Pacino to present his Oscar Wilde film at 10th Dublin festival


ESTEEMED SWEDISH actor Stellan Skarsgård joined a gang of celebrities at the reopened Light House cinema to launch the programme for the 10th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Skarsgård, whose credits include Breaking the Wavesand the recent The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, had earlier received a Volta Award, the festival’s career achievement honour, from Irish producer Arthur Lappin.

“Of course I think it’s too early for this,” Skarsgård told The Irish Times. “I want to know what funeral parlour is sponsoring it. But I made 90 films, so I have done something. It is very flattering and I like to be flattered.”

Skarsgård said he met his wife in the Horseshoe Bar at the Shelbourne Hotel while shooting the epic King Arthurin 2003.

“I really enjoy film festivals that aren’t totally business oriented. “Cannes is too big for me. That is not such a pleasure. In smaller events like Gothenburg or Dublin, the festival activates the whole population.”

Michael Dwyer, this newspaper’s late film correspondent, created the event in 2003 as a replacement for the Dublin Film Festival, which had collapsed the previous year. Organised in three short months, the first event ran for a week and offered 66 screenings.

The 2012 edition, which begins on February 16th, runs for 10 days and will feature 147 screenings.

“We have been lucky in that we have retained Jameson as a title sponsor,” said festival director Gráinne Humphreys. “The Arts Council has always been supportive and so has the Irish Film Board. Costs are changing, but we have tried hard to keep the ticket price constant and not pass those increases on to audiences.”

The 10th anniversary event will welcome a starry array of film professionals. Actors including Martin Sheen, Glenn Close, Michael Madsen and Mark Wahlberg are all expected to attend. Top billing must, however, go to the venerable Al Pacino, who will be presenting Wilde Salomé, his eccentric documentary about one of Oscar Wilde’s more notorious plays.

“What Pacino’s attendance does for me personally is make me believe that persistence is a good thing,” Humphreys said.

“I first sent an email to him in September 2007. Over the five years I’ve worked at the festival you find out that we’ve built a network of advocates. One of the reason he is coming to the festival is that he has heard good things from his friends and colleagues.”

Among the films receiving screenings are Albert Nobbs,starring Glenn Close as a cross-dressing 19th-century Irishwoman, Alexander Sokurov’s Faust,winner at the recent Venice Film Festival, and Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s rural Irish drama Stella Days.

Special events include a performance of Danny Elfman’s music at the National Concert Hall, a screenwriting masterclass with Kenneth Lonergan and a presentation of prizes by the Dublin Film Critics Circle. Michael Madsen will (one hopes) refrain from chopping off anyone’s ear at a screening of Reservoir Dogs.

“I am excited about everything from Häxan, the 1922 Swedish film we are showing,” Humphreys said, “up to the one film that I know is still being edited and that we hope will be ready in time.”