Last Friday we packed our Spooool.ie mugs, t-shirts and business cards into the boot of the Opel Corsa and headed out west to the annual Galway Film Fleadh. For those of you reading from outside the Free State, fleadh is Irish for festival and Galway is Irish for fun.
The festival is now in its 25th year and its path over the last quarter century has been charted in many of the paper’s newspapers over the last few weeks – Paul Whitington’s piece in The Irish Independent and Donald Clarke’s write-up in The Irish Times are worth a look.
As is often the case with film festivals we didn’t get to everything we wanted for various reasons but how and ever. Below you’ll find the first batch of our reviews and reactions to what we saw.
The Long Con – ★★★★½
A fun fact about Shane Carruth. The writer, director, producer, star, cinematographer, editor and original score composer of Upstream Color gets a special thanks on the Looper credits. Apart from being unable to let anyone do anything else on his films, it’s clear to see he has an interest in the unconventional story. His first feature Primer (2004) simultaneously wowed and confused people. I think it was something to do with time travel but who knows?
Along comes Upstream Color which no doubt will have people scratching their heads and lifting their jaws off the floor in equal amounts. Now lets not worry too much this isn’t INLAND EMPIRE levels of odd, there is a coherent story to be found within the reels but it may take a few viewings to nail it down. Kris (Amy Seimetz) is an executive of some sort who is attacked and robbed by Thief (Thiago Martins) through the use of maggots and hypnosis. It takes a long time to figure out what the hell is going on and Carruth’s music almost hypnotises us into a dream like state along with Kris. When she finally comes around her whole life is in chaos and it isn’t until she meets Jeff (Shane Carruth) that she feels she’s getting a grip on her life.
I haven’t even mentioned the God like character of The Sampler (Andre Sensenig), the pigs (yes actual pigs) and how orchids nourished by this pig blood produce blue powder and special maggots which are the lynchpin of the movie. So it’s not your typical rom-com but certainly has plenty of fat to chew.
Released in UK on 30 August
Who’s the Daddy? – ★★★
Discoverdale is a new film from the Dead Cat Bounce comedy troupe which sees a young rock singer go on a trip across Europe to meet the man who he believes to be his father, Whitesnake and Deep Purple front-man David Coverdale.
The three men (pictured above) are James Walmsley, Demian Fox and Shane O’Brien are all really funny people who avid comedy fans will more than likely have encountered over the last few years with big shows in Montreal, Sydney, London and of course Dublin putting them at the top of the (probably quite small) comedy rock genre.
It’s all delightfully spoofy and suited the mood of an 11.30pm screening brilliantly. Where it falls down is simply with its pacing, as it sags quite badly in the middle before a triumphant and pretty unexpected finale. The setup of Walmsley going looking for his Dad actually works quite well and Coverdale plays along with things too which makes it all worthwhile.
With a tighter script and a little more planning (the whole thing was conceived in very little time) it could have rivalled that other 2013 film about some funny Irish guys going across Europe…
Irish release details unknown at this time but the film did win the best international feature so it’s very likely