Here are some of our most popular DVDs, both international and Irish-interest, and classic posters…
Of Gods And Men:Critically-acclaimed French-Algerian drama about a small group of monks in a remote Cistercian monastery in the Algerian mountains. With militant fundamentalism on the rise, the faith of each of the monks is tested in different ways, the film forming a beautiful philosophical meditation on the nature of faith under extreme pressure. Watch the trailer.
Mid-August Lunch: This delightful Italian comedy is the directorial debut of acclaimed screenwriter (and sometime-actor) Gianni Di Gregorio. Playing a semi-autobiographical version of himself, Gregorio gets brilliant comedic performances out of a group of non-actors (including his own elderly mother) in this story of a middle-aged man who finds himself babysitting a small group of senior citizens during the Ferragosta feast day of the title. Watch the trailer.
Salt of Life: In this bittersweet follow-up to Mid-August Lunch, put-upon screenwriter Gianni Di Gregorio sets out on a desperate search for middle-aged romance, hindered by the demands of his extravagant mother and the lecherous egging-on of his lawyer friend. With his near-permanent hang-dog expression, Di Gregorio’s hilarious performance is reminiscent of fellow director/actors such as Nanni Morretti and Jacques Tati. Watch the trailer.
Pina: A Best-Documentary Nomination for the 2012 Academy Awards, Wim Wenders latest film is an affectionate tribute to the legendary dance choreographer Pina Bausch, who died suddenly in 2009. Wenders’ mesmerising documentary features many of Pina Bausch’s greatest works, performed by the Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble. Watch the trailer.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog was given unprecedented access to Chauvet Caves in Southern France, where his documentation of 35,000-year-old cave paintings is interspersed with typically random asides. Forgotten Dreams marks the director’s first (and possibly last) foray into 3D filmmaking is a thought-provoking, meditative work that transports you back to a world when humanity was young, and art was timeless. Watch the trailer.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: While Tomas Alfredson’s streamlined 2011 version (starring a sphinx-like Gary Oldman) has received justifiable acclaim, the original BBC adaptation retains far more of the complexity of John Le Carre’s seminal Cold War novel. An enthralling Alec Guinness plays retired spy George Smiley, brought out of retirement to investigate a possible spy at the highest levels of the British Intelligence service. Watch the trailer.
The White Ribbon: Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke followed up his enormously successful thriller Caché(Hidden) with this chilling Palme D’Or winner set in a small German village on the eve of World War I. A series of mysterious accidents befall the villagers, becoming increasingly sinister and pointing to a bizarre form of “punishment”. But who is responsible, and why? Watch the trailer.
The Lives of Others: The outstanding debut by German filmmaker Florian Henckel Von Donnersmark (Winner of the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Feature) is set in the shadowy world of state surveillance in East Berlin during the 1980s. A coldly efficient Stasi officer is assigned to monitor a controversial playwright and his actress girlfriend, but finds his loyalties divided when he starts to empathise with their passionate outlook on life. Watch the trailer.
Other DVDs that you might not have though of… Mic Macs; Patti Smith – Dream of Life; A Separation; Paris Je t’aime; Hidden/Caché; Persepolis; A Prophet.
BEST OF IRISH
The Dead: John Huston’s final film (it was released posthumously) is and adaptation of one of James Joyce’s most famous short stories in the ‘Dubliners’ collection. A married couple (Donal McCann and Angelica Huston) attend a Christmas dinner with friends at the home of the husband’s spinster aunts; over the course of the evening, an epiphany is revealed to both of them.
His and Hers: Ken Wardrop’s delightful documentary is composed entirely of interviews with over 70 Irish women of all ages, from a three month old baby to a ninety year old woman reflecting on her pass. The subject of their conversations is the (always-unseen) men in their life, building up a vivid image of the fathers, brothers, husbands and sons that everyone can relate to. Watch the trailer.
The Guard: This black crime comedy forms an unlikely team of an unconventional small-town Irish policeman (a wonderfully profane Brendan Gleeson) with a strait-laced FBI agent (Don Cheadle, star of Hotel Rwanda and Crash) who reluctantly work together to track down an international drug-trafficking gang operating in the Connemara Gaeltacht. Watch the trailer.
Adam & Paul: Hilarious and heart-breaking in equal measures, Adam & Paul follows the titular best friends and drug addicts (Mark O’Halloran and Tom Murphy) over the course of an eventful 24 hours. The film won the Grand Prize at the 2005 Sofia Film Festival. Watch the trailer.
Garage: The writing/directing team behind Adam & Paul (Mark O’Halloran and Lenny Abrahamson) reunited for this touching drama set in the Irish midlands. Pat Shortt stars as a simple-minded garage attendant whose search for intimacy over the course of a summer will change his life forever. Watch the trailer.
Strumpet City: Adapted from James Plunkett’s best-selling novel, this 1980 RTÉ production charts the lives of Dubliners during the General Strike and 1913 Lockout up through the turbulent years leading to the Easter Rising.
Family: Written by Roddy Doyle and directed by Michael Winterbottom, this seminal RTÉ/BBC co-production is a moving – if sometimes harrowing – profile of the Spencers, a working-class family living in a run-down Dublin housing estate. Doyle would later revisit the character of battered matriarch Paula in the novel ‘The Woman Who Walked Into Doors’.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley: Winner of the Palme D’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, Ken Loach’s historical film follows two West Cork brothers – doctor Cillian Murphy and IRA commander Pádraic Delaney – as they fight a guerrilla war against the Black and Tans. After independence, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the Civil War, with tragic consequences. Watch the trailer.
Hidden Agenda: After an American lawyer is killed in Northern Ireland for failing to stop at a road block, a top-ranking police officer is called upon to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. The film was inspired by the investigation into the Royal Ulster Constabularies controversial ‘Shoot-To-Kill’ policy.
Kings: Based on Jimmy Murphy’s play ‘The Kings of the Kilburn High Road’, this Irish/English language film sees a group of Irish friends who, after emigrating to England 30 years previously, are reunited at the funeral of a friend. The film intercuts between the men’s lost youth in Ireland and the harsh realities of the present day.
December Bride: 1909; A strong-willed servant girl keeps house for an elderly widower and his two sons. When the old man dies, the girl enters into a relationship with the two brothers, scandalising the conservative Ulster farming community around them. Based on the novel by Sam Hanna Bell.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Not content with adapting ‘Ulysses’ to the big screen, Joseph Strick returned to James Joyce in 1977, telling the story of Joyce-surrogate Stephen Dedalus’ search for knowledge against the background of his family’s declining circumstances in early 20th Century Ireland.
Ulysses: Joyce’s famously “unfilmable” novel was adapted twice, but most cineastes prefer this looser 1967 version by Joseph Strick. Over the course of June 16th, 1904, a young Stephen Dedalus wanders the streets of Dublin city, encountering Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged Jewish man preoccupied with the possible infidelities of his wife Molly.
Man of Aran: Unavailable for many years, Robert Flaherty’s famous documentary about the lives of Aran islanders has come under attack for the director’s recreation of a way of life that had been outdated for fifty years when the film was shot. This aside, the film is still regarded as a classic for its stunning cinematography, scenery and editing.
Mise Éire: Containing extraordinary archive footage, George Morrison’s pioneering 1959 documentary is a stirring chronicle of Ireland’s turbulent years between 1896 and 1918, particularly the momentous events of Easter 1916. Seán Ó Riada’s innovative music score (a combination of tradition Irish tunes, sean-nós and an orchestral arrangement) brought him national acclaim.
Reeling in the Decades: Three decades of by the hugely-popular RTÉ documentary series are collected in this box-set, running from 1970 to 1999, linking the year’s biggest news and events with the most iconic music hits of the time.
Other Irish-interest DVDs and box-sets…
LOVE/HATE seasons 1 and 2, The Pipe, Rocky Road to Dublin, Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy
The Wizard of oz
Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Asphalt Jungle
A Very Long Engagement
Nightmare Before Christmas
Crouching Ttiger Hidden Dragon
Star Wars (American one sheet complete posters)
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (alternate)
Gone with the Wind
Frankenstein (Boris Karloff)
Easy Rider (classic cover)
Blue Angel (Marlene Dietrich)
The Great Escape
All About My Mother
Full Metal Jacket
In the Mood for Love
Ghost in a Shell
The IFI is supported by The Arts Council