Wednesday 13 December 2017

7 days & 7 nights: critics guide to going out


Sophie Gorman

French Film Festival, IFI, Dublin 2

Zut alors, c'est le festival de films Francais encore! Yes, beginner's French aside, it is the annual celebration of cinema with a Francophile twist in the IFI.

Launching last Wednesday, the festival continues until the 27th and is packed with Irish premieres and special guests.

Highlights include new work from the Dardenne brothers, Christophe Honoré, Abdellatif Kechiche and two new films starring Catherine Deneuve.

One of the most anticipated special guests is veteran character actor Jean-Pierre Darroussin, who will attend a screening of his latest film Early One Morning next week.

But today's recommendation is Les Emotifs Anonymes (Romantics Anonymous), a quirky romantic comedy involving pathological shyness. Bon chance!


A Tale of Two Cities, Sebastian Guinness Gallery, Dublin 2

This is not the story of Dublin and Cork, or Cork and Galway -- the two cities at the heart of this photographic tale are much more continental: Genoa and Naples.

This fascinating exhibition at the Sebastian Guinness Gallery (newly located to Dawson Street) features the work of photographers John Deakin, whose work Bacon based a number of paintings on, and Johnnie Shand Kydd, who burst on to the scene in the 90s with a survey of the Young British Artists (Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, etc) at play.

This new show is an interesting merging of visions, hanging on Deakin's studies of Genoa and Shand Kydd's cultural documentation of the city of Naples.

Their styles and photographic approaches are very different, but their shared love affair with Italy is evident. La vita è bella.


Cults, Grand Social, Dublin 1

If there's one thing the present crop of good-looking young indie bands can agree on, it's that the late 70s were a fantastic time to be alive.

Not that they actually know this from first-hand experience, but they are apparently so taken with their parents' old photographs, they've tried to recapture the same faded, colour-saturated sensibility in their music.

To the forefront of the 'polaroid-pop' movement are Cults, aka handsome (albeit very hairy) So-Cal duo Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion.

With songs that recall The Carpenters, Shangri-Las and (one for the obscurists) criminally forgotten indie duo Joy Zipper, they became a minor sensation when their demos popped up anonymously on Soundcloud last year.

Making good on the hype, their self-titled debut album is both deliciously catchy and dripping with quarter-life melancholy.


Justice, general release

A middle-class revenge drama directed by Roger Donaldson, Justice is no great shakes as a thriller but is rendered watchable and even intermittently enjoyable by a typically eccentric performance from Nicolas Cage.

He is Nick Gerard, a mild-mannered inner-city schoolteacher whose cosy world is shattered when his wife Laura (January Jones) is attacked and raped.

When approached in the hospital waiting room by a sinister man who offers to sort out the rapist for him, Nick says yes on the spur of the moment.

But it's the worst decision of his life, because he's soon knee-deep in a vigilante underworld.

Guy Pearce is the baddie, Ms Jones the eye candy, but it's Cage who keeps the whole thing going -- just about.


Paul Murray, Mairtin Ui Chadhain Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin 2

A particularly dark comedy about boarding schools, drugs and porn was what David Cameron chose to take on his summer holidays this year.

The book in question is Skippy Dies and news of the British PM's sunbathing reading must have come as quite the surprise to its author, Dubliner Paul Murray.

Skippy Dies earned Murray a longlist nomination for last year's Man Booker Prize and this year's IMPAC Award. Murray is currently Visiting Writing Fellow at Trinners and he will be revealing the tricks of his trade and reading from his work this evening in the Arts Building.


Stephen Merchant, Vicar Street, Dublin 2

Stand-up comedy is not for everyone. Taking those first brave steps out into the spotlight and facing a fierce audience who are expecting you to make all of them laugh is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Stephen Merchant may already be one of the most successful comedy writers in the world, but now he's putting his money where his mouth is by stepping away from the huge security blanket that is his partner Ricky Gervais and putting himself centre stage.

The award-winning co-creator of The Office and Extras has titled his first ever stand-up tour Hello Ladies ... and tonight is the second of two nights.

Is it just me, or does his rubbery face remind anyone else of an Aardman Animations creation?


City of Clowns, The Complex, Smithfield, Dublin 1

Although it might seem like we are surrounded by them, and they're running our country, clowns of a different variety will be taking to the stage of the Complex tonight, courtesy of Barabbas.

Running over five nights since Tuesday, this is a clown story like no other. Fibril the clown must confront his past, present and future -- and none of them are that pretty.

Starring Raymond Keane and directed by Maria Fleming, this piece is said to be as devastatingly poignant as it is humorous.

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