Papi Chulo and Rosie were particularly singled out for praise.
A NUMBER OF Irish films have been picking up great reviews and responses at the high-profile Toronto and Venice film festivals.
The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) saw Neil Jordan’s feature Greta have its world premiere, and it went on to score a major sales deal. Neil Jordan said said he was “thrilled that Focus Features have embraced our ‘Greta’ and will let her loose on a wide audience”, adding that “making a film is always a shot in the dark”.
In the film, Frances McCullen (Moretz), a young woman bereaved by her mother’s death, finds a handbag and tries to return it to its rightful owner. She strikes up an unusual friendship with enigmatic widow Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert), but Greta’s motives may be more sinister than they appear. Stephen Rea features as a private detective.
The Guardian was a bit harsher, saying that the film is “a finely framed skeleton in need of more meat on its bones”.
Other Irish titles at TIFF included Papi Chulo, Rosie and Float Like a Butterfly, which were all supported by Screen Ireland, and which all picked up strong early reviews.
John Butler’s (The Stag, Handsome Devil) new film Papi Chulo tells the story of Sean, a lonely and newly single TV weatherman who hires a Latino man to work with him and to be his friend. They have nothing in common but build a friendship – until Sean becomes consumed by a deep and obsessional attraction.
Chief Executive of Screen Ireland James Hickey said: “It’s great to see such a wide variety of Irish stories being told at the festival and we hope these stories will be picked up and seen by audiences all over the world.”
The Venice Film Festival also took place this week, with Element Pictures’ – the Irish production company behind Room and The Lobster – feature film The Favourite, directed by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (of The Lobster), picking up the prestigious Grand Jury prize and the Volpi Cup for best actress for Olivia Colman.
Irish actress Aisling Franciosi, who starred in The Fall, received great reviews for her performance in the Australian film The Nightingale, which is by Babadook director Jennifer Kent.
The film is set in 1825 Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), which was a penal colony. Franciosi stars as former convict Clare, who wants to take revenge for a horrifying incident involving her family.
At a press screening of the film, an Italian film critic shouted a sexist comment at the director – he subsequently had his press credentials pulled and an apology was made.
Variety said: “With only terse, mostly practical-minded dialogue between them, Franciosi and Ganambarr’s performances beautifully reflect their characters’ shifting perception of difference”. IndieWire said that Franciosi’s performance is “remarkable”.