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Jameson Dublin Film Festival Report

As the red carpets in Sundance and Berlin are mothballed for another year, Dublin’s eclectic lineup shows it deserves to be taken seriously as an event in the festival calendar.

The 12th annual Jameson Dublin International Film Festival opened on Thursday to the mournful tones of Calvary , John Michael McDonagh’s ( The Guard ) study of Catholic guilt that’s as dark and rich as a pint of the black stuff. Anchored by an astonishing performance from McDonagh favourite Brendan Gleeson, the County Sligo-shot whodunnit was a pitch-perfect introduction to the 11-day event, which hosts more than 120 films from 40 countries at various venues across the city. “You probably need a drink after that”, winked the director, who led the way to a whisky-fueled shindig at the nearby Liquor Rooms.

Only Lovers Left Alive , Jim Jarmusch’s characteristically askew take on the vampire movie, was another highlight. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are an arch delight as the hipsterish claret addicts spending eternity doing very little, but it’s John Hurt as a toothy, 400 year-old Kit Marlowe (and the real author of Shakespeare’s plays, in the world according to Jarmusch) who seems to be having the most fun. The veteran actor was holding court after the screening in the Savoy Cinema, chewing over his third collaboration with the indie auteur.

“Jim’s become what I can only call an artistic friend. His films don’t make, generally speaking, a huge amount of money, but he does have a very strong following," admitted Hurt.

“With Jim, you’re never quite sure, because you’d never say, 'Can I read the script?' Of course not, lesson one. But I have a big love for him and I’ll support anything he tries to think about and make.”

The Elephant Man star later leaped to the defence of the under-fire Lars von Trier, who directed him in 2011’s Melancholia : “Lars is a wonderful mind. He’s an exhibitionist, and all the things people condemn him for, yes they’re all true. And all the things that people praise him for, yes they’re all true. He’s a full person and not in the least bit ashamed to be so.”

But the 74 year-old was less forthcoming on the subject of The Grand Budapest Hotel ’s Wes Anderson, dancing around a question about appearing in one of his films in the future: “Is this pause a little long? I have to confess that I really don’t respond to Wes as easily as I do other directors.”

Irish nuptial comedy The Stag , starring Sherlock ’s Andrew Scott, will wrap the festival when it comes to a close on Sunday 23 February.

For more info on the Jameson Dublin Film Festival, visit jdiff.com/