Making A (DIFF)erence: Queer Art at the Dublin International Film Festival

Image Credit: DIFF

With the Dublin International Film Festival fast approaching, Charlie Kendellen overviews the featured cinema centred around queer characters and themes.

Dublin International Film Festival returns for its 22nd year with an assortment of both worldwide indie flicks and hidden Irish gems – such as heavily anticipated films by established filmmakers like Ethan Coen, and fresh debuts from first-time directors like Jodie Corry. Its mission is to showcase the best Irish and international films, with a focus on the most diverse films of the year. DIFF’S 2024 schedule is arguably the most transgressive line-up yet, exploring themes of queerness, polyamory, and the trans experience – all in a vast variety of genres. 

DIFF’S 2024 schedule is arguably the most transgressive line-up yet, exploring themes of queerness, polyamory, and the trans experience – all in a vast variety of genres.

Goran Stolevski sweeps the festival with his new queer comedy drama Housekeeping for Beginners, which is the polar opposite of his last film, You Won’t Be Alone – a folk horror gem that went under everyone’s radar in 2022. This genre shift proves that he is a talented director with range, and certainly one to keep an eye out for. Housekeeping for Beginners follows a queer woman (played by Anamaria Marinca; Fury, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) and her dysfunctional familial dynamics, as she navigates unsolicited motherhood.

Ethan Coen’s Drive-Away Dolls follows a queer Margaret Qualley (Maid, Stars at Noon) as she embarks on a road trip to Tallahassee, and finds herself at a crossroads with a group of offbeat criminals. This subtle queer representation has been on all our highly anticipated lists this year.

Paul B. Preciado’s directorial debut Orlando, My Political Biography depicts a blend of documentary and fiction as it explores Virginia Woolf’s transgender tale “Orlando.” Selma Vilhunen’s Finnish feature Four Little Adults delves into a heterosexual couples’ experiment with polyamory, as they navigate the trials and tribulations that come with it in this heartfelt drama starring Alma Pöysti (Fallen Leaves).

Zacharias Mavroeidis’ The Summer with Carmen takes place on Athen’s queer beach and follows two best friends (played by newcomers Yorgos Tsiantoulas and Andreas Lampropoulo) looking back on a recent summer as they attempt to turn it into a screenplay. Ian Fallon’s debut short Amoeba is an ambitious take on young queer love. Utilising bold cinematographic choices, and stunning colour grading, this short looks colossally promising for this new talent.

Jodie Corry’s Yellow Glade is your quintessential coming-of-age tale — following two queer boys falling in love in a summer not to be forgotten. Alongside some of the narratively heavier films, this lighthearted film is a sight for sore eyes. Che-Ming Chang’s Bubbling is a directorial debut for this Taiwanese actor. His short follows a love story between two queer school boys – which is another welcomed entry to the fest.

As DIFF is one of our favourite cultural events of the year, the importance of queer representation goes without saying. Ireland’s conservative history means that it is so significant and vital for more diverse and varied queer representation to feature at this year’s festival and beyond.