Friday, May 6, 2011

Film Focus Youth Discussion Event

A couple of weeks ago here at IFI, 14 young keen film enthusiasts came together to participate in a discussion entitled, ‘What does film mean to you’?

Participants were recruited through our monthly IFI Teen Film Club, which is aimed at teenagers, aged 15-18, from all over Dublin. The Film Club aims to provide participants with greater access to alternative films and world cinema through various screenings and discussion groups.

The basis of this discussion grew from our current Film Focus research project, which is now in its second year. Film Focus is a project initiated by the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in conjunction with the Irish Film Board (IFB) to develop a national strategy for film and moving image education in Ireland.

One of the main aims of this research is to provide a range of opportunities for young people to access cultural cinema and aspects of film education. It is therefore essential that young people are involved in our research and given a platform to speak openly and share their thoughts about film and film education.

The Culture Box kindly provided the space for the discussion and its location within Temple Bar was ideal for those attending the selected film club screening, Submarine, later on that day.

The event was facilitated by Alan King (NAYD) and participants ranged from our regular club attendees to first timers. Various activities were used as a stimulus for discussion and participants openly contributed their thoughts and opinions throughout the session. Examples of films that we currently have on our schools programme, Billy Elliot, Inception and Persepolis, were screened and used as a tool to encourage further discussion around media literacy and their place in education. Provocative statements, such as, ‘Watching a film on a topic is as useful as reading a book’ and ‘Film is a very relevant art form for young people’ were strongly debated amongst the participants and as the session came to an end we found it difficult to tear them away from their ‘platform’!

Interestingly, all of the group participants stressed the importance of the social aspect and educational value of watching films. "…it helps people learn and it brings people together...","... it’s a way to escape from reality, a social event, a way to express who you are...". It was at this point that the conversation came to an end and participants left for the IFI to join other teen film club members who were making their way into cinema 1 to watch Submarine.

‘What does film mean to you’? is a complex question for anyone to answer. The participants approached it with great enthusiasm and worked together to deliver their opinions, which are invaluable to our research.

Dee Quinlan
IFI Education Officer

For more information about the IFI Teen Film Club please contact Dee by phone on (01) 679 5744 or email.
For more information about Film Focus please contact Alicia McGivern by phone on (01) 6755744 or email.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Fourth Wall

Where else can you see Wim Wenders, Rem Koolhaas, Archigram, Tati and Jem Cohen on the same screen in one season? Today kicks-off The Fourth Wall at the IFI, Ireland’s first-ever film and architecture season.

The Fourth Wall is the first installment of a series of curated events by the Irish Architecture Foundation, which celebrates the most expressive of unions – that of architecture and film.

19th century theatre radicalised viewer experience by dissolving the boundary between the stage and audience. Now, in the 20th and 21st centuries, cinema is wholly reimagining how we experience and understand architecture. Architecture – buildings, sites, cities and landscapes – is most commonly exhibited on the wall of a gallery or museum. In The Fourth Wall, the vertical gallery space transforms into the screen. What was finite now channels the infinite, narrative, and responsive. Released from the gallery wall, architecture transcends its role as a mute subject and becomes a protagonist, an active participant within the fabric of filmmaking.

Koolhaas Houselife

Many of The Fourth Wall screenings are exclusive to this season. Expect to see alternative readings of well-known buildings from surprising and unanticipated voices, such as Ursula Mayer’s portrait of architect Erno Goldfinger in Interiors and Denis Postle’s critique of the Pompidou Centre by Cedric Price and Archigram in Beaubourg. A special feature is Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoîne’s critically acclaimed Koolhaas Houselife. On Saturday, May 7th, the filmmakers will attend the screening in person and will take part in a Q&A. The screening will also be followed by a rarely seen 10-minute filmed interview with Rem Koolhaas.

Other selections challenge our preconceptions about the role that architecture and the built environment plays within economics and nationhood. Another rarely shown feature is Patrick Keiller’s elegant factual essay and social comment A Dilapidated Dwelling. This film is especially germane to the context of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. Keiller’s talent lies in his sensitive yet provocative exploration of the conflict between new and old forms of architecture. This is also embraced – although from an all-together different perspective – by Jacques Tati in his fictional comedy Mon Oncle, which offers a pointed critique of post war modernism. Furthermore, Lisa Godson (GradCam/NCAD) and Sunniva O’Flynn (IFI) have curated Dublin: Sean agus Nua, from the IFI Irish Film Archive. Another feature that casts a city as the main actor is Los Angeles Plays Itself by Thom Andersen.

If Buildings Could Talk

The theme of public space continues in Chain by Jem Cohen, a director who has reached cult status through his deft photo-collages that combine fiction and documentary to chronicle the urban environment. Another Irish premiere is If Buildings Could Talk by one of the greatest living film-makers, Wim Wenders. This is where the 3D capability of film and the dimensionality of architecture align, giving you a ‘virtual-real’ experience of a building. The Fourth Wall has been given special permission to screen If Buildings Could Talk. This will be your only opportunity to see it in Ireland.

For further details and booking information, please visit the IFI website.
Nathalie Weadick
Director + Curator Irish Architecture Foundation

Samantha Martin-McAuliffe
UCD School of Architecture

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May at the IFI and beyond...

The IFI is delighted to be collaborating with MoMA in New York to present Revisiting The Quiet Man: Ireland on Film, as part of Imagine Ireland: Culture Ireland’s Year of Irish Arts in America 2011. Curated by Gabriel Byrne, this special series of 14 films takes The Quiet Man, John Ford’s iconic vision of 1950s' Ireland, as a starting point for an exploration of representations of Ireland on film from 1910 to 2010. The programme, which provides a new context for U.S.-Irish “classics”, will also include a selection of recently discovered U.S.-Irish emigrant films from the 1910s and ‘20s; feature films from the early days of Ardmore Studios and several contemporary Irish feature films including Kisses, Hunger and The Butcher Boy. Aspects of this important programme will be shown in Dublin over the next year, including a recently restored print of The Quiet Man, which will be acquired by the IFI Irish Film Archive. Keep an eye on our programme or visit MoMA's website for further information.

The Quiet Man

Hunger, one of the most memorable and stark films about Ireland in recent years, will be screened both at MoMA as part of this programme and here at the IFI in May, and the film’s co-writer Enda Walsh will be joining us for both, taking part in a special Q&A at the IFI on May 20th to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike so compellingly portrayed in the film.

The Fourth Wall: Koolhaas Houselife

We are delighted to be working with new partners the Irish Architecture Foundation to bring you The Fourth Wall. This fascinating programme, spanning from Jem Cohen to Jacques Tati, presents an intriguing perspective on the relationship between film and architecture. Moving beyond documentaries about architecture, the curators Nathalie Weadick and Samantha Martin-McAuliffe have selected films that are absolutely about or defined by architecture, and which reveal the intrinsic nature of buildings and our physical and psychological experience of them. A highlight of the programme is Wim Wenders’ second 3D film, If Buildings Could Talk, which was shown to great acclaim at last year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. Later in the month Build Something Modern opens for a short run following a prize-winning debut at this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Continuing with the Architecture theme, this latest installment from Still Films (Seaview, Pyjama Girls) tells the fascinating story of the role Ireland’s modernist architects played in building Africa’s Catholic infrastructure.

The IFI isn’t just based in Dublin – throughout the year IFI National brings the IFI’s programme to audiences throughout Ireland and in May we will be starting IFI @ Triskel Christchurch in Cork. This permanent year-round IFI programme in Cork will bring some of our best new releases to audiences in the region, and follows on from IFI @ The Model, which was established last year and is now expanding its programme to more screenings each week.

And don’t forget, this month’s films up for discussion at The Critical Take will be Conor Horgan’s One Hundred Mornings, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Thomas McCarthy’s Win Win. Come along and tell us what you think!

Sarah Glennie