Our #ADIFF17 | Top Picks
With over 100 great films and events happening at this year’s Audi Dublin International Film Festival, it can be very difficult to choose which ones are for you. Below we have outlined some of our favourite showings at this year’s festival. A collection of our must-sees.
Maudie | Opening Gala
Directed by Aisling Walsh
Maudie, based on a true story, is an unlikely romance in which the reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie Dowley (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper. Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched and with hands crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family, and she also yearns, passionately, to create art. Although untrained, Maudie begins to paint scenes of her rural life in Nova Scotia, and the simplicity and joy they express attract attention, first with her neighbours, then with tourists, and eventually with an international audience. Unexpectedly, gruff and inarticulate Everett finds himself falling in love. Maudie charts Everett’s efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie’s deep and abiding love for this difficult man and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter.
Free Fire | Audi Gala
Directed by Ben Wheatley
It’s 1978, and Justine (Brie Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. Everything seems to be going smoothly at first, but when shots are fired in the handover, all hell breaks loose and a heart stopping game of survival ensues.
Moving from tense caper film to explosive action free-for-all, Ben Wheatley’s latest exercise in genre marries tight choreography with an intelligently witty script (co-written with filmmaking partner Amy Jump) to create a hugely enjoyable crowd pleaser. Inspired by films like Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, and benefitting from the involvement of Martin Scorsese as Executive Producer, Free Fire is another stunner from one of today’s greatest genre filmmakers.
The Secret Scripture | Gala
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Based on Sebastian Barry’s acclaimed novel, Jim Sheridan’s first Irish-set film since The Boxer (1997) explores the life and history of Roseanne McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave), a woman confined to the Roscommon Mental Hospital for 50 years. As the institution is about to close, Dr. Grene (Eric Bana) is sent to see whether she’s fit to be released. He’s intrigued by Roseanne’s eccentricities and her fierce attachment to her Bible, in which she’s been keeping a diary since she was first admitted. As he delves into her past, Dr. Grene gets to know the younger Roseanne (played by Rooney Mara) and eventually learns the terrible truth about her confinement. Shot in the starkly beautiful west of Ireland, The Secret Scripture uncovers a dark chapter in Ireland’s history.
Handsome Devil | Closing Gala
Directed by John Butler
In this funny and observant coming of age tale from Irish novelist and filmmaker John Butler (whose previous film The Stag was the Closing Gala in 2014), bullied outsider Ned and macho athlete Conor are forced to share a bedroom at their rugby-mad boarding school. Their unlikely friendship takes them both by surprise as they bond over music and begin practicing guitar together. After their supportive English teacher encourages them to enter a local talent competition, Conor faces increasing pressure to choose between “manly” athletic pursuits and his new love of music. Meanwhile Ned has to decide whether to betray his new friend’s trust to save his own skin. Ultimately, each learns the importance of bravery, loyalty, and finding one’s own voice.