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PREVIEW: Cork Film Festival
Colm McAuliffe , November 3rd, 2015 14:45

We take a look at some of the potential highlights in store for this year's Cork Film Festival

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In 1985, Cork Film Festival commissioned a live music/VHS event from artist Caoimhín Breathnach. The performance, which was due to take place at the city’s Triskel Arts Centre venue, was supported by the Irish Film Board and marked a new beginning for the country’s hitherto disregarded outsider artists; Breathnach was a deeply reclusive sound artist whose practise focused upon the creation of subliminal tapes and films which he believed had the capacity to ‘shift consciousness.’

Yet Breathnach’s time in the limelight was scuppered before it even began; once news of the event began to appear in the local media, the Bishop of Cloyne publically expressed his outrage at such a commission, denouncing Breathnach as ‘a deviant and reprobate’ while highlighting the proposed performance’s combination of pornography, raw meat, magickal ogham scales interspersed with clips of Irish television show host Gay Byrne as ‘indecent, obscene and highly likely to deprave and debase local society.’ The festival caved into pressure and the event was canned; Breathnach never performed in public again and died in obscurity in 2009.

This year, the Cork Film Festival has collaborated with Breathnach’s grand-niece, the composer Jennifer Walshe, to finally perform the work of this long-forgotten outsider artist as one of the centrepiece performances of this year’s festival. The resultant work, An Gléacht, will also feature Matmos’ M.C. Schmidt as part of the live ensemble and continues in the festival’s tradition of commissioning highly pioneering work, following on from the success of last year’s Gnodorowsky performance – where feral Salford lunatics Gnod created an imaginary soundtrack to Jodorowsky’s Dune - and the previous year’s pairing of the mighty Teeth of the Sea with a re-imagined version of Ben Wheatley’s A Field In England.

Also performing at the festival are Gazelle Twin, who will calibrate her industrial-pop discursions with animator Carla MacKinnon’s mind-bending animations and Australian sound-artist Robert Curgenven, who will perform A Young Lovers’ Guide to Speculative Pataphysics, a grotesquely intense performance consisting of multiple turntables, dub plates and acetates alongside bowel-churning low frequency oscillators.

The film programme is teeming with contemporary and some not-so-contemporary gems including Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes, which opens the festival, Terence Malick’s Knight of Cups, Oscar Welles and David Lean retrospectives along with showcases of exceptional work emerging from the American independent cinema scene and an incredibly eclectic late night film strand, incorporating Irish premieres of Larry Clark’s The Smell of Us, the dreamy German horror thriller Der Nachtmar (which features a cameo from Kim Gordon) and the sensitive and sexy outsider drama Bizarre.

The festival also hosts an expanded short film programme which features exceptional short films from the likes of Peter Strickland, Gordy Hoffman (brother of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), Ben Russell and many more.

Cork Film Festival runs from November 6th to 15th; head here for full details and tickets.

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