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Here are the top Irish films to catch at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival

The festival runs from 26 February to 8 March.

OVER 100 FILMS from 50 different countries are to be shown as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, which kicks off this Wednesday. 

Among them are a strong showing of Irish features, documentaries and shorts. 

Here’s a rundown of some of the best Irish films running during the 12-day festival. 

Rose Plays Julie

Source: BFI/YouTube

What’s it about? 

This psychological thriller follows a veterinary student who is trying to track down her birth mother, leading her to uncover a “long-buried secret”.

What the critics say

  • “It is a really powerful film and Brady’s final dialogue scene exerts a lethal grip.” – The Guardian.
  • “At its core, and undoubtedly a large contributor to the film’s overall success, are two striking performances from Ann Skelly (TV’s Vikings) and Orla Brady (TV’s Into The Badlands) as the estranged mother and daughter who, despite their distance, find they have a great deal in common. Both are searching for something essential; Rose (Skelly) for a sense of self and Ella (Brady), less consciously at first but rather more viscerally as the film progresses, for closure.” – ScreenDaily

When’s it on? 

Saturday 29 February, 8.30pm, The Light House.

Endless Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Source: Cluster Fox Films/YouTube

What we know

This John Connors-directed documentary follows Anthony McCann and Jade McCann, a father and daughter from Greystones, after they are both diagnosed with cancer. 

When’s it on?

Thursday 5 March, 6pm, Cineworld 

Rialto 

Source: BREAK OUT PICTURES/YouTube

What we know

Love Hate’s Tom Vaughan-Lawlor portrays a Dublin man whose life begins to unravel following the death of his father, in this film from the writer of Adam and Paul.

What the critics say

  • “Vaughan-Lawlor provides Rialto with an everyman modesty, but the character’s minute emotional fluctuations repeatedly suggest that his thin veneer of normalcy is crumbling.” - ScreenDaily
  • “Rialto builds an intimate portrait of masculine crisis, illuminated by two extraordinary central performances, but stops just short of converting all that insight into truly powerful cinema.” – Variety

When’s it on?

Friday 6 March, 8.15pm, The Light House 

Sea Fever 

Source: Exile PR Office/YouTube

What we know

A young marine biology student is struggling with life among the closely-knit crew of a fishing trawler. Panic soon sets in when a mysterious creature stalks the boat. 

What the critics say

  • “Hardiman does a good job teasing out the nature of her sinister leviathan during the opening reels, when the beast’s tentacles bore holes through the ship, discharging a sticky substance — it looks like a cross between sperm and Aquafresh — that slowly eliminates the team.” – The Hollywood Reporter
  • “Sea Fever is a nightmare you can’t take your eyes off of and can’t stop thinking about after it wraps up. It’s a highly engrossing and entertaining way to challenge assumptions and reactions to the unknown.” – Collider

When’s it on? 

Saturday 7 March, 8.45pm, The Light House 

End of Sentence 

Source: Sena Ísland/YouTube

What we know

The film, shot in Ireland and Alabama, follows a young ex-con and his father as they go on a road trip to scatter the ashes of their mother and wife.

What the critics say

  • “As is par for the course, by the time End of Sentence parks at its planned destination, we come to see that father and son are more like each other than they care to admit; more interestingly and importantly, we come to understand why they’ve scurried from those similarities.” – Variety
  • “Adalsteins maintains an impressively steady hand for a first-time director, while he and cinematographer Karl Oskarsson shoot the lush Irish countryside with majestic aerial shots that manage to look ravishing without resorting to twinkle-eyed Emerald Isle cliché.”- The Hollywood Reporter

When’s it on?

Sunday 8 March, 2pm, Cineworld.

Arracht 

Source: BREAK OUT PICTURES/YouTube

What we know

Set on the eve of the Famine, this Irish language film follows a fisherman who takes in a stranger on the request of a priest. Events that follow lead to tragic personal struggles, but hope may come in the form of a young girl who needs his help.

What the critics say

  • “A striking feature debut, Arracht (Monster) is set in the wild shores of Ireland’s barren west coast as the potato blight descends in 1845. Stripped back and fierce, it’s an intense small-scale Gaelic-language drama which plunges the viewer into the cold desperation of those times.” – ScreenDaily
  • “This is not a film about despair but about the strength and determination of the human spirit. It also shows that even in the darker times in history we always found a way to survive.” – Scannain

When’s it on?

Friday 28 February, 6.15pm, the Light House. 

Violet Gibson 

Preferred_VioletGibson Source: DIFF

What we know

The film tells the true story of the Irish woman who shot Mussolini. Barrie Dowdall’s documentary is about Violet Gibson, daughter of the Lord Chancellor to Ireland, who shot the dictator at point-blank range as she faced a fascist mob in Rome in 1926. The film looks at how she almost changed the course of history and the personal price she paid.

When’s it on? 

4 March, 8.30pm, Cineworld. 

Broken Law 

Preferred_BrokenLaw (1) Source: DIFF

What we know 

The film tells the story of two estranged brothers on opposite sides of the law, starring Cardboard Gangsters cast members John Connors, Tristan Heanue and Graham Earley. 

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When’s it on? 

28 February, 8.45pm, Cineworld.

Windmill Lane 

Preferred_WindmillLane Source: DIFF

What we know

Director Alan Moloney’s documentary film shows how a grimy warehouse in an inconsequential part of Dublin’s docklands became one of Ireland’s most important cultural cornerstones. 

When’s it on

7 March, 6pm, Cineworld. 

Street Leagues 

Preferred_StreetLeagues (2) Source: DIFF

What we know

Featuring contributions from actor Colin Farrell, the movie follows the Irish Street Leagues as they progress through a major tournament, told through the personal testimonies of its members, who are homeless men and women.

When’s it on

29 February, 6pm, Cineworld. 

The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival runs from 26 February – 8 March 2020. For the full line-up, and to buy tickets, visit www.diff.ie.

About the author:

Adam Daly

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