January at the Irish Film Institute (IFI)

As the Christmas decorations are stowed away for another year, it’s time to look ahead to an exciting New Year of cinema. With the best in new Irish and international filmmaking, fascinating documentaries, and a host of special guests, the IFI starts 2019 with something for cinephiles of every stripe.

With awards season now in full swing, January brings a busy slate of awards-tipped films to IFI screens. A trio of sensational performances from Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and the formidable Olivia Colman headline The Favourite (Tues, 1), Yorgos Lanthimos’s delightfully entertaining tale of rivalry at the court of Queen Anne in the early 18th century. Also fancied for Oscar success in February is Peter Farrelly’s Green Book (Weds 30) which stars Viggo Mortensen as a chauffeur hired to drive a renowned African American pianist (Oscar winner Mahershala Ali) around the Deep South in the 1960s.

Adam McKay’s Vice (Fri 25), which leads this year’s Golden Globe nominations, sees Christian Bale play former US Vice President Dick Cheney. Supported by an all-star cast featuring Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell, the film follows in the vein of McKay’s previous film The Big Short with its brash style and unconventional use of cameo performances. Carell also appears this month in Felix von Groeningen’s emotive drama Beautiful Boy (Fri 18) in which he plays a father coping with the fallout of his son’s (Timothée Chalamet) drug addiction.

Awards season is also to the fore with the cinema’s regular free Archive at Lunchtime screenings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. January sees the first of two months dedicated to Irish short films that have been nominated for Hollywood’s most prestigious prize, including Louis Marcus’s Páistí Ag Obair and Conquest of Light, Justin Herman’s Three Kisses, Steph Green’s New Boy, Michael Creagh’s The Crush, and Benjamin Cleary’s Stutterer which won the award for Best Live Action Short in 2016.

In January, the IFI will partner again with both First Fortnight and Tradfest to present exciting programmes around the topics of mental health and Irish traditional culture respectively. The First Fortnight programme will include the Irish premiere of the aforementioned Beautiful Boy, alongside screenings of Belgian film Labyrinthine, powerful documentary Island of Hungry Ghosts, and a selection of family-friendly shorts. The directors of both Labyrinthine and Island of Hungry Ghosts will take part in post-screening Q&As.

The IFI’s collaboration with Tradfest this year takes place over the weekend of Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 with screenings of Cathal Ó Cuaig’s moving documentary about accordionist Tony McMahon, Slán Leis An gCeol (Farewell to Music), and Moira Sweeney’s Starboard Home, a celebration of the Starboard Home album and concerts that celebrated the formative bond between Dublin’s port, city and river through music, song and spoken word. Both screenings will be followed by Q&As.

Following a hugely successful launch event last January, the Night of Ideas returns on Thursday 31 with a screening of Pierre-Emmanuel Le Goff’s 16 Sunrises, which follows French astronaut Thomas Pesquet as he takes off for his first mission in space. The Night of Ideas is a worldwide initiative, spearheaded by Institut Français, that celebrates the constant stream of ideas between countries, cultures, and generations. This screening is presented in association with the French Embassy in Ireland.

Legendary broadcaster Dave Fanning will visit the IFI on Monday 28 to open the series of Bigger Picture screenings for 2019. Fanning will introduce John Ford’s classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which features John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart as two old comrades who reminisce about their efforts to take on the eponymous outlaw, played by Lee Marvin.

Irish filmmaker Tom Burke returns to the big screen on Saturday 5 with a showing of his new documentary Shooting the Darkness. This powerful new film centres on the men who unwittingly became war photographers on the streets of their own Northern Irish towns. Expecting a career of wedding photography and celebrity photocalls, the images they produced would come to define that conflict.

Other events to take place throughout the month include a screening of Paul Anton Smith’s virtuoso supercut Have You Seen My Movie? which combines clips of more than 1,000 scenes that bring the viewer through the glorious experience of going to the movies, and the IFI’s annual screening of John Huston’s The Dead will return on Sunday 6, with an introduction from writer-actor Mark O’Halloran.

Finally, January will also see the first in 2019’s series of screenings with artists’ moving image organisation ‘aemi’ – entitled The Memory-Image. It will present films from Alain Resnais, Mark Leckey, Lucy Raven, and Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer that highlight the peculiar nature of the relationship between memory and media.

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