November at the IFI is jampacked with treats

This November, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) sees the much-awaited return of the IFI French Film Festival, running from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 24th. Alongside the Festival’s 20th anniversary edition, the month sees new releases from Ken Loach and Martin Scorsese, and The Nightingale, the latest from The Babadook director Jennifer Kent.

IFI French Film Festival returns from November 13th to 24th, bringing a wealth of new and classic films to this year’s programme. Highlights of the 2019 Festival include opening film Portrait of a Lady on Fire; four memorable features by writer-director Claude Sautet, and documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché; a selection of Guy-Blaché’s short films, a pioneering filmmaker of the early 20th century, will screen throughout the festival ahead of features in the main programme.

Attending this year’s Festival will be director-screenwriter-producer Cédric Klapisch for a Q&A following his film on romantic urban isolation, Someone, SomewhereStar of recent release Non-FictionVincent Macaigne will also attend the Festival, taking part in a Q&A for Cédric Kahn’s Happy Birthdayin which Macaigne plays the son of Catherine Deneuve’s character, and Pure as Snowa quirky fairy-tale-inspired film directed by Anne Fontaine. Spotlighting the French female rock scene, co-screenwriter of Oh, les filles!Bayon, will participate in a Q&A following the film.

Other much-anticipated titles include Farewell to the Night, which sees Deneuve play a grandmother frantically trying to stop her grandson-turned-Islamic fundamentalist travelling to Syria, while gripping courtroom drama The Girl with a Bracelet follows the trial of 18-year-old Lise, accused of killing her best friend, played by newcomer Melissa Guers.

Amongst the acclaimed comedies in the Festival are Louis-Julien Petit’s Invisiblesa humorous and heart-warming film following social workers at a homeless shelter; Manele Labidi Labbé’s French-Tunisian Arab Blues; Xavier Dolan’s coming-of-age Matthias and Maxime; Christophe Honoré’s inventive On a Magical Night; and Nicolas Bedos’s La Belle Époquea time-travel romance starring Daniel Auteuil and Fanny Ardant. 

Also opening in November is Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman starring Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino in his first role for the legendary director. The film is more than a celebration of its instant-classic cast; it is surprising and epic. From the gangster narrative to exploring crime on an everyday level, Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You follows 2016’s hugely successful I, Daniel Blake and promises more searing social realism. 

Further new releases in November include Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Storyin which Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) returns to the subject of divorce, with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in the lead roles. Driver also stars in political drama The Reportas the leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the CIA’s interrogation techniques. The Two Popes follows a series of imagined meetings in 2012 between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) and is released on Friday 29th. Also opening from Friday 29th is The Nightingale, by critically acclaimed director Jennifer Kent. Kent, director of 2014’s The Babadook, returns with a horror set in 1825, starring Irish actress Aisling Franciosi. 

Documentaries showing at the IFI in November include Hoop Dreams, screening in celebration of its 25th anniversary; Marco Porsio’s Where Does a Body End?, which follows American experimental rock band Swans and their rise to fame in no-wave New York in the 1980s; and Werner Herzog’s new documentary Meeting Gorbachev, which showcases Herzog’s investigative style with an intimate portrait of the man who served as General Secretary of the Soviet Union from 1985-1991. Following sold-out events at September’s IFI Documentary Festival, PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy collaboration A Dog Called Money and Benjamin Berman’s metatextual The Amazing Johnathan Documentary return to the IFI’s screens.

In line with a month of international cinema and music documentaries, November’s Irish Focus pick is Down Claibornescreening Thursday 7th at 18:30, in which Irish film artist Moira Tierney investigates the artistic traditions of Mardi Gras Indians in Tremé, New Orleans. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Tierney, hosted by Dr Paula Gilligan of IADT. Other special screenings include the monthly Bigger Picture strand with Brian De Palma’s 1981 neo-noir Blow Outselected and introduced by Brian Lloyd, Movies Editor at entertainment.ie. From The Vaults this month, and made two years prior to De Palma’s noir, is Tony Luraschi’s Northern Irish drama The Outsider, screening Monday 25th at 18:00; this 40th anniversary screening will be followed by a Q&A with Luraschi.

Tickets for the IFI French Film Festival are available from www.ifi.ie/frenchfest – a range of multi-film passes are also available directly from the IFI Box Office. Tickets for all other special events are on sale now from the IFI Box Office on (01) 6793477 and from www.ifi.ie.