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RUN & JUMP

Di­rected by Steph Green. Star­ring Max­ine Peake, Ed­ward MacLiam. Will Forte, Ciara Gal­lagher, Brendan Mor­ris, Sharon Hor­gan 15A cert, gen­eral re­lease, 105 min The set-up for Steph Green’s sub­tle, beau­ti­fully acted de­but fea­ture could eas­ily have taken us some­where a great deal more trou­bling.

The re­li­ably mag­netic Max­ine Peake plays Vene­tia, a woman sud­denly pro­pelled into daily tragedy when her hus­band Con­nor (Ed­ward MacLiam) suf­fers a se­ri­ous stroke. For­merly a car­pen­ter, Con­nor aban­dons fur­ni­ture for the man­u­fac­ture of per­fectly crafted (but use­less) spheres. He seems un­able to touch his fam­ily. While all this is go­ing on, Ted (Will Forte), an Amer­i­can psy­chol­o­gist, records the un­fold­ing mis­ery on cam­era.

One can imag­ine Michael Haneke mak­ing some­thing rather hor­ri­ble of this voyeuris­tic sce­nario. But Green and Ailbhe Keogan, her co-writer, have other, less ex­treme in­ten­tions. It soon be­comes clear that Ted has, in his own way, also with­drawn from the world. He hides be­hind his cam­era and his pro­fes­sional dis­tance. Then a change be­gins to rake place. As events un­fold, he be­comes ever close to Vene­tia. They share a joint. They share se­crets. Even­tu­ally they share a kiss. People may be­gin to talk.

One might ex­pect Run & Jump to lead in­ex­orably to­wards vi­o­lent calamity. But all in­volved al­low a more mea­sured anal­y­sis of fam­ily

Run & Jump dy­nam­ics to emerge. Peake com­bines strength with fragility in equal mea­sure. So good in the re­cent Ne­braska, Forte is per­fect as a man con­stantly test­ing the ground in front of him for emo­tional land­mines.

Shot largely in Wick­low and Kerry, Run & Jump is, ul­ti­mately, a lit­tle vague in its dra­matic in­ten­tions. The film re­mains, how­ever, an im­pres­sive show­case for an ar­ray of sea­soned tal­ents and emerg­ing masters.

Di­rected by Si­mon Groß and Nana Ekv­timishvili. Star­ring Mariam Bok­e­ria, Lika Bablu­ani, Data Zakareishvili, Zurab Go­gal­adze, Temiko Chichi­nadze

Dublin, 102 min

Club, IFI, Eka (Lika Bablu­ani) and Na­tia (Mariam Bok­e­ria) are 14-year-old BFs grow­ing up in Tbil­isi, cap­i­tal of the newly in­de­pen­dent Ge­or­gia, in the months fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Soviet Union. Back­ground broad­casts carry sto­ries about war on the Black Sea coast (Abk­hazia); chaotic bread queues high­light daily civil strife.

Even with­out the geopol­i­tics, this is a frac­tured, piti­less so­ci­ety. At Na­tia’s house, fam­ily meals rou­tinely end in drunken vi­o­lence. Eka’s fa­ther is in jail. Kids bully. Grand­par­ents snap. Teach­ers hiss sar­casm. Weapons are rou­tinely pulled. When Na­tia, the older look­ing of the girls, re­sponds to a pro­posal with “Don’t be an id­iot”, her spurned would-be lover bun­dles her into a car. No­body blinks an eye.

Still, even un­der the yoke of

Frac­tured friend­ships: Na­tia and Eka in

Will Forte and Max­ine Peake in

In Bloom

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