Film News Round-up April/May

Still from A Clockwork Orange

By David Prendeville

April and May look set to be strong months for local cinemagoers. Back on the big screen on April 5th is a re-issue of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece A Clockwork Orange. The film, a scandal at the time of its release in 1971, was banned in Ireland up until 2000. It suffered from a self-imposed ban in the UK after Kubrick withdrew it after its initial release, because of death threats aimed at him and his family. 

Speaking of films that were once banned in Ireland, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, is also being re-issued for its 40th anniversary this month. That film famously caused outrage in 1979 after complaints of being blasphemous. It remained banned in Ireland until 1987. While the re-issue has yet to receive a rating from the Irish Film Classification Office, a sign of changed times can be seen in that the film has now been re-rated 12A in the UK.

In terms of new releases in April, Neil Jordan’s, entertaining, daft Greta opens on April 19th. The film, a stalker thriller in the vein of 1990s films such as Single White Female, stars Isabelle Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz and Maika Monroe. The plot sees Moretz’s character finding a bag on the subway and locating the owner – Huppert. The two begin to strike up an unusual surrogate mother-daughter relationship, but all is not what it seems. 

There’s more Irish interest at the end of the month with the release of last year’s winner for best film at the Galway Film Fleadh, The Dig, which opens on April 26th. The film, starring Moe Dunford, is the feature debut of the Tohill Brothers and was scripted by Stuart Drennan. The film is being distributed by Mespil Road-based Element Pictures. 

May is set to be a strong month at the cinema. Brady Corbet’s superb satirical drama Vox Lux which stars Natalie Portman as a high-school massacre survivor turned pop-star opens on May 3rd. The film is a formally adventurous, brilliantly acted and ferociously prescient film. At once ironic and utterly serious, I would be surprised if there are many better films than this released this year. 

Another highlight in May is the return of esteemed French auteur Claire Denis with her highly-acclaimed High Life. Said to be an unusual, philosophical science-fiction film, it stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and Mia Goth. 

May is also a key month on the cinephile’s calendar as it marks another edition of the Cannes Film Festival. While there do not seem to be many Irish films tipped to be in the official competition, the festival will give a good indication of the titles likely to shape the cinema-going experience over the next twelve months.

Amongst the high-profile films set to be in competition are Quentin Tarantino’s new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The ninth film from the American auteur features a star-studded cast that includes Leonardo Di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Al Pacino and is set in Hollywood in 1969, at the tail end of the studio heydey and in and around the Manson murders.

The film is set for release in Ireland in August. New films from Pedro Almodovar, Terrence Malick and last year’s Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Koreeda are also tipped to play at the festival.