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Galway Film Fleadh 2019 Reveals First Titles

Irish Western Never Grow Old – starring John Cusack and Emile Hirsch – will close the 31st Galway Film Fleadh taking place from July 9 – 14.

Described as a terrific old-fashioned western with exciting fast-paced action, the film was shot in Connemara. The region stands in for the infamous California trail during the 1849 gold rush, where anything can happen and loyalties spin like the barrel of a gun. 

Never Grow Old centres on Patrick Tate (Hirsch), an Irish undertaker who profits when outlaws (led by Cusack) take over a peaceful American frontier town. However, his family eventually comes under threat as the death toll rises. The movie marks director Ivan Kavanagh’s return to the Fleadh following his 2014 film The Canal

A double bill starring Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey) and James Marsters (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer): A Bread Factory, Part One and A Bread Factory, Part Two show that American indie cinema is alive and well. Director Patrick Wang makes another return to the Fleadh following the success of previous features In the Family and The Grief of Others.

The movies follow Dorothea and Greta, who, 40 years ago transformed an abandoned bread factory in the sleepy town of Checkford, turning it into a vibrant arts space. It quickly became the heart of their local community, showcasing theatre, dance, music and film.

Suddenly their very existence is threatened as a suspicious big business celebrity couple with questionable motivations move into town and construct an enormous competitive arts venue, sucking up funding and audiences overnight. Four-time Emmy winner Daly will attend the Fleadh to present this comic, touching double bill. 

Also to screen is black comedy Extra Ordinary, directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman. The story follows a driving instructor. She must use her supernatural gifts to save a lonely man’s daughter from an aging rock star hoping to use her for satanic sacrifice. It stars comedian Maeve Higgins, Will Forte (Saturday Night Live, Nebraska) and Barry Ward (Maze, Jimmy’s Hall). 

The Irish Film Institute returns to the Fleadh with Glimpses of Galway. This is a new programme of archival films made in and about the county. These snapshots of Irish life range from the silent movie era in the 1920’s, right through to the 1970’s and include rarely-seen amateur and professional footage. The screening will be accompanied by live music and introduced by the IFI’s Sunniva O’Flynn. 

Another screening My Foolish Heart also has a strong Galway connection. It’s a modern noir film starring the county’s own Steve Wall (The Hole in the Ground). He plays jazz legend Chet Baker.

This year the Fleadh will also honour French New Wave pioneer, Agnès Varda who passed away earlier in 2019. The festival will screen six of her legendary films alongside her latest. These include Cléo de 5 à 7, a classic capturing Paris at the height of the 60s focusing on a singer whose life is in turmoil. 

L’une chante l’autre pas traces the intertwined lives of two women during the struggle of the 1970’s French women’s movement, with which Varda was personally involved. Vagabond includes an unforgettable performance from Sandrine Bonnaire as the free-spirited titular figure who wanders through the Languedoc-Roussillon wine country one winter.

The Gleaners & I features interviews by Varda with all types of gleaners in France, from those picking fields after the harvest to those scouring the dumpsters of Paris. La Pointe Courte is Agnès Varda’s directorial debut which the festival say remains as fresh and original as the day it was made. It will screen before Varda par Agnès, Varda’s last film, completed just before her death. Here she sheds light on her experience as a director, bringing personal insight to what she calls, ‘cine-writing’, travelling from Rue Daguerre in Paris to Los Angeles and Beijing.

Speaking about the selection of films, Galway Film Fleadh CEO Miriam Allen said in a statement: “We are delighted to announce these films. We hope they will whet the appetite of our audiences for the variety of cinema screening at Galway in July.”  

These are just the first titles revealed to screen at the county’s acclaimed annual film festival. The full programme will be released June 25.

To book tickets for the films, click here.

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