Irish Abroad: Room, High-Rise, and Ballybrando head to Montreal

The 44th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma kicks off today (October 7th) in Montreal. Irish/Canadian co-production Room, from director Lenny Abrahamson, continues its tour of the Great White North with screenings on the 10th and 13th. It is joined at the festival by Ben Wheatley’s Northern Irish filmed J.G. Ballard adaptation High-Rise on the 12th and 14th, and Brandon Byrne’s Ballybrando, a documentary charting the ill-fated 1995 Irish film Divine Rapture, which had Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp among its stars.

room_imageRoom sees author Emma O’Donoghue adapt the script from her own best-selling novel. That story is told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy, Jack, who is being held captive in a small room along with his mother. To him the room is his world, but his mother knows different having been held there for 7 years.

The film stars Brie Larson (Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now), Jacob Tremblay (The Smurfs 2, Somnia), Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy, Nixon), and William H. Macy (Shameless, Magnolia), alongside Sean Bridgers (Rectify), Tom McCamus (The Samaritan), and Megan Park (What If). Room is an Element Pictures and No Trace Camping production, in association with Telefilm Canada, Film4, and the Irish Film Board.

high-rise_imageHigh-Rise centres on a new residential tower built on the eve of Thatcher’s England, at the site of what will soon become the world’s financial hub. Designed as a luxurious solution to the problems of the city, it is a world apart. Enter Robert Laing, a young doctor seduced by the high-rise and its creator, the visionary architect Anthony Royal. Laing discovers a world of complex loyalties, and also strikes up a relationship with Royal’s devoted aide Charlotte. But rot has set in beneath the flawless surface. Sensing discord amongst the tenants, Laing meets Wilder, a charismatic provocateur bent on inciting the situation. Wilder initiates Laing into the hidden life of the high-rise and Laing is shocked at what he sees. As the residents break into tribal factions, Laing finds himself in the middle of mounting violence. Violence that he also finds emerging in himself.

Filmed in Bangor, and directed by Ben Wheatley from a screenplay by his regular collaborator Amy Jump, High-Rise is an adaptation of JG Ballard’s classic British thriller, starring Tom Hiddleston in the lead. He is joined by Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elisabeth Moss. The film is produced by Jeremy Thomas through his production company Recorded Picture Company, with funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund, supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is a showcase for cinema of all types, from offbeat, one-of-a-kind niche works to crowd-pleasers to daringly innovative big events. The 44th edition, which will showcase 350 films from around the world, takes place from October 7th to 18th.