Film / 28-30 April 2006


Tickets: 8

A weekend of film programmed by Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor of desperate optimists, whose work ranges from community theatre to experimental performance and short film.
From their first creative engagements twenty years ago with community theatre, and on into live art and experimental performance, complex online projects and now short film, three elements have remained constant in the remarkable body of work produced by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy (desperate optimists). Regardless of the medium at play, they have remained acutely aware of the potency of the ‘performed’ (bodies curious in space) along with the seductive charge inherent in the various languages of cinema and the necessity to ground one’s work in a real feeling for lived, shared experience, place and purpose.
All these traits are realised with striking success, not only in their own just-completed film cycle ‘Civic Life’ but also in this highly impressive selection of features designed to explore a sense of the theatrical and performative within the moving image. But you’ll find no tired stage to screen transfers here; indeed the only work making explicit link to the theatre, ‘The Connection’, is a wired study in the challenges of such a shift. Instead, whether in the exquisite choreography of ‘The Red and the White’, the formal rigour of ‘Day of Wrath’ or the Lynchian ambiguities of ‘Back against the Wall’, the dynamic potential of this aesthetic encounter could not be more enlivening. Add in the astonishing lyrical intensity of ‘Toutes les Nuits’ (film-maker Eugène Green will be in special conversation following its Irish premiere) and it’s clear that this weekend, for the strongest sense of what ‘theatre’ can offer, a visit to the cinema is essential.
Toutes les nuits (Night After Night)
April 28. 6.30
The anarchic humour and incredible visual precision of Eugène Green’s first feature made it a hit in France, where it won the prestigious Delluc prize for Best First Feature. Based loosely on a Flaubert novella, the film charts the fate of two young men through the tumultuous 1960s and ’70s. Close friends, their relationship is tested by the strains of distance and the introduction of a beautiful woman. (France, 2001. Subtitled. Colour. Dolby stereo SR. 112 min.)
Back Against the Wall
April 29. (11.30)
James Fotopoulos is a Chicago-based underground film-maker with a cult following who has made three low-budget features and many shorts. Back Against the Wall is a three-part drama about some world-class losers, including middle-aged slacker Levey (Martin Shannon), whose girlfriend (Debbie Mulcahy) models lingerie in a seedy Midwestern bar. Fotopoulos tells his stories leisurely, favouring a static camera, long takes, lots of talk and ambient sound. (U.S.A., 2002. 94 min.)
Civic Life Cycle
April 29. (1.30)
Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor (Desperate Optimists) embarked on the Civic Life series in July 2003 and have since created a unique and richly cinematic series of seven short films that capture different places and communities in single long takes. Filming with complex 35mm equipment and hundreds of extras, they have worked in close collaboration with local residents and community groups to make a body of work that is both theatrical and deeply cinematic, at once experimental and highly accessible.
The Red and the White (Csillagosok, katonák)
April 29 (3.30)
The setting is the aftermath of the Russian Revolution: the ‘Reds’ are the revolutionaries, the ‘Whites’ the government forces ordered to suppress them. Director Miklós Jancsó focuses on a young Hungarian fighting with the reds, and charts the arbitrary pattern of arrest, imprisonments and escapes that he goes through. As in The Round Up, Jancsó is here primarily interested in the mechanisms of power, seen as virtual abstractions. (Hungary-U.S.S.R., 1967. Subtitled. Black and white. Anamorphic. 90 min.)
The Connection
April 30 (1.30)
Variously claimed for ‘beat’ cinema, the avant-garde and, tenuously, as a precursor of ‘mockumentary’, indie godmother Shirley Clarke’s first feature is pretty much sui generis in its determined layering of truth-telling artifice. A 1961 sound-stage transposition of Jack Gelber’s play about a bunch of junkies hanging out in a New York loft, waiting for their man, The Connection breezily bookmarks the ironies of cinema vérité and is a landmark of the New York New Wave. (U.S.A., 1961. Black and white. 103 min.)
Day of Wrath (Vredens dag)
April 30 (3.30)
Filmed during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, Carl Dreyer’s Day of Wrath is a harrowing account of individual helplessness in the face of growing social repression and paranoia. Anna, the young second wife of a well-respected but much older pastor, falls in love with her stepson when he returns to their small 17th-century village. Stepping outside the bounds of the village’s harsh moral code has disastrous results. (Denmark, 1943. Subtitled. Black and white. 93 min.)

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