JDIFF 2014: The highlights

We pick out some of the highlights at this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival…

The Jameson Dublin international Film Festival kicks off on February 13th with John Michael McDonagh’s CALVARY, which has already sold out. With over 130 films showing over the 10 days of the festival there is definitely something for everyone, including guests Richard Dreyfuss, Jason Priestly, Richard Ayoade and Terry Gilliam. The festival programme was launched on Monday by the stars of THE STAG, Hugh O’Conor and Andrew Scott, and we have picked just some of the cinematic delights in store at JDIFF 2014.

Directed by Richard Ayoade. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Chris O’Dowd, Sally Hawkins.
In this dark comedy, based on the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella of the same name, Jesse Eisenberg plays a man who is driven insane by the appearance of his doppelgänger. Richard Ayoade returns to Dublin after the rapturous response to his first film SUBMARINE at the festival in 2011.

Directed by John Butler. Starring Hugh O’Conor, Andrew Scott, Amy Hubermann.
The Closing Film of JDIFF 2014 is a comedy by first time feature director John Butler. When Fionnan proposes to Ruth, she insists that his friends take him on a proper stag weekend. Trouble arises, as it always does, in the form of Fionnan’s brother in law to be, known only as ‘The Machine’.

Directed by Michael Polish. Starring Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Jean-Marc Barr.
The fascination with Kerouac continues in BIG SUR; a recounting of Jack Kerouac’s three sojourns to the cabin in Big Sur, owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Directed by Morgan Neville. Starring Lou Adler, David Bowie, Stevvi Alexander.
This Oscar nominated documentary tells the story of the unsung musical heroes; the backup singers. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor. Starring Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis.
One of the great joys of JDIFF is seeing classic films on the big screen. One to watch out for this year is Harold Lloyd’s silent classic in which a store clerk organizes a publicity stunt, where a friend climbs the outside of a tall building, but circumstances force him to make the perilous climb himself.

Directed by Terry Gilliam. Starring Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Tilda Swinton, Matt Damon
Terry Gilliam has always had an eye for the odd and the absurd, and THE ZERO THEOREM promises to be no exception. A computer hacker’s goal to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; this time, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.

Directed by Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri. Starring Richard Coyle and Leonor Watling.
A Dublin romantic comedy in the vein of Nora Ephron, THE FOOD GUIDE TO LOVE pairs a culinary celebrity and a free spirit. As they teach one another more about the worlds they inhabit, they realize that there is more to love then the honeymoon period.

Directed by Anna Odell. Starring Sandra Andreis, Anders Berg
When she learns that she was not invited, Swedish documentary maker Anna Odell imagines what her high school reunion would have been like. Odell then blurs the line between fact and fiction as she explores the hierarchical structure of high school and the complexity of power.

Directed by Jonathan Glazer. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Antonia Campbell-Hughes.
Adapted from Michel Faber’s novel of the same name, UNDER THE SKIN follows an alien sent to earth to prey on unwary hitchhikers… In Scotland! Johansson is well cast as a Femme Fatale and this is definitely one to watch for anyone who has ever thought her beauty was other worldly.

Directed by Donal Foreman. Starring Fionn Watson
Ciaran returns home to Dublin after a year of travelling the world to find that finding his place at home may be harder than going away in the first place. OUT OF HERE examines what happens when Irish people who left home to travel the world return to their native cities to find the entire place familiar, but slightly odd.

Directed by ??? Starring ???
Always one of the most hotly debated and highly anticipated films at the festival, the Surprise Film is a rare thing; a film that audiences go to see without knowing as much as the title. Of course, this leads to wild speculation and cheers of both joy and disappointment on the night, but that’s all part of the fun. Previous years’ surprises have included HAMLET 2, BUFFALO SOLDIERS, GREENBERG and WELCOME TO THE PUNCH.

As well as these, this year’s JDIFF will screen Wes Anderson’s latest THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Ronan Keating’s GODDESS and Jason Priestley’s latest turn behind the camera; CAS & DYLAN. The Jameson Cult Film Screening at the festival is the Spielberg classic JAWS, which will be attended by Richard Dreyfuss.
As well as screenings, JDIFF is also filled with special events that shine a light on the mechanics of the film industry, including SCREENTEST and a demonstration of practical special effects; PYROTECHNICS AND PISTOLS. As well as this, the Dublin Film Critics Circle will reveal their favourites from JDIFF 2014.

The full programme is available on JDIFF.com. Tickets are on sale now and going fast!

Words: Brogen Hayes