With Stranger than Fiction in the IFI from today, Movies.ie takes a look at the highlights of this year’s documentary film festival.
Stranger than Fiction is once again preparing to make its way to the IFI for what promises to be a year of unmissable documentaries – featuring Wannabe Afghanistan Pop stars, activist pranksters and a 101 year-old Sex Therapist!
Now in its 8th year, James Kelly, Artistic Director of the Festival has announced the highlights for this year’s festival commenting ‘I’m delighted to say that for this year’s festival we have been able to draw together an inspiring selection of the world’s finest documentary films which connect imaginatively with the burning questions of our times. While documentary film may not have all the answers, the IFI Stranger Than Fiction festival is a great place to start looking.’
No documentary festival worth its salt could ignore the massively changed global outlook that we find ourselves in, and IFI Stranger Than Fiction 2009 has a strong thread focusing on communities and radical social innovation. Our opening film The Yes Men Fix the World follows the prankster activists ‘The Yes Men’ as they infiltrate the highest echelons of business to expose the greed and corruption that threatens the future of civilisation.
Music is my hot hot sex
There is plenty for music documentary fans including the stunning All Tomorrow’s Parties that captures the atmosphere of the groundbreaking music festival that takes place in an out-of-season Holiday Camp. Dylan Haskins tells the story of the Hideaway House, the concert venue in his Blackrock home, in Roll-Up Your Sleeves and talent show television demonstrates that it is a truly global phenomenon with Afghan Star that follows the format’s surprising success in Afghanistan’s fragile society.
Personal Histories Explored…
Personal histories are explored in four of this year’s films but the fascinating stories uncovered couldn’t be more different. Best Worst Movie, follows the story of Troll 2 which has a massive cult following claiming it is the worst movie ever made. To make matters even more fabulously excruciating, the story is told by the film’s erstwhile child star. Forgetting Dad tells the questionable story of a filmmaker’s father who suffered a traumatic episode of amnesia and claimed not to be able to remember his family. The Beaches of Agnès is a delicately beautiful meditation on the past from Agnès Varda, a major name of the French New Wave, and The Queen and I looks at the past through the lens of an unlikely friendship between the former Queen of Iran and a former-revolutionary-turned-documentary-maker, both of whom now find themselves in exile.
Ireland on Screen
As always the festival includes a strong strand of homegrown talent. Leading the Irish delegation this year is The Liberties, a beautifully crafted short film collection. Each short documentary focuses on an individual as a microcosm of Dublin’s Liberties; from a stone sculptor, an evangelist Christian, to an Oscar-winning actor who wouldn’t live anywhere else. Irish Communities on Film is a two-pronged curated programme that takes a fascinating snapshot of Irish life in the past and present. The first programme, Irish Communities Abroad, is made of Irish Film Archive material and is a timely exploration of the ups and downs of emigrant communities in Newfoundland, 1980s London and the Irish suburbs of New York in the late sixties. The second collection Alternative Communities in Ireland features life in the Hideaway House, a silent order of monks in Roscrea to the eccentric group known as ‘The Screamers’ who settled in the 1970s off Donegal.