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You think you’ve seen most things in a genre and then one scene in The Canal, Ivan Kavanagh’s new film, makes you want to take your eyeballs out and give them a good wash in soap. A pretty nifty set up sees David (Rupert Evans) realising that the house he has bought was once the scene of a very grisly murder. Fans of the genre can fill the gaps in themselves and while the script isn’t that original, Kavanagh invokes enough jumps and tension to keep fans happy.
Solid performances all around especially from youngster Calum Heath and a cameo by Sightseers star Steve Oram make for a great ensemble piece. Only inhabitants of Ireland will recognise the scenery as the film makes it very deliberate not to give the story a location which will hopefully open the film to a wider audience abroad. The film fools you into a standard ending just before one last shock – like all good horror should.
Writer-Director: Ivan Kavanagh Year: 2014 Country of Origin: Ireland Duration: 120 minutes Cast: Steve Oram, Antonia Campbell-Hughes
Ten Years In The Sun
An absurdest visual onslaught marked Ten Years In The Sun as one of the stand out films from this year’s JDIFF. While a running time of nearly two and a half hours may put people off due to the constant changing nature of the film it doesn’t drag, each scene offering something new whether it’s horror, comedy, sci-fi or eroticism.
A bold and unconventional film with little thought for narrative, more so making its focus the image. Some superb lighting and the incorporation of sound set Ten Years In The Sun head and shoulders above most films. A film that will no doubt divide audiences (I lost count of the number of walkouts), it certainly is one to seek out and hunt down if it ever gets a wider audience release, fingers crossed.
Writer-Director: Rouzbeh Rashidi Year: 2015 Country of Origin: Ireland Duration: 148 minutes Cast: Dean Kavanagh, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Maximilian Le Cain
After The Dance
Daisy Asquith’s After the Dance is her tale of coming to Ireland hoping that her Mother can reconnect with some of the family that unfortunately want very little to do with her. Her mother was conceived and born out of wedlock and adopted by an English couple.
The documentary brings them to West Clare where they meet cousins and get to delve into their family history which brings them as far as New York. As well intentioned as the film is and with such an emotionally charged subject matter it’s hard to be too critical. Yet the audio for the film and many of the shots are of poor quality undermining the films strengths.
Having Asquith narrate seems like a mistake as her voice is too monotone to instill emotion into the film. This also leads the film to come across as condescending towards Ireland, especially when intercut with stock footage from the 40s and 50s.
A Pigeon Sat On a Branch Reflecting on Existence
The last film in a trilogy by Roy Andersson which are about what it is like to be human. To say the film is droll and has a dark sense of humour is an understatement. Two novelty joke salesmen knit the film together traveling around trying unsuccessfully to sell their wares. This allows for much humour and pondering of the human condition.
Mixing between scenes grounded in the present day to historical settings (sometimes combining the two) and with a large peppering of absurd Monty Python like humour it’s hard to know where the film will take us next. An intense film with much to ponder makes it hard to penetrate at times and would certainly require many viewings. The only question being can the audience repeatedly put themselves through it.
Writer-Director: Roy Andersson Year: 2014 Country of Origin: Sweden/Norway/France/Germany Duration: 101 minutes Cast: Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Charlotta Larsson