The Irish Film Institute will present a retrospective of the work of Oscar-winning filmmaker, Andrea Arnold from October 8th-16th. Each film will be accompanied by rare screenings of Arnold’s short films.
Despite her relatively small body of work, Arnold has established herself as one of the UK’s most respected filmmakers. Following in the realist tradition of directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, her films take the characters’ situations as a given, focusing on the everyday details of their lives rather than tackling thematically the larger social issues. Refreshing and honest, her work eschews unwarranted sentiment in favour of natural character development and plausible narrative outcomes.
Opening at the IFI on October 14th, American Honey is Arnold’s electrifying take on that American staple, the road movie. With two dependent siblings and absentee parents, 18-year-old Star’s (Sasha Lane) prospects appear limited until a chance encounter with a group of similarly disaffected kids and their enigmatic leader (Shia LaBeouf). Casting her lot in with this band of colourful outsiders, she subsists on the antiquated practice of selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door across the Midwest. An intoxicating riot of sound and image, American Honey is pure cinema.
Screening on October 8th, 2006’s Red Road was Arnold’s first feature film. Jackie (Kate Dickie) works at a Glasgow CCTV monitoring centre, observing and noting the transgressions of others. Influenced by the Dogme 95 movement, the film was the winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes. This screening will be accompanied by Arnold’s debut short, Milk (10 mins, UK, 1998), which depicts a couple having very different reactions to a tragic loss.
Arnold followed up Red Road with Fish Tank, also a Jury Prize winner at Cannes, screening on October 12th. The film centres on a remarkable performance from Katie Jarvis as Mia, a lonely, angry 15-year-old whose only interest and outlet is dancing. The film will be shown alongside Arnold’s second short, Dog (10 mins, UK, 2001), in which a teenage girl sees her boyfriend for who he really is after they encounter a stray dog.
In 2011 Arnold directed Wuthering Heights, previously tackled by filmmakers as diverse as Jacques Rivette and Luis Buñuel. Arnold’s terse adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel emphasises its rougher edges, most notably in casting Heathcliff as Afro-Caribbean, adding extra layers to the hostility with which both the character and his relationship with Catherine is met. Screening with Wuthering Heights on October 16th will be the director’s Oscar-winning short Wasp (26 mins, UK, 2003), in which a single mother leaves her children to fend for themselves while she meets an old boyfriend.
OCTOBER 8th (15.30) RED ROAD
OCTOBER 12th (18.15) FISH TANK
OCTOBER 14th AMERICAN HONEY OPENS
OCTOBER 16TH (15.10) WUTHERING HEIGHTS