Bo Burnham takes to red carpet for Irish premiere of ‘Eighth Grade’
Dublin International Film Festival: Stephen Merchant in town for winning wrestling comedy, ‘Fighting With My Family’
Bo Burnham: in Dublin for the Irish premiere of coming-of-age comedy Eighth Grade at the Dublin International Film Festival. Photograph: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
So the bad news is that the tremendous coming-of-age comedy Eighth Grade is completely sold out, as is the workshop with the screenwriter and superstar YouTuber Bo Burnham. The good news is that he’ll be walking the red carpet at Cineworld on Wednesday ahead of the Irish premiere. The film goes on general release on April 26th. Start counting the minutes.
Stephen Merchant will also touch down on Wednesday for his warm, winning wrestling comedy, Fighting With My Family, featuring Florence Pugh and The Rock. Watch out, too, for appearances from The Falling director Carol Morley, as she unveils her adaptation of Martin Amis’s Out of Blue, Irish filmmakers Feargal Ward and Adrian Duncan (Floating Structures) and Paul Duane (What Time is Death?), and Marija Kavtaadze (Summer Survivors).
Three movies to see
Monday 25th February, 830pm, IFI Dublin
Directed by Adrian Duncan and Feargal Ward
The Dublin-born, Dundalk-raised, and Belfast-educated engineer Peter Rice was the structural engineer behind three of the most important architectural works of the 20th century: the Sydney Opera House, Pompidou Centre and the Lloyd’s Building in London. He is the subject of two incoming documentaries: An Engineer Imagines, from Bafta-winning director, Marcus Robinson (released March 1st) and this dreamy, poetic mediation from Adrian Duncan and Feargal Ward. There’s a welcome touch of Patrick Keiller’s landmark architecturally-themed works, Robinson in Space and Robinson in Ruins about this enigmatic chronicle of an unnamed narrator travelling through Europe, seeking out the structures that inspired Rice. Filmmaker Feargal Ward is Ireland’s preeminent artistic collaborators and he and engineer-turned-artist Adrian Duncan have previously collaborated on the sculptural installation, The Soil Became Scandinavian. Floating Structures is a must for fans of slow cinema or geometry. Ladies and gentleman, we are floating through space.
Tuesday, February 26th, Movies@Dundrum, 12.45pm
Directed by Wanuri Kahiu. Starring Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva
This lovely, low-key Sapphic drama set in a Nairobi housing estate was once banned in its home country - where homsexuality is still a criminal offence – until it became the first Kenyan film to be selected for Cannes. Kena and Ziki – played by the effortlessly charming Mugatsia and Munyiva , respectively - are two teenage friends who fall in love. Local gossips gossip, but they want to be more than “ordinary Kenyan girls.” The script could be more polished in places and occasionally the sound doesn’t quite synch, but Katiu’s second feature film is charming and moving enough to compensate where tech specs falter. Against the local gossips, this is a beautiful, colourful world defined by rainbow laundry lines, bottle top checkers, skateboards, and the pink flick of Muniya’s fabulous braids. A vibrant Afro-pop soundtrack seals the deal.
An Elephant Sitting Still
Wednesday, February 27th, Light House Cinema, 1.45pm
Directed by Hu Bo. Starring Zhang Yu, Peng Yuchang, Wang Yuwen, Liu Congxi
The poet and filmmaker Hu Bo killed himself, aged just 29, having completed his epic debut feature, An Elephant Sitting Still. Often, this gritty portrait of the intersections in the lives of four miserable, put-upon people in the polluted inner-Mongolian city of Manzhouli can feel like a lengthy, unbearably poignant suicide note. As the film opens, Wei Bu (Peng Yuchang), is chastised by his beastly father for opening a window, thereby allowing in local smells that are not preferable to the blocked lavatory in their small apartment. In addition to getting bullied, the girl Wei likes (Wang Yuwen), has had an affair with a teacher has gone viral. Elsewhere, with shades of Tokyo Story, the elderly Wang Jin (Li Congxi), is about to be packed off to a nursing home by his family: they say it’s so they can afford private education, but that sounds like a lie. The least likeable player is Yu Cheng (Zhang Yu), a local gangster who sleeps with the wife of a friend, only to see that friend jump to his death . There are remarkable and detailed depictions of urban malaise and general ghastliness - teens flicking burnt matches, the mauling of a much-loved dog - in this four hour chronicle of A Day in the Life in Northern China. For all the despair – Hu Bo was a student of the great Hungarian miserabilist Bela Tarr – there’s an underlying fury here. In keeping with a canon that features Mountains May Depart and Have a Nice Day, this is an unforgettable swipe at capitalist China. Fan Chao’s cinematography is extraordinary.