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Venturing beyond the blockbuster

Story by Damian McCarney

Sunday, 17th January, 2016 6:27am

Venturing beyond the blockbuster

Whilst the Odeon in Cavan brings the blockbusters and family favourites to the big screen, the Ramor Theatre and the Townhall Arts Centre are bringing a fabulous selection of movies that would grace only a few cinemas in rural Ireland.
The long running Ramor Film Club returns for a new season on January 19 with ‘Older Than Ireland’, a documentary about a remarkable group of centenarians all born before the bloody birth throes of the State, and who have witnessed its development into a modern European country. The delightful film is a meditation on youth, love, loss and the meaning of life.
Slow West will be screened on January 26 and follows Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a Scottish aristocratic teenager who heads to the Wild West of late 1800s America in pursuit of his former lover. Any film that has Michael Fassbender is generally worth catching and this critically acclaimed movie by first-time writer-director John M. Maclean is no different.
February sees Al Pacino star in the gentle comedy Manglehorn (Feb 2). The Guardian gave it a four star review saying, “Pacino excels in a sleepy romance with hidden depths”.
Next up is ‘Noble’, a film charting the work of true life Irish heroine, Christina Noble in working to help the 700,000 street children in post-war Vietnam is the film on Tuesday, February 23. Deirdre O’Kane shines in the feisty lead role for this inspirational film.
March films include ‘In the Courtyard’ (French movie that charts a blossoming companionship between two troubled souls), ‘The Wonders’ (In this Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes, the arrival of a reality TV crew impacts on an Italian family’s idyllic rural life), ‘She’s Funny That Way’ (screwball comedy featuring Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson), and ‘Tangerines’ (first Estonian film shortlisted for an Oscar touches on conflict in Georgia whilst reflecting the insanity of war). 99 Homes - which may resonate with an audience so recently bruised by recession - brings this season of the Ramor Film Club to a close on April 5. It charts the struggle of a recently unemployed single father to get back his foreclosed home. All Ramor Film Club shows begin at 8pm and admission costs €7.

The third instalment of the monthly Strictly Arthouse night at the Cavan Townhall Arts Centre was held on Monday night with host, cinematographer Padraig Conaty, presenting gritty documentary Dear Zachary. Previous screenings include the Japanese animation, ‘The Tale of Princess Kaguya’ and John Cassavete’s 1974 American indie film ‘A Woman Under the Influence’.
Never heard of them? That’s the idea. Padraig relishes introducing films that the typical person wouldn’t “have a clue about”.
“Unknown gems are what I’m trying to find for people. They won’t know the film before and it will blow them away - that’s the aim of the night, whether it’s modern European arthouse or an old film noir, it could be anything.”
Depending on the demands of the film, it’s screened either in the main hall, or the more cosy confines of the smaller side room. Padraig gives a bit of context to the film with a brief introduction, and he hopes to encourage more discussion after the screening, maybe over a pot of tea.
Strictly Arthouse runs on the second Monday of every month at the venue at 8pm and admission costs €5.

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