This month sees the release of a landmark programme at the IFI, where half of the films on June’s slate have been directed by women. Films such as Irish documentary Revolutions, Thai drama By the Time it Gets Dark, and German-Australian thriller Berlin Syndrome all hit the big screen, as the IFI continues its commitment to supporting and celebrating women in film. It seems especially appropriate as, this past weekend, Sofia Coppola became only the second woman in the Cannes Film Festival’s 70-year history to win the Best Director prize for her work on The Beguiled.
Kicking off the month on June 2nd is the first feature film directed by an African-American woman to receive a theatrical distribution in the United States. Daughters of the Dust, directed by Julie Dash, was digitally restored for its 25th anniversary in 2016, and the restoration coincided with the release of Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade, a work which draws greatly on Dash’s powerful imagery. Set in 1902, it tells the story of three generations of Gullah women on St. Helena Island as they prepare to migrate to the north on the mainland.
Opening on June 9th is Australian director Cate Shortland’s third feature, Berlin Syndrome. The film centres on a disturbed teacher who holds a young photographer captive in his Berlin apartment after bringing her home for a night of romance. This marks the Australian’s first foray into pure genre territory, and is a confident, suspenseful addition to the growing list of cautionary tales of the perils of backpacking abroad alone.
Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong follows 2009’s Mundane History with the beguiling and original By the Time it Gets Dark, which opens on June 16th. The film follows a filmmaker called Ann who travels to a rural setting to work on a project about an activist and survivor of the devastating Thammasat student massacre of 1976.
Actress and director Nicole Garcia’s adaptation of Milena Agus’s novella From the Land of the Moon opens exclusively at the IFI on June 23rd. The film features another wholly immersed performance by Marion Cotillard as Gabrielle, a rebellious spirit in a loveless marriage who falls in love with another man in post-WWII France.
On the cover of this month’s IFI programme is Irish director Laura McGann’s Revolutions. The exciting and brutal world of women’s roller derby is brought to the big screen in this documentary that demystifies this super-fast world and celebrates the fearless warrior women who have found new channels for self-expression within it. McGann will attend the screening on Friday June 30th at 18.15 for a Q&A.
Also opening on June 30th is Ceyda Torun’s feel-good documentary Kedi, which offers a unique perspective on one of the world’s great cities, Istanbul. Thousands of feral cats wander spontaneously in and out of the inhabitant’s lives, enjoying unfettered access to cafés, homes, markets and open spaces. The film is heart-warming and unforgettable.
Finally, on Saturday 17th, IFI and aemi Projections will present the films of Peggy Ahwesh and Julie Murray. Ahwesh, whose films powerfully address questions of feminism, cultural identity and performance, and Murray, whose work has shown at the MOMA, the Whitney and the Pompidou, will both attend the screening and participate in a post-show discussion at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios.
For more information about the films including screening times and booking details please visit www.ifi.ie or call the IFI Box Office on 01-6793477.