Dublin film festival: Matt Bomer loves the ‘Irish spirit’

John Butler’s ‘Papi Chulo’, with stars Alejandro Patiño and Bomer, opened the Dublin International Film Festival in style

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival gave a warm welcome to director John Butler and stars Alejandro Patiño and Matt Bomer at the Irish premiere of Papi Chulo. Butler's bittersweet comedy about an unlikely friendship that blossoms between a lonely TV weatherman (Magic Mike star Bomer) and the Latino migrant worker (Patiño) has been picking up glowing notices since it premiered at Toronto last September.

Golden Globe winner Bomer talked about the "Irish spirit" which the Irish filmmakers and crew brought to the Los Angeles set, and revealed that he had previously lived in Ireland, having worked as bar staff in Galway. Incoming guests include David Shire, the prolific composer of scores for films such as The Taking of Pelham 123 and The Conversation, who will host a masterclass on Friday.

Two to see

Feb 21st, Light House, 8.40pm

Directed by Jonah Hill. Starring Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Na-Kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Gio Galicia, Ryder McLaughlin, Alexa Demie, Katherine Waterston
Kids hang, get up to no good, and ask wildly inappropriate questions ("Can black people get sunburned?", "Would you rape your parents if you had to?") in Jonah Hill's promising debut as a writer-director. Stevie (The Killing of a Sacred Deer's Suljic) is a 13-year-old in 1990s-era LA who falls in with the older, cooler kids that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop. Hill's clever, observational dialogue flags how arbitrary teenage social standing can be. For all their chilling, the shifting group dynamics between the charismatic Ray (Na-kel Smith), Fuckshit (Olan Prenatt), and Ruben (Gio Galicia) - as filmed by Fourth Grade (Ryder McLaughlin) - crackle and seeth. Stevie's home life with a frequently absent mom (Waterson) and a thuggish older brother (Hedges), is equally dramatic. Harmony Korine appears in a cameo, but you can feel his influence long before. Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is another touchstone. Period details (CD Walkman, Ninja Turtles duvet) are welcome and not overused. For all their swagger and partying, the kids are alright.

Leto Four
Feb 22, Light House Cinema, 8.15pm

Directed by Kirill Serebrennikov. Starring Teo Yoo, Irina Starshenbaum, Roman Bilyk, Filipp Avdeev, Alexandr Gorchilin, Alexander Kuznetsov, Nikita Efremov, Julia Aug, Elena Koreneva
Director Kirill Serebrennikov (The Student) lovingly recreates Leningrad's 1980s underground rock scene, in the mostly monochrome, Leto. This freewheeling period piece pivots around the friendship and musicianship of two real-life artists, Viktor Tsoi (Teo Yoo) and Mike Naumenko (Roma Zver). Musically, Iggy Pop and David Bowie tower over the scene but relations between the Soviet musicians are less explosive, even when Mike's wife, Natasha (Irina Starshenbaum), finds herself drawn to Viktor. In keeping with the title, Leto (or Summer) drifts through clubs and studios and hallucinations, with some superb Steadicam work from DOP Vladislav Opeliants. An altercation on a train inspires a spiky staging of Talking Heads' Psycho Killer; commuters burst into a rousing rendition of Iggy Pop's The Passenger. (Yes, the musical cues are all that thunderingly obvious). Revelling in the time and place, Serebrenniko's dreamy, chaotic film doesn't feel the need to burst outside its own immersive bubble. As Mike observes on his own hermetic success: "It's OK to be in the swamp if you're No 1 toad." Meandering, messy, yet strangely hypnotic.

When Hitchcock met O’Casey

The odd partnership between the director of Veritigo and the Irish communist playwright behind The Plough and the Stars is explored in local doc, When Hitchcock met O'Casey. Can Alex Ross Perry, whose caustic back catalogue includes Queen of Earth and Listen Up, Philip, really have made his "most noxious picture" in Her Smell? Mary McGuckian will introduce her FGM drama, A Girl from Mogadishu. A French woman in her 30s wonders where it all went wrong for her Maoist parents in Whatever Happened to my Revolution? Keep them coming.

Follow The Irish Times festival  coverage here

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