In the first in a series of four special blogs guest-curated by film critic Esther McCarthy, Esther admires the impressive line-up of films directed by women coming to ADIFF this year, and tells us which ones she's looking forward to the most.

This year’s Audi Dublin International Film Festival features a wealth of domestic and international female filmmaking talent, bringing a wide diversity of stories to the big screen.

The Irish are leading the charge, with Nora Twomey’s Oscar-nominated animated film, The Breadwinner, Rebecca Daly’s drama Good Favour, Aoife McArdle’s much-anticipated Kissing Candice and Sinéad O’Shea’s documentary, A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot, all screening.

Lynne Ramsay comes to ADIFF with her eagerly anticipated new drama, You Were Never Really Here, her first feature since the acclaimed We Need to Talk About Kevin.

The White Girl
Fri 23rd Feb | 16:00 | Light House Cinema
There are collaborations, too: The White Girl sees top Irish cinematographer Christopher Doyle work with director Jenny Suen in a quirky tale of outcasts and dreamers. The story of a girl with a sun allergy who dreams of a less restrictive life beyond the fishing village in which she lives unfolds to an offbeat pop soundtrack and every frame looks striking.

Our Time Will Come, part of ADIFF’s Hong Kong Cinema programme, sees director Ann Hui bring to life the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during WW2 through a richly detailed action drama.

Norwegian writer/director Iram Haq brings her drama, What Will People Say, to ADIFF. A story of cultural differences and family expectations, it tells the story of a Norwegian-raised teenager of Pakistani descent who is sent to live with family members in Pakistan in a bid to force her to conform to their family values.

Swiss director Petra Biondina Volpe’s drama, The Divine Order, will also screen at the festival, and tells the story of a young housewife from a quiet village who begins to campaign for the right of women to vote.

Here are a few of my personal favourites from the programme so far:

I've Got the Blues
Fri 23rd Feb | 18:30 | Light House Cinema
Part of ADIFF’s Hong Kong Cinema programme this year, is a whole lot of fun. One of the most original documentaries I’ve seen in some time, it focuses on acclaimed artist Yank Wong, his life and work. At least, that is what his friend and filmmaker, Angie Chen, originally had in mind. The only difficultly is, Yank is a man who steadfastly refuses to be defined, as an artist or a person, in the typical narrative of a documentary, and Chen has little option but to go along with his resistance and make this part of the portrait.
Bookmarked by their hilarious email correspondences throughout the making of the film, we get to see two enormous personalities pit their wits against each other in a documentary about the making of a documentary. “You are so full of shit!” she says to him early in the film. “You should include this in the film - it’d be great,” he replies. So she does. And it is.

The Other Side of Everything
Fri 2nd Mar | 18:10 | Light House Cinema
An extraordinary time of transition in post-WW2 Belgrade is brought to life through the prism of a family home in the deeply personal documentary, The Other Side of Everything. It tells how in the communist revolution in then-Yugoslavia that followed WW2, the living space of those perceived to be ‘bourgeosie’ was reduced to accommodate others, often meaning homes were broken up and annexed.
Documentary maker Mila Turajlic’s elderly mother, Srbijanka, was just two years old when a member of the communist party arrived to the family’s apartment, closed off a section of the property and said: ‘From this door on the rest is no longer yours’. Sixty years later, the doors remained locked. The political is always the personal, and the documentary expands from the family’s personal living space to a country that experienced decades of change and turmoil.

Tue 27th Feb | 20:45 | Light House Cinema
Ida Panahandeh’s new drama, set in northern Iran, is a masterclass in character-driven filmmaking, aided and abetted by a terrific cast. A drama that unfolds seamlessly through the eyes of three interacting characters, it’s a story that is perfectly paced, focusing on two former lovers drawn back together in tragic circumstances, as they choose between their pasts and futures. The note-perfect script focuses on all the big themes - loneliness, love, family ties, binds and expectations.

Check out Esther's next blog here, where she writes about directorial debuts in ADIFF 18.

Don't Miss Them:

Thursday 22nd February
18.00 Our Time Will Come Light House 3
20.00 The Breadwinner Cineworld 17 - Gala Featuring Q&A with Nora Twomey

Friday 23rd February
16.00 The White Girl Light House 3
18.30 I’ve Got The Blues Light House 3 - In attendance: Angie Chen

Saturday 24th February
16.30 The Divine Order Cineworld 9

Sunday 25th February
15.30 What Will People Say Light House 1

Monday 26th February
20.30 You Were Never Really Here Light House 1 - In attendance: Lynne Ramsay

Tuesday 27th February
20.30 Good Favour Light House 1 - Filmmaker in attendance
20.45 Israfil Light House 3

Friday 2nd March
18.10 The Other Side of Everything Light House 3
20.45 Kissing Candice Light House 1 - In attendance: Aoife McArdle

Saturday 3rd March
18.15 A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot Light House 1 - In attendance: Sinéad O’Shea