Love comes in many forms and over the years Cork International Film Festival has curated and screened many traditional and alternative films based around love and romance. Our programmers have compiled a few recommendations from previous Festival editions along with a fantastic variety of films put together by MUBI for the day that’s in it.
In the Mood for Love
There is no stronger, more romantic love, than unrequited love, and there is no stronger, more romantic film than Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love, the ultimate, most beautiful film about unrequited love there is.
Screened in CIFF2000, featuring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, two neighbours form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs. Through the use of intimate camerawork, Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love terrifically captures the fluidity of love, and its beautiful tragedy when yearned for but forbidden. Widely considered to be one of the best films of the 21st Century (and tops the pile at They Shoot Pictures Don’t They’s ‘The 21st Century’s Most Acclaimed Films‘ list).
Ali & Ava
Acclaimed director Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant) steers this heart-warming love story set in working-class Bradford. Friendly, outgoing landlord Ali (Adeel Akhtar) is separated from his wife and hiding the fact from his family. Ava (Claire Rushbrook) is an Irish-born single mum of five working as a teacher’s assistant. The spark when they meet is instant and they form a close bond through their deep love of music. But can love keep them together despite a barrage of obstacles? Transcending gritty realism with its huge heart, and featuring a cracking soundtrack that drives the story forward, Ali & Ava is another outstanding work from one of the UK’s finest directors. This gorgeous film was our CIFF2021 Opening Gala.
Barry’s Bespoke Bakery
The sugary Barry’s Bespoke Bakery, a short film directed by Denis McArdle, is a lavish wonderland of refined cakes owned by the fastidious pâtissier Barry, where everything has its place, except for his talented employee Brian. This sweet short film was screened in CIFF2012.
Set in 1950s New York, two women from very different backgrounds find themselves in the throes of love in Carol. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens.
Directed by Todd Haynes and written by Phyllis Nagy, Carol beautifully speaks to the transforming nature of characters within the road movie genre. In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel The Price of Salt, and with moving performances from a stellar cast, Carol reminds audiences that desire is often expressed in the absence of personal joy. Carol was our Closing Gala Film in our 2015 Festival.
Ayanna (Zora Howard), a Harlem teenager, has finished high school and is preparing to go to art college. She wants to make the most of a summer of freedom in the city, though when the slightly older aspiring composer Isaiah (Joshua Boone) catches her eye, she falls for him hard and fast. Ayanna is caught between wanting to keep her disapproving but devoted mother happy, and asserting her independence. Evocatively depicting a New York summer, Premature is a gorgeous slice of romantic realism that features a breakthrough performance from Howard, who co-wrote the script with director Rashaad Ernesto Green. Screened at CIFF2019.
MUBI’s In the Mood for Love
Under the appropriate title of the aforementioned Wong Kar-Wai film, our friends at MUBI have put together a great variety of romantic films that cover a range of love-related topics from the thrill of that first encounter to the depths of a decade-long affair, or from a quick and dramatic tryst to the bitter regret of a breakup. Catch fantastic films such as Le Week-End (pictured above), Love Affair, Open Hearts, The Blazing Sun, and many more with a 7 day free trial with MUBI.