Review: Red Sea title ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ explores a friendship that goes tragically wrong
Updated 28 sec ago
JEDDAH: A hit at the recent Venice Film Festival, Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” is part of the ongoing second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah. McDonagh’s latest adventure got its lead star Colin Farrell an acting award in Venice.
Much like the director’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which won its lead star Frances McDormand an Oscar in 2018, “Banshees” is a poignant story.
This time it is about a broken friendship between two men. It is set in 1923 on the fictional island of Inisherin as the sound of Irish civil strife is heard wafting across the sea. This is a harbinger of things to come – of an internecine struggle that is knocking on the door of dairy farmer Padraic (Colin Farrell) and his best friend is Colm (an equally brilliant performance by Brenden Gleeson). While Padraic is a simpleton, who can talk for hours about horse manure, Colm is an artist, writing music and playing the fiddle, and is prone to bouts of melancholy.
The pair are inseparable, but something triggers a stand-off. Colm begins to avoid Padraic. The musician sits on his chair in deep thought and the film never makes the reason clear — leaving us as confused as the poor Padraic, who nags his sister, Siobhan (Kerry Condon), for information. “Perhaps, he just does not like you no more,” she quips. This may have sounded like a joke, but the truth leads to horrifying incidents.
Colm is anxious about the passing years and does not want to waste his time with a “limited man.” He is serious about keeping Padraic away, and every time he tries to connect, the tortured artist cuts off one of his fiddle-playing fingers. But in the midst of all this macabre, there are lighter moments that will make the audience laugh.
Cinematographer Ben Davis and production designer Mark Tildesley create artistic interiors which look like a 17th century Vermeer painting. Meanwhile composer Carter Burwell makes the film feel like a fairy tale. The cast is absolutely flawless and “The Banshees of Inisherin” has an excellent chance of making a mark at the upcoming Oscars.
Nineteen-year-old Saudi director’s ‘When Red Blooms’ to screen at RSIFF
Updated 13 min 56 sec ago
RIYADH: It will be “a huge honor” for Tala Al-Harbi when her directorial debut “When Red Blooms” is screened at the Red Sea International Film Festival on Dec. 5.
“I believe it can add to my credibility as a director and can help me build up a career in the Saudi film industry,” the 19-year-old director told Arab News.
“When Red Blooms” is a philosophical film that ventures into the mind of a girl who sets unrealistically high expectations for herself with a morbid perfectionism, leading to self-destruction.
“‘When Red Blooms” is a film that may represent different things to different people. To me, the film represents the struggle we all face as humans and how society expects us to be perfect, but we all face our own conflicts — with the world around us and ourselves,” Al-Harbi said.
Al-Harbi was one of the winners of the second edition of the Red Sea’s 48-hour Filmmaking Challenge, which was held in September last year.
“It was truly a surreal feeling as I was surrounded by the team that helped me make the film possible: Madawi Al-Yahya, Natalie Al-Sarraj, Lujain Salaam, Raghdaa Mubarak, Sam Al-Ashari, and our amazing actress Raghad Bokhari,” Al-Harbi told Arab News.
The director said that one of her team’s most significant challenges was having to write a story, shoot it and edit it in only 48 hours.
“We had to put our all into the film in the short 48 hours we had.”
“We had many ideas, but with the limited time we had, we needed to work quickly and efficiently to produce something we are proud of,” she said.
As filmmaking students, Al-Harbi and her team always wanted to create something that could show their style and vision “without the limitations of our studies.” The competition was the perfect opportunity for them “to see what we could on our own.”
Al-Harbi advised aspiring directors to believe in themselves, even if others did not. “If you believe in yourself, you can truly accomplish anything,” she said.
“It is so important that women are able to be in control of their own stories and narratives — and tell them through our own lens. Thank you @moalturki and @jomanaalrashid for having me and empowering women in film by elevating so many voices that we need as storytellers in the world today,” she added, referring to the film festival’s CEO Mohammed Al-Turki and Jomana Al-Rashed, the CEO of the Saudi Research and Media Group.
“Film makers and entertainers are the dreamers that help the world see what’s possible. Let’s continue the dream of fairness and equality and compassion,” Alba concluded.
The actress — famously seen in movies such as “Sin City” and “Fantastic Four” — supported Middle Eastern labels during her trip by opting for an elegant embellished gown by Lebanese couturier Elie Saab when she attended the Dec. 2 Women in Cinema gala.
And she was not the only attendee flaunting regional labels.
Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson showed off an elegant jumpsuit by Saudi designer Arwa AlKadi, which she paired with a bag by Saudi brand Dania Shinkar.
“I am very impressed with the fashion in Saudi Arabia and I have chosen local designers for my trip both in Riyadh … and today in Jeddah at the film festival,” Macpherson wrote on Instagram.
Saudi designers are in the spotlight at this year’s edition of the film festival, with a number of high-profile names opting for homegrown labels for their red carpet outings.
Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio dazzled in a blue jumpsuit from Jeddah-based designer Yousef Akbar on the opening night, while British actress Jacqui Ainsley, known for her role in the 2017 film “King Arthur: legend of the Sword,” took to the red carpet wearing US-based label Dazluq, founded by Saudi designer Salma Zahran on the same night.
Saudi Arabia’s NEOM attracts first Bollywood shoot with ‘Dunki’
Updated 04 December 2022
DUBAI: NEOM has attracted its first Bollywood shoot, with “Dunki,” starring Shah Rukh Khan, having filmed at the location.
The announcement was made at the second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah on Sunday, with Wayne Borg, the managing director of NEOM, adding that 200-episode-a-year Saudi soap opera “Exceptional,” produced by MBC, would also be shot at one of the region’s new sound stages.
Borg also addressed nearby competitor Abu Dhabi, which has turned into a hotspot for Hollywood shoots in recent years, saying: “I think our ambitions are much greater than theirs,” according to Variety.
Neom has hosted an estimated 26 productions over the past 18 months, including “Desert Warrior,” which stars US actor Anthony Mackie and is directed by Rupert Wyatt.
Saudi director highlights mental health struggles in ‘Lucky You Are Mine’ at RSIFF
Updated 04 December 2022
JEDDAH: Saudi director Nora Aboushousha’s film “Lucky You Are Mine,” which sheds light on mental illness in Saudi Arabia, is screening at the Red Sea International Film Festival.
The film, inspired by true events, is a love story between a newlywed Saudi couple who are working through their struggles to keep their bond alive and thriving.
Aboushousha chose to represent mental health in her film because of the tremendous struggle the person affected, and people around them, go through.
“Let alone if they lack the knowledge. As I watched more people around me and loved ones suffer from mental breakdowns, depression and anxiety, I started to notice how big of an impact it has not only on the lives of those suffering but their loved ones too. I witnessed a few relationships come to an end because of mental health issues,” she said.
“Then I saw two (people) who decided to weather the storm ... it touched me and inspired me,” she added.
Aboushousha said that stories in general have always been a means of escape and comfort for her. She has been touched by many writers; some films and books have helped her through tough times while others have shaped her personality. “Maybe my film can do the same to others,” the director said.
Aboushousha said that the challenges she faced were not gender specific, and her being a woman in the field did not make a difference. “The biggest challenge we faced was filming during Ramadan when most of talent and crew were booked with bigger projects.”
While making the film, Aboushousha enjoyed the support of her cast and crew, friends and family, and even some of the professionals in the industry whom she had never worked with offered help and advice when needed.
“Raghad Al-Faisand and Hasan Qudus were generous with their time. We rehearsed daily for almost a month, in which Hasan would travel from Makkah to do the rehearsals,” she said.
Speaking about some of the challenges, Aboushousha said that the “editor who was going to edit the film found himself stuck in Ramadan season, and my friend Ali Al-Attas volunteered to edit.”