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a cura di Virginia Carolfi

One of the two “geographical” focuses of the 2020 Concorto Film Festival is dedicated to a land which just seems to be made for movie making: Ireland.
Hibernia – this is how the Romans referred to Ireland – is characterized by a phenomenon which rarely occurs in such a clear way in other cultures, which is the penetration of folklore and legends into the depths of the national cultural fabric.

A very delicate balance that gives to the Irish culture, and therefore to the Irish cinema, an undeniable charm, mixing reality and imagination, drawing from myths and transforming them into metaphors through which one can observe, narrate and interpret daily life.

It is thanks to authors such as Marina Carr, Conor McPherson and Enda Walsh that Irish theatre is experiencing a time of great vitality, and it is exactly from this environment that one of the most prominent film directors of the last few years comes from: Martin McDonagh (director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), born in the United Kingdom from Irish parents and deeply connected to this land, as shown by his beautiful early plays (first and foremost The Aran Islands Trilogy). It’s also within his own family that can be found one of the directors that most have stood out over the past few years: Martin’s older brother John Michael McDonagh, director of The Guard (2011), keeps showing how Irish films have the unique capacity of combining opposites such as drama and comedy, modernity and tradition.

Through the selected short films we will try to explore the many facets of this emerald island that never fails to fascinate; we will leave space to the Gaelic language, the Irish native language, to the city and to the countryside, to the ocean, to the rebellion, to the craic (Irish term for entertainment and fun), to the animation (memorable are the extraordinary animated films The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea), to the music and to that indescribable quality that characterises the Irish soul.

Focus realised in collaboration with Eibh Collins.

The selected shorts

Selected by Virginia Carolfi

An Island, Rory Byrne, 2017
Analog people in a digital age, Keith Walsh & Jill Beardsworth, 2013
Bainne, Jack Reynor, 2019
Bogna Kirchoff, Chris O’Neill, 2019
Boy Saint, Tom Speers, 2018
Coda, Alan Holly, 2013
Donnú Bréige, Lisa McInerney, 2019
Inhale, Sean Mullan, 2018
Kachalka, Gar O’Rourke, 2019
Late Afternoon, Louise Bagnall, 2017
Leave the road behind you, Daniel Butler, 2019
Postcards: Five Stones of Lead, Jonny Madderson, 2017
Sean Hillen, Merging Views, Paddy Cahill, 2016
Streets of Fury, Aidan McAteer, 2019
The Lament, Joe Duffy, 2019
Welcome to a bright white limbo, Cara Holmes, 2019

An Island
With An Island, Irish directors confirm once again to stand out when producing animation. A short film that the absence of dialogues makes really touching and that takes us to the very heart of a metaphorical desert island, to the demons that everyone hides deep inside, making us face the most ancestral forces of Nature.

Analog people in a digital age
A pub lost in nowhere, regular customers, and an epochal change for rural Ireland: the digital television transition. A film that may not be recent but that still asks the eternal question: is the race to progress likely to leave many behind?

A real gem in this selection, a short film in Gaelic whose Irish culture nightmares make your heart pound: banshee, the Great Famine, poverty and supernatural. All enriched with a black and white worthy of Polanski.

Bogna Kirchoff
A surreal trip that mixes the footage of a spy story of the 70s with a vaguely soft porn soundtrack, showing us an elusive main character. A short film for voyeurs and confirmed dreamers.

Boy Saint
Basing on a poem by Peter LaBerge, images as gentle as drops of water in the ocean depict adolescence and sexuality. An Irish short in which Malick is to be found.

There are some things you are never ready for, but it is easier said than done. The only way to be ready to face the most inescapable journey of life is to somehow accept it, just how this incredible short film shows us.

Donnú Bréige
What do have Brexit and tanning lotions in common? A lot more than you would expect. A sensational monologue that brings us, in just 4 minutes, to the heart of the matter, starring Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood, Evanna Lynch.

Everything comes and goes, everything flows and the secret is to let go. Nature is the guardian of this, and the protagonist of Inhale finds in her shelter, comfort, and wisdom to face the extreme harshness of life.

Directed by the Irish Gar O’Rourke but set in Kyiv, Kachalka depicts the fauna of the world’s most hardcore gym. An outdoor area in a public park, with some rusty but functional equipment and a unique and colorful multitude of aficionados.

Late Afternoon
What makes us humans? Everyone has his own answer: I believe it is the memories that make us who we are, therefore it happens that, though a disease may make them fade, the bottom of a cup of tea can help us recall them.

Leave the road behind you
I believe everyone has already experienced that almost irritating feeling of being stuck somewhere between expectation and fear, that feeling that hits us before leaving, as if we already felt not to belong anymore in the place we are, but still without real contact with the place we are heading to. This is LTRBY, the blink of an eye at the end of adolescence.

Postcards: Five Stones of Lead
John Ford could have directed this little gem, a short film that takes us to the core of the Irish essence without falling into rhetoric. Freckles, beaches, horses, and dreams of glory.

Sean Hillen, Merging Views
There is no question that the one of collage is a form of art: undoubtedly Sean Hillen’s surreal, exhilarating and unexpected works, as well as his studio/photo gallery/newspaper library, have an invincible charm as if it were possible to go on holiday in those imaginary places.

Streets of Fury
A relaxing and lighthearted short film that takes us into the world of videogames of the 90s, accompanied by a brave sheep and its young human friends, Max Punchface.

The Lament
Without a single word, The Lament shows us one of Ireland’s most unfamiliar taboos: the one of the Cilliní. Those areas in the countryside, far from towns, where unbaptized children were buried. A custom that continued until the 1960s and that we see from above, seized by an ancient restlessness.

Welcome to a bright white limbo
An outstanding example of how art and life are inseparable for some people, WTABWL brings us face to face with Oona Doherty, an acclaimed dancer and choreographer, and with her way of working, her sources of inspiration, frustrations, and her energy that always seems about to explode.

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