So what treats can fans of LGBT+ movies expect to see?
Ireland will be well represented with a screening of Rialto - an adaptation of writer Mark O’Halloran’s play Trade. Directed by Peter Mackie Burns, Tom VaughanLawlor plays Colm, a man struggling with the death of his destructive father and other personal crises. Unable to confide in loved ones, he seeks solace in the arms of a young male prostitute, putting family life at even greater risk.
Anna Rodgers brings her unmissable documentary, When Women Won, to the fest. It goes behind the emotional story of the Together for Yes campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment. It tells how three Irish feminists set about establishing a grassroots, women-led social movement that transformed Irish society forever.
From our friends across the pond, the UK’s Our Ladies looks like it could be great fun. A group of Catholic schoolgirls in Edinburgh for a choir competition are more interested in hooking up, drinking and partying, while one of the young friends comes to terms with her sexuality.
Classic 1951 film, Olivia, tells of another schoolgirl, this one with an intense crush on her teacher, much to the annoyance of her peers. Although almost 70 years old, the film is still a powerful look at young (and forbidden) love.
On the other end of the age spectrum, French movie Two of Us looks like it could break a few hearts. It features two retirement-age women living in the same apartment building who have been keeping a huge secret for decades – they are passionately in love. While one is a free spirit, the other has been hiding her relationship from her adult children. Things, as they inevitably do, come to a head.
There are a couple of films focusing on young gay men in precarious situations, both for vastly different reasons. Australia’s Sequin in a Blue Room follows a teenage boy who goes down a dangerous path when he attempts to track down a strange man he encountered at a sex party.
Arriving on a wave of acclaim, Moffie tells the story of gay teenager conscripted to war in 1980’s South Africa. He is terrified of his sexuality being found out as it could lead to brutal punishment. This one has proven to be quite the hit with the critics.
As well as that selection of LGBT+ films, Irish films will figure prominently. Lorcan Finnegan’s sci-fi thriller Vivarium sees Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg as a young couple literally trapped in a suburban hell, while Irish language feature Arracht is a thriller set during The Famine. The heartbreaking documentary, Endless Sunshine on a Cloudy Day, which sees a father and daughter both diagnosed with cancer sharing their stories of resilience and hope, will be joined by another moving documentary, Street Leagues, which spotlights the redemptive power of sport, told through the personal testimonies of homeless men and women who have found a sense of belonging and purpose in the beautiful game. It follows the Irish Street Leagues team as they aim to progress through a major tournament.
And while the Academy Awards have only just finished, the Festival will close with an Irish film for which rumblings of nominations have already begun. Herself features writer and actor Clare Dunne as a survivor of domestic violence fallen on hard times who’s also become trapped by the country’s housing crisis. She attempts to literally rebuild her life by making a house for herself and her children from scratch.
As well as all those films, there will be appearances by the truly unique Charlie Kaufman, alongside visits by directors Lone Sherfig, Marjane Satrapi and actor Bill Nighy. That’s merely the tip of the iceberg, get yourself to the fest and enjoy a world of film.
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