Freedom fighters, travelogs, scholars, and lovers
Galway Film Society unveils autumn/winter season
By Kernan Andrews
NORTH AFRICAN and French films will feature strongly in the new Galway Film Society autumn/winter season programme, which runs from September 23 to December 9 at the Town Hall Theatre.
Film goers can look forward to seeing stars like Audrey Tautou and Gael Garcia Bernal and films directed by Ismael Ferroukhi and Benicio del Toro.
The season starts on September 23 with Danish film A Royal Affair. Doctor Johann Friedrich Struensee accompanies Christian VII on the monarch’s 1768 trip around Europe and is made the king’s personal physician. However Struensee, with Queen Caroline Mathilde, increasingly takes over state affairs to the benefit of the people - press freedom, abolition of torture and serfdom, reforms the school system. The aristocrats, however, are opposed, and put the doctor on trial. The film won a Silver Bear at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival.
The GFS will show two films on September 30. The first is German/Moroccan film On The Edge at 5.45pm. Badia is a rebellious young woman who refuses to accept the limitations put upon her by contemporary Moroccan society. However her rebellious streak leads her into a life of crime that has unexpected consequences.
Then that evening, Algerian movie The Repentant, set in the late 1990s, will be screened. The Algerian government attempts to end years of terrorism by offering jihadists amnesty leading to former fighters registering with the authorities as ‘repentants’.
One such ‘repentant’ is Rachid who gets a job in a café and appears to be fitting into normal life - but is he really sorry for what he has done? Can he truly ever leave his terrorist past behind? Find out in a film that is regarded as having performances of stunning emotional depth and complexity, embodying the conflicts raging within its central character.
On October 7 two egotistical Talmudic scholars - who also happen to be father and son - come to blows in Israeli film Footnote. Prof Eliezer Shkolnik has been toiling for years to produce the definitive version of the Talmud while his son enjoys great success with popular books on the subject. Then dad is nominated for a big award and jealousies erupt. The film won awards at the Cannes and Vancouver film festivals and was nominated for an Oscar.
French-Canadian film Monsieur Lazhar sees Bachir Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant seeking political refuge in Quebec, take up a post in a Montreal elementary school, where he forms a friendship with a boy traumatised by his discovery of a dead body and a girl whose interpretation of the event provokes unforeseen revelations. See it on October 14.
Even The Rain sees Gael García Bernal stars as a filmmaker who sets out to make a revisionist drama about the Spanish conquest of the Americas. He casts a local man, Daniel, as the Taíno chieftain who led a rebellion against the Spaniards. Unbeknownst to the director, Daniel is leading his community’s demonstrations against the Government’s decision to privatise water. As the filming progresses, the 1512 rebellion and the 21st-century riots pose new questions about the colonialism on the New World. See it on October 21.
French film star Audrey Tautou plays the lead role in Delicacy which is screened on November 4. A young widow finds two men seeking to be the man in her life - her slick Parisian boss, and a balding, ungainly, nonentity of a man from Sweden. Who will she choose?
Ageing bohemian Marcel Marx befriends Idrissa, a young African immigrant hoping to make his way to England in a shipping container with other illegals. Marx wants to help him but Inspector Monet has no tolerance for what they plan. Find out what happens in Le Havre on November 11.
The Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or East Germany, is the setting for Barbara on November 18. The film’s titular heroine has submitted an application to emigrate to the West but is instead transferred to a hospital in a small town. So, Jörg, her West German boyfriend plans to help her escape via the Baltic Sea. However her new boss André could be an alley or could be a spy. As the day of her planned escape approaches Barbara begins to lose her grip on herself.
Ismael Ferroukhi, director of the wonderful and moving Le Grande Voyage, returns with historical-political drama Free Men, which can be seen on November 25.
It is Paris, 1942, France is occupied by the Germans. Younes, a young illiterate Algerian who lives precariously from the proceeds of small-time black market activity, is arrested by the French police who offer him a deal.
The police suspect that the Great Mosque of Paris has been involved in providing forged ID documents to French Jews and resistance fighters, and they recruit Younes as their spy inside. Once there he finds men and women committed to resistance and Younes develops into a formidable freedom fighter against the Nazis.
The season concludes on December 2 with 7 Days In Havana, a snapshot of the Cuban capital as it is today, told through a single feature-length movie made up of seven chapters, directed by Benicio del Toro, Pablo Trapero, Julio Medem, Elia Suleiman, Gaspar Noé, Juan Carlos Tabío and Laurent Cantet.
Each director, through his own style, has caught the energy and the vitality that makes this city unique. Some have chosen to meet Cuban reality through the eyes of the foreigner far from his familiar points of reference. Others have chosen total immersion and drawn inspiration from the local people.
All films will be shown on Sundays and start at 8.15pm unless otherwise stated. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie