Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Horrific news from the Galway Film Fleadh

No. Not really. We are having a bit of fun with the news that the Galway Film Fleadh, the summer’s biggest movie event, is dedicating a significant portion of its programming to things that go bump in the night. To …

Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 23:05

   

No. Not really. We are having a bit of fun with the news that the Galway Film Fleadh, the summer’s biggest movie event, is dedicating a significant portion of its programming to things that go bump in the night. To some extent, this is an accident. The Fleadh, which launched its programme yesterday,  is famous for, among other things, premiering the season’s most interesting new Irish features and this year our directors are turning increasingly to horror.

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The event opens on July 10th with an unveiling of Jon Wright’s Grabbers. Set in the west of Ireland, the picture concerns a boozed up Guard (sounds familiar) who suspects that something nasty is lurking out there in the Atlantic. The picture has already played successfully at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival. John Carney, director of Once, returns with a ghost story entitled The Rafters. Bing Bailey, director of Portrait of a Zombie, tells me his film is a “family drama hidden inside a genre movie with natural humor and social commentary”. Sounds swell.

With all this nastiness afoot, it seems fitting that the festival has set aside a special section for horror. Films being screened include The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre [sic, as ever], the underrated The Ninth Configuration and — somewhat controversially — Donnie Darko. Fans of Joseph Conrad and Francis Ford Coppola will be happy to hear that the strand is entitled The Horror… The Horror…

There is, of course, a great deal more. Isabelle Huppert, the intense French actor, is turning up for a dedicated season and to engage in a public interview. Other Irish films receiving an outing include Konrad Begg’s Songs for Amy, Kieron J Walsh’s Jump and Mark O’Connor’s Stalker (which has, as I understand it, nothing whatsoever to do with miserable Russians investigating the Zone). Events close with James Marsh’s rather splendid Shadow Dancer, starring, of all people, Andrea Riseborough as a young woman caught up in the Northern Irish “troubles”.

If you have never made it to the Fleadh, you should consider making the journey. (Unless you’re already in Galway, of course. In which case you have no excuse.) The Fleadh is among the most hectic of Irish festivals. Centred on The Town Hall Theatre, the bash is always alive with chatter, scurrying and controversy. It has generally been considered an industry-friendly bash, but it is every bit as welcoming to the casual cinema-goer as it is to the pathological cineaste. Come to think of it, the Fleadh is already such an institution that it seems somewhat astonishing to recall that it did not exist before 1989. This is rather like discovering that Christmas began in the inter-war years.

Keep your eyes on The Irish Times for further updates. Events kick off on July 10th and run until July 15th.

EDIT 12/07/12: We would like to credit film-maker Rob Kennedy for the photograph at the top of the page. Rob took the snap at the premiere of his short film In the Night, In the Dark. Rob is still working hard. So keep an eye out for his next bloody effusion. 

 

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