Running from November 9 to November 17, the 58th Cork Film Festival promises “an eclectic mix of films, music and ideas”. Now spanning three venues, CFF is Ireland’s oldest event of this kind and female filmmakers are well-represented. Maintaining its locale’s reputation as ‘the Rebel City’, this year’s edition boasts the resistance-minded strand ‘No! – Activism on Film’, foregrounding Agnieszka Holland’s three-part Velvet Revolution HBO mini-series Burning Bush and Barbara Miller’s Amnesty International/Human Rights Awards-winning Forbidden Voices, which follows three women defying blog censorship in Cuba, China and Iran. A cross-platform Rich Pickings series curated by Carla Mackinnon tackles such topics as Protest, Fairness and Global Solidarity in a Changing World, with a screening of and Q&A around 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, not to mention Rewiring The Body – Film and Discussion at the Intersection of Technology and the Flesh, including a presentation by artist and designer Agatha Haines.
A pioneering spirit is in further evidence across the documentary slate, with welcome outings for Lily Keber’s eagerly awaited Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker – eulogising a flamboyant musician dubbed “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced” – and Sini Anderson’s superb The Punk Singer, profiling inspirational riot grrrl progenitor Kathleen Hanna. BEV can also recommend Sophie Fiennes’ visually inventive and frequently hilarious philosophical cine-slalom The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, her second collaboration with cuddly cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek; Maja Borg’s extraordinary personal-political road trip Future My Love (check back here next week for a director interview); Caroline Martel’s electronic instrument exploration Wavemakers, about the Ondes Martenot; plus Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s abstract, immersive commercial fishing portrait Leviathan (which we’ll be returning to in depth for its UK theatrical release later this month).
Moving from the factual to fictional, Cork’s narrative features selection has a pleasingly international flavour. Among the titles to look out for are Dominique Cardona and Laurie Colbert’s immigrant nanny in Canada drama Margarita, which closed this year’s London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival; Pelin Esmer’s rural Turkey two-hander Watchtower; New Zealander Alyx Duncan’s globe straddling debut The Red House, starring her parents in the lead roles; plus Polish priest-in-sexual-turmoil tale In the Name of, written and directed by recent BEV blog interviewee Malgorzata Szumowska.
There’s an early chance to catch Rama Burshtein’s orthodox Jewish community saga Fill the Void ahead of its December theatrical release, while Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s psychedelic Euro-horror The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears plays as part of a special giallo night. We’re also mightily intrigued by British auteur Sarah Pucill’s Magic Mirror, described as a “part essay, part film poem… re-staging of the French Surrealist artist Claude Cahun’s black and white photographs, with selected extracts from her book Aveux Non Avenus (Confessions Cut Off)“. Check the full festival programme for details of this and much, much more!