February at the Irish Film Institute (IFI)
This February, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) welcomes Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite (pictured), Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and documentaries Jihad Jane, Talking About Trees and Midnight Family. An Alejandro Jodorowsky season will also take place throughout the month, screening seven of the cult filmmaker’s masterpieces, plus documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.
The IFI’s Alejandro Jodorowsky: Endless Poetry season, which opens on Wednesday 5, includes 4K restorations of Fando and Lis (1968), El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973), bringing to life the surrealist colours of his fantasy worlds. Jodorowsky’s avant-garde horror film Santa Sangre (1989) and his sixth feature film The Rainbow Thief (1990) starring Peter O’Toole will also screen.
These cult classics are accompanied by contemporary work The Dance of Reality (2013) and Endless Poetry (2016). Meanwhile Frank Pavich’s 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune dives deeper into the filmmaker’s process, examining Jodorowsky’s failed attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel Dune for the screen in the mid-70s.
From Friday 7 comes South Korean comedy-thriller Parasite, nominated for six Oscars. A sold-out preview screening on Monday 3 will be followed by a satellite Q&A with director Bong Joon Ho. Winner of Best Foreign Language Film at the recent 77th Golden Globe Awards, Bong’s story about two very different families has received almost universal critical acclaim.
A winner for Best Actress at Cannes, Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe screens from Friday 21. Starring Emily Beecham, the film centres on a plant breeder whose new species can effect emotional change in its owner. Another dystopian sci-fi story can be found in this month’s Bigger Picture selection. This is Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, chosen by broadcaster Rick O’Shea who will introduce the film on Tuesday 25.
For Valentine’s Day, the IFI is screening a preview of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, ahead of its release on Friday 28. Winner of the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay awards at Cannes, and the opening film of the 20th IFI French Film Festival in November, the 18th century drama sees the relationship between a painter and her muse unfold.
There is also a special screening of Sciamma’s drama scheduled for Friday 28, when there is an opportunity to enjoy a tour in the National Gallery, exploring the history of gender and sexuality through their collection, before heading to the IFI to watch the film. Another LGBT story coming to screens this month, and previewing on Valentine’s Day, is Lucio Castro’s drama End of the Century, in which a casual encounter leads to something more as the two men at its centre realise they have met before.
Adaptations old and new come to the IFI this February. The film of Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire returns starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando. This 1951 classic is also the Feast Your Eyes pick of the month in the IFI Café Bar on Tuesday 11.
On Thursday 20, meanwhile, the IFI will broadcast the National Theatre Live production of Cyrano de Bergerac. Starring James McAvoy in the title role, it is a new adaptation by Martin Crimp (Attempts on Her Life), directed by Jamie Lloyd.
Presented in association with the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) to mark James Joyce’s birthday on Sunday 2, Happy Birthday, Mr Joyce! will showcase Alan Gilsenan’s feature length Ulysses | Film and Dave Tynan’s short Wake the Streets. This month’s From the Vaults programme focuses on Oscar-nominated filmmaker Patrick Carey (1916-1994), whose works Waves, Reflections Ireland, and Errigal will screen. A number of Carey’s films will also become available to view on the IFI Player in February.
This month’s crime-thrillers include both drama rooted in true stories and documentary. Oscar nominee Agnieszka Holland’s new film Mr Jones is released from Friday 7. Based on the real journey of ambitious Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, the film follows his attempt to halt the mass starvation in Ukraine, as imposed by Stalin.
Irish co-production Jihad Jane, the debut feature documentary from Ciaran Cassidy, follows the true story of a radicalised American woman arrested on terrorist charges in Waterford. A preview screening on Thursday 13t will be followed by a Q&A with the director, hosted by RTÉ broadcaster Claire Byrne.
Luke Lorentzen’s documentary Midnight Family depicts the struggle of a family who run a private ambulance in Mexico City, where the government operates fewer than 45 ambulances for a population of 9 million. Todd Haynes’s drama/eco-terror Dark Waters dramatises small town versus big business divisions, turning environmental chaos into a courtroom thriller based on the true story of corporate lawyer Rob Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo).
Other documentaries coming to screens this month include David Crosby: Remember My Name, produced by Cameron Crowe, featuring the legendary musician confronting the mortality of his rock and roll lifestyle, and Talking About Trees, which follows four Sudanese filmmakers as they attempt to revive cinema-going in a town outside Khartoum. Finally, this month’s IFI & aemi screening on Wednesday 19 is Pat O’Neill’s experimental 1989 documentary Water and Power, touching on the timely clash between industry and nature.
Tickets for all new releases and special events are on sale now from the IFI Box Office on (01) 6793477 and from www.ifi.ie.