Early Programme Highlights

We are delighted to announce selected highlights of the 2023 programme, showcasing a diverse range of international filmmakers and unmissable events that will form part of the 2023 edition of the festival. Renewing our commitment to showing the best in international film to Irish audiences, we will screen a double bill of films by Armenian visionary filmmaker Artavazd Peleshyan, and will present a cinematic event immersion into the films of Buster Keaton with Neil Brand. Also, this year the Festival outreach programme, in partnership with access>CINEMA and supported by the Arts Council, will see Sophie Linnenbaum’s debut, the idiosyncratic German tragicomedy The Ordinaries, travel to venues across Ireland.

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Artavazd Peleshyan

One of the most visionary artists to have emerged from the Soviet Union, Artavazd Peleshyan’s near-wordless black-and-white films were way ahead of their time in blending the reality levels of documentary archive and poetic fiction. Their shortness of length and blurring of categories, though, reinforced their status as outliers and unlikely candidates for mainstream popularity. Peleshyan has been described by his contemporary, Georgian-Armenian maverick Sergei Parajanov, as one of cinema’s rare ‘authentic geniuses’. For all that, his name is still rarely heard beyond cinephile circles.

Saturday 4th March will see a double bill of Four Seasons and La Nature by Peleshyan, with a Q&A hosted by Irish director Tadhg O’Sullivan (To The Moon). In Four Seasons (1975), his last collaboration with cameraman Mikhail Vartanov, Peleshyan captures a reclusive peasant community in its unceasing battle with the elements. In spring, they migrate into the mountains with their herds. When summer ends they harvest the hay—creating a dusty avalanche of bales. In winter, it is the shepherds themselves, hanging on to their sheep, who roll down the mountains in the snow. Accompanied by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, these highland dwellers perform feats of pure survival. This is humanity, trapped in a brutal but stunningly beautiful existence. To the melodic rhythms of camerawork, montage, and a lyrical score, Peleshyan and Vartanov elevate it into a full-blown symphony—a symphony of being.

The screening will be followed by La Nature (2019), released more than 25 years after his previous film, the then 82-year-old director surprised the world with a new work. The simple title masks a film of great complexity about the magnificence and destructive power of nature. The film is made up of found footage sequences that cast humankind as a puny match for the great forces of nature, such as volcanic eruptions, roiling floods, hurricanes and tornados.

Although much of the footage was plucked from the internet, Peleshyan shaped it in such a way that it merges seamlessly with his own utterly unique style, one that he has been steadily refining throughout his career. In short, the images are black-and-white, free of dialogue, and tend to have a monumental quality. They gain meaning when subjected to Peleshyan’s celebrated “distance montage” technique, with repetition and subtle variation generating the work’s poetic intensity. In La Nature Peleshyan presents us with an utterly contemporary and urgent film that shakes us from the illusion that humanity can control nature.

Neil Brand

Festival favourite Neil Brand is thrilled to return to Dublin following his hugely entertaining presentation of Laurel and Hardy to a live score in 2022. For this year’s family gala Brand will present his inimitable take on Buster Keaton, using clips of his funniest moments and the magnificent feature Steamboat Bill Junior. Join him on journey through Buster's early life, his funniest gags and most death-defying stunts and finally watch him try to impress his river-rat father and get caught in a cyclone that brings THAT house falling down around him. If you thought you knew Buster, there will be plenty to surprise you - if you've never seen Buster live, this is the perfect way to do it.

Sophie Linnenbaum

DIFF is delighted to welcome Sophie Linnenbaum to the festival and introduce audiences to this bold new voice in cinema with her debut feature The Ordinaries.

Have you ever felt like a supporting character in your own life? Sophie Linnenbaum’s daring and original film The Ordinaries imagines what it would be like if you really were one. It tells of Paula - a supporting character in a movie - who dreams of having her own storyline by attending Main Character School and becoming a lead. A clever satire about identity and exclusion, The Ordinaries sees a woman battling these themes playfully in a filmic meta world.

The Ordinaries will premiere in The Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin and tour to Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire; Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford; Sligo Film [email protected] Model, Sligo; Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge; Solstice Arts Centre, Navan; Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda; Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar and Club Scannán Sailearna, Inverin, Co. Galway