A Lament for the Lost Lives of the Troubles (QFT from Friday 11 October)

Lost Lives is a beautiful film about a grim period of local history. The sober spoken words strike into your sou;. It is art, hung on a wide cinematic screen in a dark gallery that doubles as a cinema screen. It’s provocative, raw, touching, and melancholy. It’s a lamentation rather than a documentary. It’s not over. But it should be. And it must be.

The Front Runner – Gary Hart’s campaign implosion and the fall out on the women around him – has much changed in 30 years?

When should a politician’s private life impact their public campaign? In this film, while the replay of the 1987 editorial and political conversations around the investigations into Gary Hart’s personal life are interesting, and the mobile phone and early Apple Macintosh props are fun to revisit, it’s the invasion of privacy of young women involved with married politicians and the seeming continued absence of editorial protection that are perhaps most disturbing to watch thirty years later.

Hear My Voice – a cinematic companion piece to Colin Davidson’s Silent Testimony

Hear My Voice is a cinematic companion piece to Colin Davidson’s Silent Testimony, a 2015 exhibition of 18 portraits of people who suffered loss during the local conflict, developed in conjunction with the WAVE Trauma Centre. The paintings are back in the Ulster Museum until Sunday 22 April and the exhibition is well worth a visit.

The Post – surefooted newspaper drama with obvious modern parallels

The parallels with 2018 are immense. The on-screen battle between politicians and the fourth estate may remind local audiences of politicians boycotting interviews with certain mainstream news outlets and harassed questioning the veracity and reporting of stories which are embarrassing. After nearly two hours, I also learnt that if you’re ever near the NY Times office, be careful crossing the road: nearly everyone in this film narrowly escapes being run over!

No Stone Unturned – a film that finally lifts the Loughinisland stones the RUC wouldn’t touch

New documentary examining the Loughinisland massacre goes deeper into the evidence that any existing investigations, naming the chief suspects. An exemplar on how to tell an investigative story in a manner which gives dignity to the victims and their families, No Stone Unturned avoids politicisation and politicians, and exposes the messy ‘dirty war’ that was thoroughly intertwined with the paramilitary action during the Troubles.

Free screening of ‘I am Belfast’ film this Thursday…

If you have not seen it yet, ‘I am Belfast’ is a visually wonderful and unique film. Mark Cousins’ tribute to his home city is both a treat for the eyes and thought-provoking. The basic concept is to imagine Belfast as a 10,000 year old woman. We follow her as she travels through Belfast and reflects on the history of the locations she visits. What I liked about the film was that it made you see Belfast in a whole different light. Locations …

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Belfast Festival preview – Casement, Cooper and Chekhov (11-29 October) #BelFest

QUICK PREVIEW of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival which runs from 11-29 October. The life and legacy of Roger Casement is examined, along with 100 years of women’s emancipation, the refugee crisis (with a lecture by MP Yvette Cooper on how the UK should do more), Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women, a new adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters by Lucy Caldwell, a play about RUC and Garda officers patrolling the border and three concerts by the flamboyant Taylor Mac.

[FILM] GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution…

Cannabis is a divisive topic wherever you live. I live in Norwich, in the east of England, yet I am as attached to the issue as someone with a severe chronic illness in Brighton, or London, or Belfast is. This is because I have made a feature length documentary about this very issue. To expand: it is about the largely beneficial effect that cannabis has on people with chronic illnesses. Those who feel the war on drugs has prohibited their …

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Film review – Bobby Sands: 66 Days

BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS is a documentary film that weaves together the story of 1970s and 1980s republicanism with day by day updates on Sands’ condition and diary entries throughout his hunger strike. It’s neither an apologetic nor a rose-tinted documentary. The film sets events firmly in context but the critique of the hunger strike, the decisions of the UK government and the protest’s long term effect is fairly lenient.

Mark Cousins: “In the middle of the joy, modernity and new tolerance that we have, we have to allow a bit of space to acknowledge that creature from the Black Lagoon, that sense of, ‘Wow, did we really do that? Were we that inhuman?’ Yes, we were.”

The Guardian’s eminent film critic Peter Bradshaw, briefly and favourably, reviews film-maker Mark Cousins’ “meditative tribute” to his hometown, “I am Belfast”- a “valuable, heartfelt tribute to a city”. …there is much food for thought. He notes the fact that images of the Titanic, created at Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard, are everywhere in the city since the movie, creating a veritable tourist icon. Cousins indirectly and interestingly suggests that the catastrophe of its sinking in 1912 may have fed, or even …

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Review – The Truth Commissioner – can he deliver truth, healing and closure?

The Truth Commissioner had its world première screening in front of a paying audience in the Queen’s Film Theatre on Monday 1 February as part of their Made in Britain season. The adaptation of David Park’s award winning book (reviewed) examines some of the complexity of the legacy issues Northern Ireland has yet to fully grasp. Henry Stanfield is a serial peace-builder, a career diplomat who flies in to heal wounds and build bridges in conflicted regions of the world. …

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The unusual link to Northern Ireland in this year’s Oscar nominations

The recent release of the 2016 Oscar nominations hides an fascinating twist for local film fans. The local connection comes by way of “Northern Irish/ Icelandic” director Robert Ingi Douglas who gave 2016 Best Original Score nominee Johann Johannsson his first feature movie opportunity following a chance meeting in a Reykjavik bar just over 15 years ago. The Icelandic musician, nominated this year for for his powerful Sicario score, is well known for his work on Prisoners and Theory of Everything …

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Bond is back! (Northern Irish storyline still awaited…)

He’s back, to save the world once again. Daniel Craig today returns to the big screen as MI6’s best-known fictional intelligence officer, amid another colossal media fanfare. Today the latest instalment in the Eon franchise (there have now been 24 movies from the Broccoli/Wilson stable), “Spectre”, hits our cinemas, and another huge box-office hit is all but certain. For how much longer, though, can James Bond go on? Ian Fleming introduced his best-known creation in his debut novel “Casino Royale”, …

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U2 release their short film set in Belfast. Kevin and Sadie with safety pins…

U2 has released their short film “Every Breaking Wave” – Directed by Aoife McArdle. . The film is set in Belfast during the early eighties and tells the cross community love story of two punks. The film throws every troubles cliché into the mix, paramilitary dad – check, squaddies beating up punk – check, you get the idea. The film has not gone down well with some locals. Many people do not like it’s negative portrayal of Belfast, they prefer people concentrate on …

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Flegs and Anthems

I was interested to note the Union Flag carefully positioned immediately beside Belfast PUP Councillor Julie-Anne Corr Johnson for her interview with BBC NI’s The View recently. “On one hand they tell us the British identity of Northern Ireland citizens is under threat”, she thundered, “whilst at the same time denying British citizens like me access to British laws and British rights.” The openly lesbian Corr Johnson was objecting to the DUP campaign for a ‘religious opt-out’ to equality laws …

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Exploring the impact of conflict on everyone through film #ConvoCinema at the QFT

Rather than telling stories about wars, we’re also interested in exploring how conflict has impacted on displaced people, refugees, women, those who are left behind and the soldiers as well … We’re trying to broaden it out from a purely historical perspective into something that is a little bit more about the actual people and feelings and how it has impacted on people’s real lives. That’s how Queens Film Theatre‘s head Susan Picken described the new Conversations about Cinema: Impact …

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