Giant video projection, LANDLOCKED, to open tomorrow (Dec 12) until Jan 3

A002_C004_0609K1A large-scale outdoor projection of a series of documentary video portraits, LANDLOCKED, is being launched tomorrow (Friday December 12) at 5.30pm in the Thomas Street Community Gardens.

The work by video artist Christina Gangos will run until January 3 and will feature 10 people “who form the fabric of Limerick” projected on a large city wall on Thomas Street in Limerick City centre.

It was shot by the artist when she was living in Limerick and all the participants stand in silence. Participants were asked “to contemplate life-changing events for 10 minutes while they were filmed. Their thoughts are kept private, yet the camera documents the physical process, the slight movements and gentle motions of a body in thought”.

The people who took part in the recording range in age from eight years old to 50 (at the time of filming).

The project aims to create “a space for silence and stillness above the busy Christmas city streets”.

The giant video projections will be 20m x 11.25m and will be visible on the wall above the Thomas Street Community Gardens during the hours of darkness. The optimum time to view this work is from 5.30pm-7am.

Commenting on the installation of this work, the artist Christina Gangos, said she was “very excited to have the opportunity to project this work in a large-scale outdoor location”.

“So often people and their thoughts are invisible to us, in LANDLOCKED I wanted to create a space for us to commune with others, without shame, social coding or language,” she added.

Ms Gangos is an independent documentary filmmaker, who lived in Limerick city for six years and is currently based in Athens, Greece. She studied journalism and history at the American College of Greece and then went on to do a Masters in Documentary by Practice at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her films have been shown at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Center Pompidou in Paris, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Gate Theater London, IFI Dublin and various major festivals.

“Her films aim to capture everyday moments and processes, inundated with the ability to disclose reality to the patient viewer. Stripping layer by layer of social representation and décor by elongating time to its normal length, her works in film are documents of bare living.”

Originally created with support and funding from the Arts Council, the exhibition and installation of LANDLOCKED in this prominent outdoor city location is is made possible by the support of Limerick City of Culture 2014. The support of Tony Clarke from City Centre Car Park was also much appreciated.

For more information, see www.landlocked-ireland.com.

Movies meet Dance at Light Moves Festival from Nov 6-9

LightMoves cover_ Beach Party AnimalLight Moves, Ireland’s first festival celebrating dance on film, is taking place in Limerick from this Thursday, November 6 to November 9.

Hot on the heels of the very successful Richard Harris Film Festival, this innovative new festival—supported by City of Culture—will see “beautiful, funny and engaging films for all ages” screened at 69 O’Connell Street and Dance Limerick.

Featuring over 60 works from 18 countries, the festival programme includes short films, full length films and family screenings, plus installations and documentaries selected from an open call—all designed to entertain, provoke and invite discussion.

Light Moves is curated and directed by Mary Wycherley and Jürgen Simpson in collaboration with Dance Limerick and DMARC (University of Limerick), with additional support from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.  Light Moves is a Limerick City of Culture legacy project.

Absent InstinctsThe Light Moves programme highlights include the comical ballet Playtime, directed by Jacques Tati, which will be the Irish premiere of the newly restored digital version of the classic film, as well as Alexander Sokurov’s masterpiece Russian Ark.  The programme will also include a series of free screendance installations running daily at Dance Limerick, in addition to special family screenings of Disney’s Fantasia and Mad Hot Ballroom for young and old alike at 69 O’Connell Street (formerly The Belltable).

Light Moves will also include a Symposium running over two days of the festival.  Entitled Rooting/ Rerouting Screendance, the symposium will feature a keynote address from the seminal figure in screendance, Douglas Rosenberg, whose works Here Now With Sally Gross and Circling will also be screened.

The Light Moves Screendance Lab, Screened Dance and The Dance Screen, takes place on November 5 and 6 at UL.  The lab will be led by some of the most respected international dance film-makers: Douglas Rosenberg, founding editor of The International Journal of Screendance, the award-winning creative team behind GOAT media Katrina McPherson and Simon Fildes, and Light Moves co-curator Jurgen Simpson.

Full programme details and tickets at available at: www.lightmoves.ie.

Richard Harris Limerick International Film Festival this weekend

photography6Calling all film buffs! The inaugural Richard Harris Limerick International Film Festival is on in Limerick this weekend (December 6-8).

As many people know, Harris is one of Limerick’s most famous sons and a true giant of stage and screen. He was not just an Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe winning actor but a singer, theatrical producer, poet and film director.

The star of Camelot, The Field, Gladiator, Unforgiven and the first two Harry Potter films, often returned to his hometown and there is a bronze statue of him in Bedford Row. He even scored a top ten hit in the UK and the US with his 1968 recording of ‘MacArthur Park’.

The festival—organised by the local film community—has several strands. It will showcase new feature films from the Irish diaspora; a Limerick Short Film Showcase; an exhibition of Richard Harris Memorabilia; a screening of one of Harris’ best-known films This Sporting Life and a talk titled ‘Limerick and Hollywood—Constance Smith and Liam Redmond’. Also, seeing as how Harris was an avid rugby fan and a keen player in his youth, visitors to the festival are invited to watch the Heineken Cup matches in two of Limerick’s big rugby pubs over the course of the weekend.

It is anticipated that Richard’s sons and other relatives will attend the event, among other guests and many members of the local artistic community.

Films showing include Life’s a Breeze, Mister John and G.B.F. All the screenings will be in the former Belltable, 69 O’Connell Street.

It’s great to see another festival on the calendar, especially one celebrating a local hero and supporting the indigenous film industry. At the launch, festival director, Robbie Gill told the crowd that there were “ambitious plans for 2014 to expand and intend for this festival to take place for many years to come as a lasting and worthy memorial to a true icon of stage and screen”.

For more information, see www.richardharrisfilmfestival.com or www.facebook.com/RichardHarrisLimerickInternationalFilmFestival. Tickets for events are available to book from www.limetreetheatre.ie.

 

 

 

Film reviews: Shut Up and Play the Hits/Shadow Dancer

I saw two really good films in the cinema during the week and I’ve decided to write about them because they are not the type of films that most people wouldn’t necessarily think to watch. The first is the music documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits and the second is a film about ‘The Troubles’ called Shadow Dancer.

Shut Up and Play the Hits

This film was premiered simultaneously across 40 odd screens in the UK and Ireland on September 4. There was even a live red carpet intro with some cringeworthy interviews beforehand. Shut Up and Play the Hits is a combination of a documentary and a concert film. It features the last show by the American electronic/punk outfit, LCD Soundsystem cut with before and after footage following the band’s frontman, James Murphy.

One of the other elements is Murphy being interviewed by pop culture journalist, Chuck Klosterman, which answers a lot of questions fans might have about a band deciding to break up at the height of their success. It seems that fame is a young man’s game and Murphy wants to just get on with the business of living.

I have to confess that I knew very little about LCD Soundsystem before I saw this. I imagine I would’ve felt differently if I hadn’t liked the actual music but thankfully I did! Aside from that, James Murphy is an interesting guy. He’s musically gifted and has a knack for intelligent lyrics but also eccentric, which made the scenes where he woke up alone in his apartment in a post-gig haze amusing. He did mundane things like shaving, playing with his pet bulldog and making coffee—obviously self-conscious at having nothing specific to do—and the filming made it seem like everything was taking place in a strange vacuum.

The close relationships between the band members and management also got attention, which give an insight into the dynamic. The final concert filmed in Madison Square Garden in New York revealed that they were a pretty spectacular live act. The whole film was beautifully shot but the concert scenes were exceptional. A selection of cameras and angles captured the energy of the crowd and the musicians. It made you want to be there, which I reckon was the aim. The pace swung between frenetic and quiet reflection but it worked well.

Overall, it was good documentary. It’s a must-see for fans of the band and a should-see for music fans in general. Hats off to directors, Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace. It is still on limited release in cinemas but a good one to watch on DVD. Here’s a taster…

Shadow Dancer

This film is a tense thriller set in 1993 about Collette McVeigh, a would-be IRA bomber who is caught and then recruited by intelligence agency, MI5, as an informant. She is caught between the desire to protect her young son and loyalty to her family, particularly her IRA leader brothers. The audience also sees the viewpoint of the MI5 agent, Mac, who literally holds Collette’s fate in his hands.

The film is slow moving; everything has a washed-out and dreamlike feel as the plot works itself out. Some of the complexities of the so-called “Northern question” are in full flow. How do ordinary people plant bombs and carry out executions? How are families affected by politics? Do the authorities care about the pawns they use to gather information? There seems to be little room for sentimentality, which might be because of director, James Marsh’s, skill for documentary filmmaking.

Shadow Dancer—written by Tom Bradby, based on his own novel—is a joint Irish/British production so the cast is made up of some of the best and brightest actors from both countries. Andrea Riseborough gives a very composed performance. She gives the impression that emotions are churning below but won’t break the surface. Clive Owen, as Mac, is his convincing in his sincerity in the face of his cold-hearted boss, played by Gillian Anderson.

Aidan Gillen and Domhnall Gleeson play Collette’s brothers, Gerry and Connor. Gillen is referred to as the harsher of the two but is rarely seen as such. Given his steely performances in the RTE series, Love/Hate, he could’ve been used to better effect. Gleeson does better as the baby-faced enforcer. He’s in everything at the moment; definitely a star in the making. David Wilmot does well as their devious, looming IRA boss while Bríd Brennan is jaded and understated as the family matriarch.

The best thing about the film is the suspense, enhanced by an evocative music score. You’re always waiting for something bad to happen and the two plot twists near the end are masterful. The subject matter is difficult and the film doesn’t fulfil its potential somehow but it’s worth a watch.

PS: I also saw an utterly sh*te film called The Escapist. If you like prison break movies… still don’t lower yourself to watch it. Ever. That is all.

Mo Cinema August Screening

I popped along to the August screening of Mo Cinema on Wednesday (August 1). I’m repeating myself constantIy but I think the monthly event, which shows a selection of short films in Cobblestone Joe’s pub, is a great idea. It gives people an ideal opportunity to see some cool pint-size movies—whether by local, Irish or international talent. I’ve included links and embedded films below so people can get a taste of what was on offer.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find two of the films from the first half on the night on the interweb so No Friends and The Post will forever remain a mystery to you…

There was a good ‘mockumentary’ by James Skerritt about the making of a surfing film with hapless director, Keith Williams (played by Peadar Clancy). The Element-Behind the Scenes was in the style of a cringeworthy documentary like The Office or Spinal Tap and the quality was great, especially the exceptional camerawork on the surf shots.

See the trailer here.

There was a send up of the Tom Cruise classic, Top Gun, from the Jameson Empire ‘Done in 60 Seconds’ Film Competition.

Next up was a local film made by Jason and Phillip Greaney-the ‘film noir’ style called The Bengal Budgie. The title should tell you that it was a fairly obvious send up of The Maltese Falcon.

See it here.

The clever animation, Wildebeest, by Bird Box Films was the only cartoon of the night.

There was another black comedy by Britanick Films-the team behind the hilarious Eagles are Turning People into Horses– called The Kiss.

Next up was the sci-fi short narrated by a robot, Robbie. It made spectacular use of old NASA archive footage to create a very human story. It reminded me a lot of the film, Wall-E because it was quite touching.

Next up was George Lucas in Love– a very funny spoof of Shakespeare in Love. As you can guess, this one is packed to the brim with references to Star Wars!

The last film of the night was the brilliant and shocking, Miracle Fish. This was Oscar-nominated and is a real masterclass in suspense. It’s a cracker with a big suckerpunch at the end.

Also, Mo Cinema is looking for people to make suggestions/submissions for the event. There is also a possibility that the people behind Mo Cinema are going to organise splinter events such as a ‘Secret Cinema Night’—a kind of guerilla screening where the location etc is kept quiet until the last minute.

In 2009, there were a few outdoor screenings by a group called Moving Pictures Limerick. They were projected onto the side of buildings. I remember going to see a Wim Wenders film and sitting on the steps of the Stone Jug building on Glentworth Street. The novelty far surpassed the dodgy foreign film on show but it would be great to see something innovative like that again. It’d be a nice partner to the new ‘Movies at the Market’ event (which is on again this Saturday, August 4 with Close Encounters of the Third Kind BTW).

More info at www.facebook.com/mocinema or Twitter @MoCinemaClub.