Al Pa­cino, Glenn Close and Martin Sheen will be rock­ing into Dublin for this year’s film fes­ti­val, which looks set to be a real cracker, writes Don­ald Clarke

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Don­ald Clarke’s guide to the Jame­son Dublin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val,

CAN IT RE­ALLY be 10 years since the Jame­son Dublin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val kicked into ac­tion? Well, we wouldn’t be ask­ing the ques­tion if the an­swer was “no”. There was quite a deal of ker­fuf­fle in this place at the time. Ap­palled that the Dublin Film Fes­ti­val had withered away, Michael Dwyer, this news­pa­per’s late film cor­re­spon­dent, elected to de­vise a re­place­ment for the event he helped found in 1985. The fes­ti­val was knocked to­gether in a few short months and quickly be­came a rag­ing suc­cess. De­spite fierce com­pe­ti­tion, it con­tin­ues to thrive un­der the stew­ard­ship of Gráinne Humphreys. This year, Humphreys has slung to­gether a par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive line-up of celebri­ties. Al Pa­cino, Glenn Close, Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg are all ex­pected to at­tend. You can en­gage with pro­fes­sion­als at work­shops. You can savour screen­ings of an­cient clas­sics. En­joy.


Thom Fitzger­ald’s ec­cen­tric road movie re­ceives a gala screen­ing on the open­ing night. Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker play a les­bian cou­ple who flee their nurs­ing home and travel to Canada with plans to get mar­ried. Along the way, they make friends with a young hitch­hiker. The picture won the au­di­ence prize for best Cana­dian film at the re­cent Ed­mon­ton Film Fes­ti­val. Fe­bru­ary 16, Savoy, 7.30pm


Few movie stars still shake the earth as much as the ven­er­a­ble New Yorker. The great man will be in town to in­tro­duce his ec­cen­tric study of Os­car Wilde’s no­to­ri­ous play Salomé. The pithily ti­tled Wilde Salomé – an un­of­fi­cial fol­low-up to his Look­ing for Richard – looks into the piece’s ori­gins and in­cludes read­ings of the di­a­logue fea­tur­ing Pa­cino as Herod and the dizzy­ingly ubiq­ui­tous Jes­sica Chas­tain as the ti­tle char­ac­ter. Pa­cino will also par­tic­i­pate in a public ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion. Fe­bru­ary 20, Savoy, 7.30pm


Glenn Close vis­its the city for a screen­ing of her film – co-writ­ten by John Banville – about a woman who is com­pelled to dress as a man in 19th cen­tury Ire­land. Close has been nom­i­nated for an Os­car for her per­for­mance as the ti­tle char­ac­ter. The picture also stars such lu­mi­nar­ies as Mia Wasikowska, and also Os­car-nom­i­nated Janet Mcteer and (it wouldn’t be a proper Ir­ish film with­out him) the in­de­struc­tible Bren­dan Glee­son. Sur­pris­ingly, Jes­sica Chas­tain does not ap­pear any­where in the cast list. Fe­bru­ary 18, Savoy, 7.30pm


Each year, the fes­ti­val pays spe­cial at­ten­tion to the cin­e­matic tra­di­tion of one par­tic­u­lar coun­try, and for 2012 all eyes are on Ger­many. The cen­tre­piece of the mini-sea­son is a tril­ogy of crime films em­bark­ing un­der the ti­tle Dreileben. Chris­tian Pet­zold, Do­minik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler di­rect a linked se­ries that seeks to em­u­late the fes­ti­val suc­cess of such beasts as the Lu­cas Bel­vaux tril­ogy and the Red Rid­ing se­quence. Also check out The

Day I was Not Born and Sleep­ing Sick­ness.


One of the jew­els of silent cinema is un­earthed for a spe­cial screen­ing. Ben­jamin Chris­tensen’s Swedish picture does pretty much ev­ery­thing it prom­ises. Over four episodes, Chris­tensen sets out to ex­plain the spir­i­tual and psy­cho­log­i­cal ori­gins of witch­craft. Part doc­u­men­tary, part hor­ror film, Häxan achieved a fa­mous af­ter­life when, in the 1960s, it was reis­sued with a com­men­tary by no less a maniac than Wil­liam H Bur­roughs. Fe­bru­ary 18, Light House, 8.15pm


One of the Os­car nom­i­nees for best for­eignlan­guage picture, Joseph Cedar’s de­light­fully crazy picture fol­lows an Is­raeli aca­demic as he seeks to cope with a hugely dam­ag­ing mis­un­der­stand­ing. Win­ner of the best screen­play at Cannes, the picture com­bines eru­di­tion with a unique class of knock­about hu­mour. There are shades of the Coen broth­ers’ A Se­ri­ous Man. Fe­bru­ary 19, Cineworld, 4.15pm


Hav­ing turned up last year to pro­mote

The­way, Sheen, proud Ir­ish cit­i­zen, re­turns for a screen­ing of Thad­deus O’sul­li­van’s movie con­cern­ing a priest who tries to main­tain a cinema in ru­ral Ire­land dur­ing the 1950s. Long a stal­wart of Ir­ish cinema, O’sul­li­van is best known for such pic­tures as

De­cem­ber Bride and The Heart of Me. He also re­cently di­rected the ac­claimed TV pro­duc­tion Into the Storm. Fe­bru­ary 23,

Cineworld, 6.30pm


The di­rec­tor of such off-beam talky pieces as

Barcelona and Met­ro­pol­i­tan, Whit Still­man has al­ways di­vided au­di­ences. It’s been 13 years since The Last Days of

Disco hon­oured cine­mas with its sly eru­di­tion. So much ex­cite­ment gath­ers around this film con­cern­ing stu­dents at an east coast univer­sity. Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody and Analeigh Tip­ton star. The di­rec­tor should be in the cinema to chat to his many fans. Fe­bru­ary 17, Cineworld, 9pm well, si­lence, in re­mote parts of the Ir­ish wilder­ness. Care for a drift to­wards the avant garde? Then track down Yel­low, a film ver­sion of the Amanda Coogan per­for­mance piece that played at the Dublin Theatre Fes­ti­val. Doc­u­men­taries in­clude Won­der House, which in­vites sci­en­tists to re­call the for­ma­tive ex­pe­ri­ences that sent them on their roads of dis­cov­ery; Hill Street, which sounds like an Ir­ish ver­sion of Stacey Per­alta’s great Dog­town and Z-boys; and The

Enigma of Frank Ryan, fol­low­ing the life and times of that un­usual IRA vol­un­teer, so­cial­ist and Span­ish Civil War war­rior.


The fes­ti­val is pre­sent­ing the op­por­tu­nity to see a wide range of clas­sics, crowd-pleasers and odd­i­ties. Par­ents and chil­dren can blub along to Dis­ney’s peren­ni­ally un­set­tling

Bambi. Swingers can get all groovy while savour­ing the glam­our of Michelan­gelo An­to­nioni’s Blow Up. Al Pa­cino is recog­nised with out­ings for Look­ing for Richard and

Panic in Nee­dle Park. Is there any film more quirky and imag­i­na­tive than Jean Cocteau’s

Or­pheé? Well, com­ing from a very dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, Michael Pow­ell’s im­mor­tal The

Life and Death of Colonel Blimp runs very

close in­deed.


If you want to get a head start on your movie over­dose, this ex­hi­bi­tion – fea­tur­ing pho­to­graphs of great film stars in the cap­i­tal – is al­ready open on the top floor of the Stephen’s Green Shop­ping Cen­tre. Shea­mus Smith, for­mer head of Ard­more Stu­dios and Ir­ish Film Clas­si­fier, has gath­ered images of such icons as Ben Af­fleck, Michael Caine and Kevin Spacey. Hav­ing been a press pho­tog­ra­pher in Dublin dur­ing the 1950s, Smith brings spe­cial­ist knowl­edge to the en­ter­prise. Runs un­til Fe­bru­ary 26 at the Stephen’s Green Shop­ping Cen­tre


Few re­cent films have dealt with such trou­bling ma­te­rial in such a de­tached man­ner. Markus Sch­leinzer, Michael Haneke’s cast­ing di­rec­tor, em­u­lates his men­tor with a film about an Aus­trian man who im­pris­ons a young boy in his stark base­ment. The picture com­bines the black­est hu­mour with ev­ery­day hor­ror in a man­ner that has di­vided fes­ti­val au­di­ences. Fe­bru­ary

21, Light House, 6.15pm


Many Amer­i­can crit­ics viewed Ken­neth Lon­er­gan’s Mar­garet as one of the most un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated films of 2011. That film will be screened at the fes­ti­val and Lon­er­gan, who also wrote and di­rected the ac­claimed You Can Count on Me, will be talk­ing as­pir­ing writ­ers through his tech­niques at a spe­cial event at the newly re­opened Light House cinema. Fe­bru­ary 22nd, Light House, 11am


The fes­ti­val pushes out the boat and presents an en­tire day of work­shops, in­ter­views and sem­i­nars with film boffins aimed at “stu­dents and mem­bers of the public who are in­ter­ested in tak­ing film cour­ses or al­ter­nate paths into the cinema in­dus­try”. Among those par­tic­i­pat­ing are Tony Cranstoun, ed­i­tor of Death of a Su­per­hero, Kirsten Sheri­dan, di­rec­tor of Doll­house, and Gavin Burke, chief film pun­dit for Phantom FM. Fe­bru­ary 24, Light House, 10am


Tara Brady, pres­i­dent of the Dublin Film Crit­ics’ Cir­cle, and your cur­rent cor­re­spon­dent will be among the loud­mouths hand­ing out gongs to those film-mak­ers ad­judged to have ex­celled them­selves. Pre­vi­ous events have com­bined mild glam­our with notably re­laxed, well-oiled con­vivi­al­ity. As has been the case since 2010, the DFCC will present a break­through award named for Michael Dwyer. All are wel­come.

Fe­bru­ary 25, IFI mez­za­nine, 5.30pm


That’s right. This year there are two sur­prises. The tra­di­tion has been run­ning since the days of the orig­i­nal Dublin film fes­ti­val and has driven two gen­er­a­tions of pun­ters crazy with or­gies of mis­guided guess­ing. If you can’t get tick­ets for the clos­ing night sur­prise then hunt down the new event on the first Sun­day. Fe­bru­ary 19, Cineworld, 6.40pm/ Fe­bru­ary 26, Savoy, 5pm


Ian Fitzgib­bon, di­rec­tor of A Film With Me

In It and Paths to Free­dom, of­fers us the mov­ing tale of a ter­mi­nally ill boy named Don­ald Clarke. Mix­ing live ac­tion and an­i­ma­tion, the picture, adapted from a novel by An­thony Mccarten, fol­lows Don­ald Clarke as he at­tempts to em­u­late the he­roes of his favourite comics. The cast in­cludes Andy Serkis, Sharon Hor­gan and Michael Mcelhatton. Thomas Sang­ster stars as Don­ald Clarke in the fes­ti­val’s clos­ing film. Yes, I know. Fe­bru­ary 26, Savoy,








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