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      Light House and Pálás at Cannes!

      In their quest to bring you all the very best that cinema has to offer, the programmers of Light House & Pálás found themselves at The 77th Festival de Cannes in May. They have kindly shared some of their festival highlights ! With 6am wake ups for tickets and many films watched, there's simply not enough of a word count to cover everything and so, films that are very likely already on your radar receive an honourable mention such as; Yorgos Lanthimos' Kinds of Kindness, Paul Schraders' Oh, Canada, Coralie Fargeat's The Substance as well as Bird, the latest from Andrea Arnold.

      Alice Black - Head of Programming

      'There’s no greater moment for film programmers than when the Cannes selections are announced. The anticipation of new cinematic gems from names you know and love and names to be discovered begins. 10 days,over 40 films and what seems like a 1000 cups of coffee later, I’m happy to report there’s plenty to look forward to. These were some of my favourites:

      Bird – Andrea Arnold has a very special talent for working with and telling stories about younger people. Bird is no exception. A curious combination of gritty social realism woven through with moments of magic, this tale of a young teen (newcomer Nykiya Adams) coping with a challenging environment (enter Barry Keoghan as a deadbeat dad) who makes friends with a mysterious stranger (the always wonderful Franz Rogowski), is incredibly affecting. There may have been tears.

      Armand – Winner of the Camera d’or for Best First Feature, this Norwegian drama is striking calling card for director Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel. Much like last year’s hit Anatomy of Fall or The Teacher’s Lounge, this is a psychologically complex examination of a day long parent-teacher meeting dealing with the shocking behaviour one of its young pupils. With a superb ensemble cast, there’s some extraordinary moments between the two mothers played by Renate (Worst Person In the World) Reinsve and Ellen Dorrit Petersen. Unforgettable.

      Flow – Latvian animator Gints Zibalodis created quite a stir at Annecy with feature Away and I had high hopes for this new film about a group of animals trying to survive a devastating climate event. Dialogue-free with no humans in sight, I’ve never been more invested in the unlikely friendship group of a black cat, golden retriever, lemur, and a heron as they navigate danger on their journey through an incredible landscape. Working largely on his own, this films is a triumph of animated storytelling and the most devastating and ultimately hopeful, look at climate change impact. 

      Grand Tour – There is something classical but also entirely bonkers about Portuguese filmmaker Michel Gomez (Tabu) style of filmmaking. Beautifully shot in black in white, this is an epic and episodic sprawling tale of 20th century adventure as Edward, having an existential crisis, travels the world to find meaning. Hot on his heels is the fiancé he has left behind. Almost dream-like, there are wonders to be found in every scene. But it isn’t for everyone, and tried the patience of a few colleagues. I loved it. 

      Good One – American shorts filmmaker India Donaldson makes her feature debut with this deceptively quiet and subtle indie drama which takes place over a weekend backpacking trip in the Catskills. Smart and grounded 17 year old Sam has to content with the egos of her father and his oldest friend as it becomes clear, very quickly, who is the adult on this trip. Newcomer Lily Collias is definitely one to keep an eye on. 

      Anora – I haven’t spoken to anyone who wasn’t over the moon about Sean Baker’s Palme d’or win for this amazing film. Bringing the kind of warmth and compassion for his characters which we’ve seen all his other films (Florida Project, Tangerine, Red Rocket), this is his take on a modern day Cinderella story. A young sex worker from Brooklyn meets and quickly marries the son of a Russian oligarch. But her fairytale doesn’t last long when news of the nuptials reaches his parents and they set out to force an annulment. Like an X-rated Howard Hawkes screwball comedy, this is without a shadow of a doubt one of my favourite films of the year so far. I can’t wait to see it again.'

      Will Fitzgerald - Pálás Programmer
      'I hit the croisette for the first six days of the festival this year and managed to squeeze in a respectable (in my opinion!) 20 films in that time. Here are some of my highlights: 

      Kinds of Kindness - The best, most absurd darkly comic triptych about love, power, and obsession that you will see this year! You will never guess where the individual chapters will take you next and the complete film will leave you thinking about the thematic ties long after. It’s a structure that invites rewatching and luckily there isn’t a long wait until its on our screens.

      The Surfer - More than just another fun entry into the ‘Nicolas Cage goes crazy’ canon, its also another absorbing entry into the ‘director Lorcan Finnegan warns about the perils of home ownership’ canon! And an exquisitely crafted one at that.

      Oh, Canada - Another Cannes competition entry that grew on me post-screening. A layered and complex narrative, its an imperfect film about the imperfectness of memory. A fascinating late career film from Schrader, with a plot about a director looking back on his life, adapted from the final novel by Schrader’s Affliction co-writer Russel Banks, and starring his American Gigolo lead Richard Gere as the haggard dying man. Complete with nostalgic, lavish scenes of 60’s/70’s Americana by one of the great New Hollywood filmmakers.

      Emilia Pérez - Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust and Bone) makes a musical! I’m so grateful I went in blind to this one. I went from disbelief, to disbelief that it could work, to being fully onboard and invested in the Machiavellian machinations of these characters. A wild ride.

      The Balconettes - A Noémie Merlant, Céline Sciamma collaboration is of course unmissable. Cheekily evoking Rear Window while disrupting the male gaze in a story about getting away with murder is the kind of cute filmmaking you can expect from director Merlant, while skilfully balancing the humour with the more serious themes.

      The Substance - Superb casting. A perfectly conceived body horror. The fear of aging and your own body turning against you, personified and writ large, and celebrated in lights, just the like the entertainment industry does with youth. Embellished with neon pinks and blues and gooey yellows. Brilliant sophomore feature for Revenge’s Coralie Fargeat.' 

      David Kelly - Light House Programmer
      'This year's Cannes didn't quite match the dizzying heights of last year's but it did give us Palme d'Or winner Sean Baker, the return of Francis Ford Coppola and it gave me around 50 mosquito bites which is a new personal best. I arrived at the beginning of week 2 and things immediately went surreal with Rumours from Guy Maddin, starring Cate Blanchett, Alicia Vikander, Charles Dance, Denis Ménochet as members of the G7 who's summit is disrupted by pesky bog body zombies. It's hilarious and surreal as you'd expect from Maddin and probably his most accessible work to date.

      Next up, The Substance - Coralie Fargeat's Revenge was an unforgettable experience, so I had similar expectations going in here and holy moly, did it not disappoint. In the last 30 mins alone I saw Hellraiser, Evil Dead 2, The Fly and Society all referenced so the horror fan in me left the screening totally exhilarated. A delicious follow up to Revenge with an incredible central performance from Demi Moore. Loved it. We'll need to bring back Death Becomes her before it opens.
      Another highlight was Ali Abassi's The Apprentice. I think I had more fun at this than any other screening over the week. It was a late one and the crowd were in a party mood so I got in the spirit. The 80s style and soundtrack on screen helped of course and really brought me back to the likes of Scarface and Wall Street. Fascinating, compelling and salacious and not the direction I expected from Abassi after Holy Spider. I think audiences here will have a lot of fun with it in spite of the ghouls at the centre of the story. Jeremy Strong and Sebastian Stan are pitch perfect.
      Other highlights include Tawfik Alzaidi's beautifully paced debut Norah, Hiroshi Okuyama's heartwarming and uplifting My Sunshine and Yorgos Lanthimos' delightful ode to control Kinds of Kindness. Looking forward to you seeing all the above and hearing what you think!'

      We look forward to bringing all of these wonderful films to audiences in Dublin & Galway - starting with Lanthimos' Kinds of Kindness on June 28th!

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