Film reviews and
upcoming festivals in May
A review of the Irish Film Series and some worthwhile film festivals
By Byron Toben
I’ve been busy ferreting out theatre events coping with the pandemic so have overlooked various film offerings, but here is a report on one in April and three now available in the merry month of May.
IRISH FILM SERIES
From April 9 to 13, Montreal’s Cine Gael Irish Film Series, whose 2020 program had been cut short due to the pandemic, returned in collaboration with the Irish Film Festival of Ottawa to stream eight recent feature films and three shorts provided by the Film Institute of Ireland.
As a long-time fan of Cine Gael, I watched the entire program. While the organizers are to be commended for coping with the circumstances, I felt that the overall selection was not quite as gripping as those picked in the previous 28 seasons but still worthwhile.
I particularly enjoyed Arracht, which depicted a fisherman during the 1845 famine haunted by the deaths in his family that he could not protect until he salvages a helpless little girl who saves him from despair. Also echoing the horrors of that era 175 years ago was the two-part documentary, The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine.
Other selections dealt with family relationships. Wildfire examines the re-uniting of two sisters who grew up on opposite sides of the North/South border, while in Broken Law, two estranged brothers, one a cop, the other involved in a botched robbery, are re-united.
While the organizers are to be commended for coping with the circumstances, I felt that the overall selection was not quite as gripping as those picked in the previous 28 seasons but still worthwhile.
In The Last Right, two brothers, one visiting from New York and the other choosing to stay in Ireland, get involved in a madcap car ride across Ireland to bury a stranger.
A boozy single mother and her teenage daughter collide in A Bump Along the Way, while in The Winter Lake, a young woman confronts her father.
The problem of homelessness has Rosie seeking a place to live for herself, her husband and four children.
For those who may have missed this 2021 effort, we again recommend looking into a selection of Irish films compiled by Cine Gael to fill the vacuum in the 2020 season.
Current film festivals or showings
April 29 to May 9
HOT DOCS FILM FEST
Seven days remain in the streamed 2021 edition of Hot Docs with hundreds of listings. Take a look at Hot Docs at Home. Only $4.99 a month and cancellable any time.
May 2 to 12
ISRAEL FILM FEST
Today marks the beginning of the Israel Film Fest, sponsored by the Sephardic Jewish Community of Quebec (csuq.org). Twenty films are available, many in English. Those in French or Hebrew have English subtitles. Passports for the whole only $20, and individual films are available at $1 each.
MEMORIES OF THE EICHMANN TRIAL
At 1 pm, the Jewish Public Library offers a free one-day film documentary Memories of the Eichmann Trial of 1961. Can it have been as long as 60 years ago? A discussion follows the screening. Presented in conjunction with the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies at Concordia University.
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.