Archive for March, 2007

Best Foreign Film Poll

30th March 2007 by Maura McHugh

Over at the Guardian blog there’s a call for punters to send in their nominations for the best foreign film ever made. There’s a £200 gift voucher on offer–for UK participants only.

One wonders what is meant by “foreign films” – I’m assuming they are films made in a language that is not English, which rules out most Irish cinema, along with Australian and Canadian candidates. But perhaps they mean non-British.

Taking the former definition, in a couple of minutes I assembled a small list from a huge range of contenders:

Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D (1952), Thomas Vinterberg Festen (1998), Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), Chan-wook Park’s OldBoy (2003), Fritz Lang’s M (1931), Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993), Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris (1963), Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1966), François Truffaut’s Les Quatre cents coups (1959), Kar Wai Wong’s In the Mood for Love (2000), Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s City of God (2002), Kaige Chen’s Farewell my Concubine (1993), Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Delicatessen (1991), Takeshi Kitano’s Hana-bi (1997), Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (2000), Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953), Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine (1995), Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 (1963), Ki-duk Kim’s 3 Iron (2004), and Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s Innocence (2004).

There are so many more; these are the films that I thought of immediately. I think it’s impossible to select just one film. Films satisfy different needs at different times. Several of the directors I listed have other classics among their oeuvre.

What are your favourites?

Kisses in Dublin

30th March 2007 by Maura McHugh

IFTN notes that a new Irish feature film, Kisses, has begun principal photography in locations around Dublin. Written and directed by Lance Daly (Last Days In Dublin, The Halo Effect), it stars newcomers Kelly O’Neill (10 yrs) and Shane Curry (11 yrs), with support from Stephen Rea (Breakfast on Pluto), Paul Roe (Adam & Paul) and Neilí Conroy (Intermission).

Lynch in Paris

29th March 2007 by Maura McHugh

Anyone fancying a trip to Paris in the coming weeks, might want to visit David Lynch’s “The Air is On Fire” installation, which occupies the three floors of the The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain until May 27.

Maxim Jakubowski has written about the multi-media exhibition on the Guardian blog. The showing features Lynch’s artwork, short films, and photography, and is set off by his own musical composition.

It would be a perfectly weird hiatus between glasses of wine and sumptuous meals.

Oz on film

29th March 2007 by Maura McHugh

The IFI in Dublin is running an Australian Film Festival from Monday 2nd April until Thursday the 12th of April.

The festival provides audiences with the opportunity to sample a varied cross section of recent Australian cinema.

NI arts funding crisis

28th March 2007 by Maura McHugh

The Stage reports there will be a crisis in arts funding in Northern Ireland from 2008 to 2011 unless at least £23.5 million is injected into the NI Arts Council’s budget. The funding body discovered last week that it is going to lose £4.5 million in lottery money to the 2012 Olympics.

Chief executive Roisin McDonough told The Stage she questioned whether the government valued the arts in Northern Ireland as much as elsewhere in the UK. The region has the lowest per capita funding of all the arts councils, at £6.13 compared to £11.93 in Scotland and £8.14 in England. The requested increase would bring its spend up to £10.70.

McDonough added: “Our original forecasts were made before this latest bombshell hit. Over the last ten years, there has been chronic underfunding of the arts in Northern Ireland, and in the last few years funding has been frozen. This loss is coming on top of all the other underfunding and it is very serious. Our theatre sector in particular is small but it is a very important, vibrant part of our infrastructure and it needs to be resourced properly. We haven’t been able to do that.

“You’ve only got to look at the fact the Lyric, our principle rep, struggles every year and at the moment has a £4.6 million shortfall in the funding it needs to get its new theatre, which is absolutely crucial for the whole development of theatre in Northern Ireland.”