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Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2021 – Highlights

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2021
by Frank L.

The Festival runs from 3rd to 14th March 2021

In which Frank L takes us through some of the highlights of the 2021 Film Festival

Notwithstanding the travel restrictions which prevented Grainne Humphreys and her team attending film festivals throughout 2020, they have managed to assemble by the use of contacts (and no doubt much ingenuity) a diverse selection of films to be enjoyed online at the beginning of March in the Virgin Dublin International Film Festival 2021.

The opening film is “Supernova” starring Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth and directed by Harry Macqueen. It tells the story of a long term gay relationship facing the consequences of a diagnosis of incipient dementia that one of them has received. They plan to make a trip around England in their camper van. Macqueen concentrates on the story of this holiday and on the love that each man has for the other.

Humphreys at the online launch made specific mention of several films including:

“Jumbo” from France which is the unlikely story of how a shy young woman falls in love with an amusement park ride. Her mother is aghast.

“Preparations for being together for an unknown period of Time” is Hungary’s entry in this year’s Academy Awards for best international film. A surgeon encounters her soulmate at a medical conference but when she meets him again at a pre-arranged destination he denies ever having met her.

“Minari” is based on director Lee Isaac Chung’s own life story of being a child of a Korean family who settled in the 1980s on a modest farm in Arkansas. They have to navigate the world of farming in the United States and also the experiences of being an immigrant family.

“Apples” is the Greek entry in the Best International Film at the Oscars. It is the directorial debut by Christos Nikou who worked as the director assistant to Yorgos Lasthimos’s Dogtooth. It describes a city hit by a pandemic of amnesia and follows the life of a man who seeks to create a new identity for himself as a result of a state-sponsored programme.

Amongst the documentaries, there is “Gunda” which is Viktor Kossovsky’s film of a day in the life of a pig or rather the life in a day of a pig. There are other animals in the story as well. Humphreys claimed it as a masterpiece.

The Festival continues its collaboration with the Irish Council of Civil Liberties with five films one of which is “Limbo” which is about four asylum seekers on a remote island off the Scottish Northern coast one of whom is a young Syrian. Another film in this collaboration is “A Worm in the Heart” in which Paul Rice uses the Trans Siberian railway as the means to conducts interviews in six cities with members of the LGBTQ community during which they explain their plight in Russia today.

In the Irish section, there is “To the Moon”  which is a joyful documentary which celebrates the night sky over the course of a lunar month. There is footage from around the globe and it looks at the moon’s place in literature, culture and storytelling. Humphreys claims it is suitable for all age groups.

There is an Irish/Polish story in “I Never Cry” by director Piotr Domalewski which tells the story of a young Polish woman who comes to Ireland to repatriate her father’s body after he has died. As a result, she discovers a great deal about her father that she did not know.

A Canadian/Irish collaboration is “My Salinger Year” directed by Philippe Falardeau which stars Sigourney Weaver and Magaret Qually. The story centres on a young woman who dreams of being a writer. She is employed by J.D. Salinger’s literary agent to reply to fan mail in the voice of the famous author and as a result, she begins to find her own voice.

There is a host of other films and activities including seven programmes of shorts and a conversation between Steve Mcqueen and Mark O’Halloran.

Finally, the Festival concludes with Deadly Cuts directed by Rachel Carey. It is a comedy centred on a Dublin hair salon with a predominantly female cast who enjoy a good time but have to contend with a local criminal gang.

The only way to get the full scope of what has been brought together by the Festival is to look at the website http://www.diff.ie. Booking is open and there are a variety of deals on offer! Enjoy.

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