Three Irish films, Handsome Devil, Return to Montauk, and The Secret Scripture, will feature at the 36th Istanbul Film Festival, which takes place in the historic Turkish city from April 5th to 15th.

In John Butler’s Handsome Devil, two very different boys are forced to share a room together at their rugby-mad boarding school. Ned (Fionn O’Shea)’s an effete, sensitive musician and Conor (Nick Galitzine) the star outhalf on the rugby team. Over the course of the school year, the boundaries between them are eroded as they become friends. Two teachers fight for the souls of the boys, rugby coach Pascal (Moe Dunford) and Mr Sherry (Andrew Scott), an inspirational English teacher. Each has their own agenda. Handsome Devil is out in Ireland on April 21st.

Volker Schlondorff’s Return to Montauk is based on a screenplay co-written with Brooklyn author Colm Tóibín, and follows a German writer who visits New York for the release of his book, which is about how he meet and fell in love with a young woman in the city 17 years ago. As his wife plans his new book tour he bumps into his original love again, and they decide to spend a weekend together in Montauk, a fishing port on Long Island.

Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture centres around Rose McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave), an elderly woman who has lived in state institutions for over 50 years. Despite her bleak surroundings, there is a light in her eyes that cannot be extinguished. Dr. Stephen Greene (Eric Bana) is drawn to her, compelled to discover her past and help gain her freedom.  Through Lady Rose’s ‘scripture’, a life of extraordinary love and great injustice emerges, revealing a remarkable young woman of courage, whose only crime was to fall in love. Set against a backdrop of an emerging Irish state in the 1940’s in which female sexuality and independence unsettled the colluding patriarchies of church and nationalist politics, we learn of her ultimate triumph. The Secret Scripture is out in Irish cinemas now.

The Istanbul Film Festival features an international competition, provides a showcase for recent Turkish film productions, and thus represents a rewarding medium where Turkish and foreign filmmakers get together. The festival draws a special interest to world classics, presenting retrospectives, and curated sections included in its programme which comprises approximately 200 titles, making the festival the most comprehensive film festival in Turkey. With an audience of 90,000 in 2016, it is also considered the biggest film festival in the region.

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