neeson has since stated that he is taking a break from acting.

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With the launch of the 8th Jameson International Film festival also comes the news that Jameson have renewed their sponsorship agreement until 2012, a factor which not only means more whiskey at the events but also that the organisers don’t have to worry about prying money from anyone else until 2012 by which time we might have kicked this recession a bit closer to the kerb. With over 100 films from over 30 countries packed into 11 days, the city of Dublin is set to be bustling with activity: world premieres, film discussions and other unique events. You’re either going to be knackered and broke, or, well, there isn’t really any alternative to those two these days, is there? You might even spot the odd film star wandering around Grafton Street. And if not, Totally Dublin will be covering the 11 day festival in excruciating detail. Log on to www.totallydublin.ie to follow our coverage.

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For more information on the 8th Jameson International Film Festival and how to purchase tickets, visit http://www.jdiff.com/ or call: +353 1 672 8861. Tickets are currently on sale. Book early to avoid disappointment.

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Posted in: Reviews