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Galway Film Fleadh 2012 report by Alberto Lacasa, Spain


These days in Galway had have a special taste. Usually, the city has the typical Irish street colours and a curious mix of odours. But in July, it's boling with culture events, and it gives an special perfume. The city smells of cinema.

The Don Quijote award was for the best animation short. There was near 30 shorts, most of them really imaginative. The themes went from the comedy to some kind of surrealism.
The jury was formed by 3 people. I was there as a member of the Federació Catalana de Cineclubs. Also, there was David, who came from the UK, and Gary, the local irish member. With both of them, we shared a lot of conversations about cinema and other issues.
Despite the difficulty of choosing, while we were lunching drinking the mithic black irish beers, we chose “Here to fall”. The animation was surprising, with an amazing esthetic sense. The story was really emotional and strong, and we thought that it had a great rithm sense.
We also want to give an special mention to “Learning to fish”, a funny story about some seagulls who were used to eat human remains, and they forget the fish taste. The animation was really interesting too and the argument was some different ways to be readed.
The fleadh (festival in irish) didnt end here. The animations wasnt the only shorts we saw. I could see another interesting shorts like “Homemade”, a drama with a surprise, or “A different perspective”, an animation with a delicious perspective porpousal.
The few days i've been there allowed me to see a couple of films more. “King of travellers” is a story about two traveller families with some vendettas. The violent fights are almost systematic. And, both of them haves its fighter member for some kind of free boxing.
The way to explain the story, with some “Romeo and Juliet” elements, is ok. It's a drama with the correct humor doses and its violence is not excessive, unlike other films with a similar storyline. Some times, the film is predictable, but this doesnt make forget the interesting psicological draw that the script does with the characters.
If “King of travellers” offered me a funny almost hour and a half, the great election was “Good vibrations”. In fact, it won the Best Irish Feature Award. Based in a real story, explains how a young man, who its bored about the Ultsters violence, opened a music shop where the violence doesnt have any sense.
The main character have some problems because of that. Before I saw the film I thought that it's really hard to do, i'm not going to say a comedy, but a positive film for sure, in a great violence environment. The middle point is not easy to find. And I think that “Good vibrations” do it.
The visual narration is inteligent. The story narration is done with the usual fiction tools. Otherwise, the “realism” or the “contundence” is given by a documentary lenguage. It's done with real images, wich gives strength to the story. And, as a warranty of the raccord of the narration, an off voice.
If the story didn't be strong enough, the directors invited to the fleadh the real man that done that little great heroicity. With a great humor sense, he talked with the same strength that I imagine he had 20 years ago. And he didn't let us as before it.
One of the highlights of the fleadh was the honor guest: Isabelle Huppert. I have to recognize that I have an special feeling to her. Of all the films that the festival projected to remember her work, I really like “The piano teacher”, a great Haneke's masterpiece (with whom she had made the last film of the director). Maybe because he was born in the Germany during the World War II, the great director explains like no one else the no-sense of the violence. And “The piano teacher” is one of the most subtle ones.
Huppert received the Galway Hooker Award with the irish director Frank Stapleton. She is almost 60 years old and, as beautiful as ever, she talked with the elegance of someone with her artistic and intelectual level.
The experience in Galway was great. The festival team treatment was fantastic. They offer us the possibility of a walk with them arround the city to know every place. But it wasn't the only thing. Good places for take meals, interesting conversations with a coffee...
Personally, this is my first experience as a festival jury. And it's not going to be the last one. Of course, if the other festivals staff thing that I can be a part of them.

Alberto Lacasa
Cineclub Xiscnčfils de Cerdanyola del Vallčs
Federació catalana de cineclubs