February at the IFI
Following a packed January, February at the IFI shows no signs of slowing down with a visit from a legendary director, new Irish documentaries with Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, plus two new Oscar-nominated dramas.
On Friday 8, the IFI will welcome Kenneth Branagh for a Q&A following a screening of All Is True. Branagh, who most recently appeared at the IFI in Christopher Nolan’s 70mm epic Dunkirk, directs and stars in this new film which focuses on Shakespeare’s later years as he returns to his home in Stratford-upon-Avon following the destruction of his beloved Globe Theatre. There, he must confront both his estranged family and the unresolved grief resulting from the death of his 11-year-old son. Branagh will be in conversation with Donald Clarke of The Irish Times.
February also brings the IFI’s annual collaboration with Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, which this year sees the return of Careers In Screen Day on Thursday 28 following last year’s inaugural event. The day, aimed at Senior Cycle second-level students aged 15 to 18, is an opportunity for students to hear from a whole variety of industry practitioners, to learn about their work, how they got there and what advice they might give to young people starting out. The first confirmed guests for 2019 are Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson and Emmy-winning costume designer Consolata Boyle.
Also screening as part of the VMDIFF 2019 programme are two new Irish documentaries, funded via the Arts Council’s Reel Art scheme. Feargal Ward and Adrian Duncan’s Floating Structures examines ethereal buildings across central and southern Europe which draw on the ideas and visions of the great Irish architect Peter Rice.
Meanwhile Paul Duane’s What Time Is Death? centres on Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, formerly of Brit electro duo The KLF, as they construct ‘The People’s Pyramid’, a structure whose bricks are manufactured from people’s remains. Both screenings will be followed by Q&As with the directors.
As part of the Chinese New Year Festival, the IFI, in association with the East Asia Film Festival Ireland, presents a screening of Yuan Qing’s Three Adventures of Brooke. The film, which screened at last year’s Venice Film Festival, is a delicate and playful feature that introduces us to Brooke, a young woman from Beijing who has three separate encounters on the same day in the same place but who assumes a different fictional identity each time.
The Irish Focus screening for February is the latest film from acclaimed playwright Paul Mercier. We Ourselves is a formally unconventional film dealing with the lives of a group of seven friends over a period of more than two decades. In consecutive monologues, the film tells the story of Irish characters who worked together in Germany before separating to develop their individual lives and careers. The cast includes Seána Kerslake, Catherine Walker, Aidan Gillen and Declan Conlon, and the screening on Feb 13 will be followed by a Q&A with Paul Mercier and guests.
Barry Jenkins follows-up the triumphant Oscar-winning Moonlight with his touching Oscar-nominated drama If Beale Street Could Talk, which centres on a couple whose young romantic life is thrown into disarray by a miscarriage of justice. A special Valentine’s Day preview of the film will take place on Thursday 14.
Also heading to the Oscars, as a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, is Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum which screens from Friday 22. This emotive drama follows a young boy who sues his parents for bringing him into a world that has shown him so little love and such considerable hardship. Anchored by a mesmerising performance from young actor Zain al Rafeea, Capernaum won the Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Other new releases in February include Lee Chang-Dong’s acclaimed Burning, Joel Edgerton’s gay conversion drama Boy Erased and Matthew Heineman’s A Private War featuring Rosamund Pike as the late war correspondent Marie Colvin. Plus there is a re-release of Preston Sturges’s classic The Lady Eve starring Barbara Stanwyck.
The IFI’s Archive at Lunchtime strand continues its look back at Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated Irish shorts with free screenings every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. This month’s selection includes Martin McDonagh’s Six Shooter, Nicky Phelan’s Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Cathal Gaffney’s Give Up Yer Aul Sins, Peter McDonald’s Pentecost, and Juanita Wilson’s The Door. More information on the Archive at Lunchtime programme is available from here.
Dr Megan McGurk of Dublin’s Sass Mouth Dames Film Club will introduce the cinema’s Bigger Picture slot on Tuesday 12, a screening of Victor Fleming’s pre-code Red Dust starring Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. This steamy smash hit from 1932 sees Gable play the manager of a rubber plantation who first has an affair with Vantine (Harlow), before seducing Barbara Willis, played by Mary Astor.
Finally, for foodies, the great value Meal Deal continues throughout the month. Guests can avail of an IFI Café Bar main course and any standard screening ticket for just €19. The IFI also has a very special Valentine’s offer on February 14 with a three-course dinner for two plus a bottle of Frizzante for just €35 per person. Full details of the menu can be found here.
Tickets for all events are now on sale from the cinema’s website, aside from the VMDIFF 2019 Reel Art screenings which are only available from Virgin Media DIFF by following this link. Meanwhile, Valentine’s Night dinner can be booked at the IFI Café Bar on 01-6798712 or [email protected].