GRUMPY OLD men, bizarre love triangles, singers with stage fright, and American anti-capitalism will be the stuff of the cinema screen at The Galway Film Society's winter/spring 2016 season runs at the Town Hall Theatre from January 17 to March 20.
French film, In The Courtyard (2013 ), opens the season on January 17. Forty-something rock singer Antoine (Gustave Kervern ) has insomnia and stage fright who has decided to look for another job. He finds work as a caretaker of a Parisian apartment building, but he's not much good at this line of work either, but when Mathilde (Catherine Deneuve ), the woman who originally employed him, falls ill, she finds a friend and confidante in Antoine. The film won the Swann d’Or for Best Director at the 2014 Cabourg Film Festival.
A musical and cinematic journey into James Joyce’s imagination will be taken via Shem The Pen Man Sings Again on Tuesday 19 (Ireland 2013 ). The film looks at how Joyce's meeting of the celebrated tenor John McCormack partly inspired Finnegans Wake. The pair first met in 1904 and again in Paris in the 1920s, with Joyce basing his Shaun the Post character on the singer and Shem the Penman on himself. The narrative is carried by a mix of archive recordings and imaginary radio broadcasts. The director and producer will attend this screening.
Tangerines (Georgia/Estonia 2015 ), set during the brutal 1992 Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, will be screened on January 24. After a shoot-out between Georgian soldiers and Chechen mercenaries, local farmer Ivo finds himself nursing two wounded men from opposite sides in his small house. As both men get better and threaten each other, Ivo remains stoically neutral, refusing to allow bloodshed under his own roof. A brilliant examination of conflict and humanity, the film won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year 2015.
For America, capitalism is a religion, but it has taken an American film to give capitalism a severe criticism. 99 Homes (USA 2014 ) tells the story of Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield ), who has fallen behind on his mortgage payments, resulting in him, his mother, and son being evicted by fast-talking bank representative Rick Carver (Michael Shannon ) and a cadre of cops and hirelings. In a surprising turn of events, Nash soon finds himself accepting a job as one of Carver’s flunkies and thus enters a morass of moral ambiguity. “This is a tough, muscular, idealistic drama that packs a mighty punch," said The Guardian. See it on January 31.
Oliver Hirschbiegel, the director of Downfall and The White Ribbon’s Christian Friedel join forces in 13 Minutes which looks at the little known assassination attempt on Hitler by Johann Georg Elser in 1939. Elser planted a homemade bomb behind Hitler’s lectern at a Nazi Party meeting, but the Führer left earlier than planned, with the explosion detonating 13 minutes later. Hirschbiegel uses the Nazi’s subsequent interrogation of Elser to reveal in flashback why and when he concocted his plan. See it on February 7.
All About Them (France 2015 ), a light-hearted drama about love, emotion, and a love triangle, is on appropriately, Valentine's Day, February 14. Charlotte (Sophie Verbeeck ) and Micha (Félix Moati ) are in love but Charlotte is cheating with Mélodie (Anaïs Demoustier ) and so too is Micha!
My Skinny Sister (Sweden/Germany 2015 ) is about sisters Katja, always busy with school and skating, and Stella, who tends to get ignored by her parents. Stella, though, is the only one to notice something is really wrong with Katja. Will Katja’s illness drive the family to the brink of despair or bring them closer together? The film won Best International First Feature at the Galway Film Fleadh 2015; Best Screenplay Award and Special Audience Award at the Festival del Cinema Europeo 2015; and Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film at the Goteborg Film Festival 2015. See it on February 28.
Pitched somewhere between Yes, Minister and The West Wing, Quai d’Orsay (France 2013 ) will be screened on March 6. Arthur (Raphaël Personnaz ) is hired as speechwriter for the somewhat unpredictable French foreign minister Alexandre Taillard de Worms (Thierry Lhermitte ). It is up to Arthur and chief of staff Claude (Neils Arestrup ) to protect the minister for daily disasters and the threat of an international war! The film won Best Screenplay at the 2013 San Sebastian Film Festival.
Given this is the centenary of the 1916 Rising it makes sense to have a film about that seismic event. A Terrible Beauty (Ireland 2013 ) will be screened on March 13 at 3.30pm. Focusing on the fighting on Mount Street Bridge and the area around North King Street, this is a story from three different perspectives - an Irish Volunteer, a British soldier, and a civilian - inspired by first hand accounts, through archive footage and dramatic reconstructions. It won Best Documentary Film at the 2013 Crystal Palace International Film Festival.
That same evening, but at 8pm, The Lesson (Bulgaria/Greece 2014 ) will be screened. Small-town schoolteacher and mother Nadezhda (Margita Gosheva ) obsessively vows to expose a young classroom thief. At home, her deadbeat husband has squandered the family’s mortgage payments, leaving Nadezhda just three days to save their home from the auction block. As the deadline looms nearer, her options become more and more limited. The film won the EU Parliament’s LUX Prize 2016 and Best New Director at the San Sebastian Film Festival 2014.
The season comes to a close on March 20 with The Grump (Finland/Iceland 2015 ) about a stubborn, sour-faced old farmer known to everyone as The Grump. After a bad fall, he is forced to move from his family farm to the city home of his career-focused daughter-in-law. Struggling to exist in this new world, he becomes something of a Nordic Victor Meldrew, but slowly it becomes apparent that the auld coot can still teach the modern world a trick or two!
All films are screened on Sundays at 8pm unless stated otherwise. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie