Irish Film Institute -ELAINE MAY: ISHTAR


Director: Elaine May

107 mins, USA, 1987, Digital

This film screened 28th August 2016.

Laugh a Defiance curator Vaari Claffey will introduce the screening.

After the struggle over the release 
of Mikey and Nicky, May would not direct again until ten years later when Warren Beatty, eager to repay her for script-writing she did on Heaven Can Wait and, uncredited, on Reds, offered to produce her next project. As luck would have it, May wrote Ishtar, a story of two bumbling lounge singers who accept the only job they can get in Marrakesh but wind up stuck in
 the imaginary land of Ishtar, where they become embroiled in a conflict between leftist revolutionaries and the CIA.

Details of Ishtar’s demented, torturous production could fill a tome and needless to say it didn’t thrive at the box office. Since its 2013 Blu-Ray release however, it has finally begun to get the praise it so richly deserves with figures as varied as Martin Scorsese, Lena Dunham and Quentin Tarantino all identifying themselves as firm admirers.

This screening is part of the Elaine May Retrospective running from August 20th-28th 2016.

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