Dublin International Film Festival: the must-see movies

Films you should see at the tri-located 2018 Audi Dublin International Film Festival

Cosmology tells us that the universe has no centre. Regular patrons of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival would do well to remind themselves of this notion as they file past the now defunct space formerly known as Savoy One. While the IMC cinema group is subdividing Dublin's grandest auditorium into "three to five" cinemas, ADIFF has found new digs. Around 70 per cent of this year's festival will take place at the Light House Cinema in Dublin 7, with satellite events at Cineworld, the Irish Film Institute and The Ark.

So top up your Leap cards. The final day's events, in particular, will be something of an adventure for festival regulars, kicking off with René Clair's The Italian Straw Hat which screens at the Light House as part of this year's silent cinema strand (with live musical accompaniment by the Günter Buchwald Ensemble). From here, expect a mass exodus by Luas towards the surprise film at the Odeon at Point Village, and a second tram ride back to Cineworld on Parnell Street for the closing gala, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's 17th-century romp C'est la Vie!

With seven world premieres, more than 100 features (most of which will be making their Irish bow) and special guests set to include Bill Pullman, Vanessa Redgrave, Cillian Murphy, Barry Keoghan, Paddy Considine, Sam Keeley, Jessie Buckley and Lynne Ramsay, patrons can look forward to a long perusal of a bullet-stopping programme.

‘Irish Times’ picks

Early Irish Times critics' picks include the remarkable 1890s footage chronicle of a gold rush, Dawson City: Frozen Time, and Feargal Ward's superb documentary, The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, concerning a legal stand-off between a Co Kildare farmer and a compulsory purchase order taken by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on behalf of US microchip manufacturer, Intel.


Watch out, too, for So Help Me God, a documentary portrait of a no-nonsense Brussels judge, whose dry comic timing is only matched by her aptitude for gore. This real world cold-case drama will screen alongside Ukrainian border thriller, The Line, as part of a boutique selection of "Crime and Law" films.

"Crime and Law is a really strong season," promises festival director, Grainne Humphreys. "We have two great Belgian films: Above the Law and Racer and the Jailbird. We have So Help Me God which is just wonderful. I'm conscious that there are more documentaries this year than in previous years because it was too hard to say no to them. When I think about the films that are funny and have heart, I think of Lots of Kids, A Monkey And a Castle and The Other Side of Everything. Here are filmmakers that are making amazing films about their own families. In a way, they're really putting it up to the writers and directors of fictional films, because they have incredible characters, a really strong sense of story, and they are absolutely gripping films."

Following on from Weekend and 45 Years, Andrew Haigh's heart-tugging third feature concerns a kindly teenager (the remarkable Charlie Plummer) and his friendship with a race horse. The film, which also features Chloë Sevigny and Steve Buscemi, will screen as part of ADIFF's junior programme, "Fantastic Flix". The same strand will welcome Cork's Nora Twomey with the Oscar nominated animation, The Breadwinner. The third feature from the Kilkenny-based studio, Cartoon Saloon, it was produced by Angelina Jolie and concerns a young girl in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan who must dress as a boy so she can support her family.

Having missed out due to illness last year, the Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave will receive one of the two ADIFF Volta Awards when she attends the Irish premiere of Seas Sorrow, her new portrait of the refugee crisis. The other Volta recipient is Paul Schrader. The screenwriter behind Taxi Driver and the director of Blue Collar will introduce a selection of his favourite films, including Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1959). Schrader's own, heavily Bresson-influenced 18th feature as director, First Reformed, will feature a public talk.

"Like many other people I remember Paul Schrader coming to the Dublin Film Festival with Patty Hearst, " recalls Humphries. "And it terrified me that retrospective was 30 years ago. Ever since then, I've been running in to people who were at those screenings. That's where they first saw Cat People or American Gigolo or Mishima. And they're still talking about it."

Sandy Powell, the three-time Oscar-winning costume designer, will also be around to take questions after Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck and will introduce the endearingly flashy sci-fi get-ups of John Cameron Mitchell's wacky alien comedy, How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

Francophiles should be on the lookout for the three Xaviers: Xavier Giannoli, Xavier Beauvois, and Xavier Legrand, directors of L'Apparition, The Guardians, and Custody, respectively.

Those with a more globe-trotting sense for cinema may sample works from Japan (The Third Murder), Australia (Sweet Country), Indonesia (Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts), Poland (Death of the President), Israel (Foxtrot), Ecuador (Yasuni Man), Germany (In the Fade), Romania (Ana, Mon Amour), Norway (What Will People Say) Argentina (Zama), Iran (Israfil), and a showcase of films from Hong Kong. These include the Chris Doyle co-directed White Girl and an appearance by Angie Chen, director of I've Got the Blues.

Irish movies

Back on the home-front, there are new films from Alan Gilsenan (The Meeting), Rouzbeh Rashidi (Phantom Islands), Pat Collins (Twilight), Rebecca Daly (Good Favour), Lance Daly (Black 47), and Donal Foreman (The Image You Missed), as well as debut features from David Freyne (The Cured) and Aoife McArdle (Kissing Candice). The brothers Burke (Rob and Ronan) return to the medium to preside over comedian Andrew Quirke's transition to the big screen in Damo & Ivor: The Movie.

Older fare includes restorations of Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Totoro, Yasujiro Ozu's An Autumn Afternoon (with an introduction from Paul Schrader), and a retrospective celebrating the work of the Dublin-born art director, Cedric Gibbons, including such copper-fast, golden-age classics as The Big Parade, Dinner at Eight, Grand Hotel and An American in Paris. Having premiered in 1919, the fascinating Behind the Door is the oldest film is the programme and is one of cinema's earliest narrative horror films. Composer and pianist Stephen Horne will provide the suitably spooky live musical score.

There are several films about filmmaking notably Filmworker, which details Leon Vitali's journey from precocious star of Barry Lyndon to Stanley Kubrick's indispensable assistant, and the German film, Casting, which provides an intriguing overview of the casting process, as a first-time director tries to find a Petra for The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.

Away from the cinema, special events include "Immersive Stories", a two-day conference that will see experts in virtual and augmented reality from around the globe converge on Dublin's Mansion House; a new photography exhibition from actor Hugh O'Conor; the Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards; a writers masterclass with Laurence Coriat; an audiences panel with Ben Luxford (head of UK audiences at the British Film Institute); and a special panel discussion on the Crime and Law strand, chaired by John McBratney, retired senior counsel.