Subtitle - a feast of European cinema

Three day film festival at the Town Hall

BOX OFFICE smashes from Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden will be screened in a feast of continental cinema at the Town Hall Theatre from January 30 to February 31.

Subtitle - European Film Festival, founded and directed by Richard Cook, will treat Galway to nine films, including award winners, comedies, and sexually charged dramas.

“These are popular European titles that have proved to be very successful in their own countries,” says Cook. “One of the most attractive aspects of Subtitle is that you can binge on a really diverse range of European films in a handful of days. Hopefully punters will come away a little inspired by the quality and range of film-making in countries just a few hundred miles away from ours.”

A Coffee In Berlin

A Coffee In Berlin (Germany, 2012 ), the debut film of director Jan Ole Gerster - who has been compared to Woody Allen - could prove a festival highlight, and there are two chances to see it - Friday January 30 at 8.30pm and Sunday February 1 at 2pm. Nico Fischer is a college drop-out trudging through Berlin and open to any kind of distraction which might help him put off confronting ‘big life issues’. Tom Schilling plays Fischer investing the character with empathy, in a performance that won him numerous awards.

“I’m a fan of all the films obviously,” says Cook, “but I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how A Coffee In Berlin plays in the Town Hall. It’s a low-key Woody Allen-esque film that portrays Berlin almost as a modern day Manhattan. Lovely humour throughout it too.”

The film is in black and white and is being shown in association with the Goethe-Institut Irland.

Other films at Subtitle

The festival opens with Finnish film Frozen Land (2005 ), directed by Aku Louhimies, at 6pm on Friday 30. A schoolteacher is sacked and takes his anger at his situation out on his troubled teenage son. In turn, the boy buys a CD player from a pawnshop with counterfeit money, causing a chain-reaction that wreaks havoc on many lives, as everyone transfers their problems to the next victim.

A distinctly non-PC, gross-out comedy, Klown (2010 ), a huge hit in Denmark, and can be seen on Friday 20 at 8.30pm. Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen’s comic talents are on full display here as they chase down taboo after taboo. The film revolves around Frank grudgingly taking his nephew on a canoeing trip to prove to his girlfriend he can be a responsible dad, but instead those good intentions lead to one disaster after another.

A comedy on stereotypes surrounding race, unemployment, and disability, The Intouchables (France, 2011 ) is on Saturday 31 at 12 noon. It features outstanding performances from Omar Sy and François Cluzet, picked up seven César nominations, and grossed $445 million worldwide, meaning it must be doing something right.

The Great Beauty (Italy, 2013 ) winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar last year, will be screened on Saturday 31 at 2.15pm. Written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, its setting is Rome through the eyes of Jep Gambardella, a charming, self-absorbed, ageing, socialite who has a chance meeting that changes his outlook on life, reignites his passion, and forces him to re-examine his connection with the Italian capital. Robbie Collin of The Telegraph called it “a shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst, your mind swim and your soul roar”.

We Are The Best! (Sweden/Denmark, 2012 ), a terrific feel-good film set in the 1980s from Swedish director Lukas Moodysson, is about three teenagers who set up a punk band, despite not owning any instruments and being told that ‘punk is dead’. See it on Saturday 31 at 5pm.

Finsterworld (Germany, 2013 ) is a multi-story film about a group of characters who find it difficult to be themselves, to admit who they are, and what they want. It also explores ideas of identity and guilt (both individual and collective ) and how it affects different generations in modern Germany. Directed by first-time fiction director Frauke Finsterwalder, the film will be shown in association with the Goethe-Institut Irland on Saturday 31 at 7.15pm.

Russian comedy-drama Intimate Parts was a surprise breakout hit for filmmakers Natasha Merkulova and Alexey Chupov. This sexually explicit melodrama seeks to show how similar people really are, regardless of class, creed, or nation, in terms of their motivations and cravings. See it on Saturday 31 at 9.30pm.

Subtitle concludes on Sunday February 1 at 4.30pm with Russian film Short Stories, directed by Mikhail Segal. A young writer brings a collection of short stories to a big Moscow publishing house. The manuscript contains four stories and the lives of each of the four readers who encounters them are mysteriously changed. The situations range from realistic to absurd to thrilling to create a rich portrait of contemporary Russian life.

Tickets are €8/7 and available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie A ticket for all nine films is €50/45.

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