Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The Subtitle Festival returns to Kilkenny

Ireland’s loveliest small city again presents an array of European cinema

Thu, Nov 17, 2016, 16:22


In The Irish Times we have always strived to cover cinema from around the world. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves recommending films that will screen in only a few venues outside Dublin (and only two within that city). Hats off to our friends at the Triskel in Cork, the QFT in Belfast and, travelling about the nation, Access Cinema. We could whinge about awful modern life, but, in truth, it has ever been thus or a little like it. With the death of video stores and with streaming services refusing to be adventurous in the programming of features, it becomes little easier to catch subtitled films in the months after release.

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All of which is reason to celebrate the continuing health of the Subtitle Festival in Kilkenny. The event brings recent and upcoming European films to venues throughout that city. You can watch movies in small spaces such as Cleere’s pub and Billy Byrne’s bar or larger venues such as the Watergate Theatre or the IMC Cinema.

Thie year, guests include the great Romanian film-maker Cristian Mungiu, who will be presenting his film new film Graduation. The Dutch director Mijke de Jong will be there with her film Layla M and Russian film-maker Aleksander Kott will present his features Test and Insight. Nearly half of the films being shown are Irish premieres. Others make welcome returns to a public space.

Among those unspooling for the first time in these territories, keep an eye open for Anna Melikyan’s About Love, an intersection of stories from contemporary Moscow. Juho Kuosmanen’s The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, winner of Un Certain Regard at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is a delicious, irresistible biopic of the titular Finnish boxer. Edward Berger’s Jack finds the director of Deutschland ’83 investigating the trials of parenthood in contemporary Berlin.

Among the recent gems to receive second outings we find László Nemes’s searing Son of Saul, Gabs Polsky’s brilliant Red Army and Sebastian Schipper’s slippery Victoria. Check out the website for more information. The event ends with the Angela Awards which, this year, will be presented by Victoria Smurfit in the presence of the Camembert Quartet. Subtitle runs in Kilkenny from November 21st to November 27th.

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