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Irish Film Festival

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The fifth annual Irish Film Festival runs Friday through Wednesday, March 5 through 10, at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $10, $9 for BAC members; festival passes, good for all screenings and events, are $50, $45 for BAC members. For more information call 773-445-3838. Short films will precede every screening.

FRIDAY, MARCH 5

Mystics

Dublin old-timers David Kelly (Waking Ned Devine) and Milo O'Shea (still best known to Americans as the imperious judge in The Verdict) prop up this pleasant if utterly familiar gangster comedy. Retired showmen, they run a seance scam in which Kelly poses as the medium and O'Shea shouts messages from the afterlife through an air vent; somehow this lame ploy fools everyone, including the widow of a local mobster, and she enlists the jittery seniors to locate a cache of diamonds her husband squirreled away before his death. TV veteran David Blair directed this 2002 feature; with Maria Doyle Kennedy. (JJ) Admission is $30, $27 for BAC members, and includes a reception 90 minutes prior to the screening. Kelly, O'Shea, actor Colm Meaney (Intermission), and Sunniva O'Flynn, curator of the Irish Film Festival in Dublin, will attend both events. (8:00)

SATURDAY, MARCH 6

On the Nose

An agreeable cast buoys this 2001 comedy set at the Dublin College of Medicine. The starchy president (Dan Aykroyd) makes a nice chunk of change betting on the ponies with tips from a porter in the specimen archive (Robbie Coltrane); unbeknownst to the boss, Coltrane gets his information from the head of an aborigine that's been floating in a jar of alcohol since the late 1800s. Trouble looms when some local hoods try to muscle in on the porter's winning streak and an Australian emissary shows up at the college to reclaim the head, which belonged to an anticolonial hero. If this sounds funny, as opposed to just plain weird, you'll probably get a kick out of it; I was content just to see Aykroyd do his upper-crust asshole routine. David Caffrey directed; with Brenda Blethyn. 104 min. (JJ) (2:00)

In America

See capsule in listings. (4:30)

Intermission

See Critic's Choice. (8:00)

SUNDAY, MARCH 7

The Rising of the Moon

Tyrone Power introduces a trio of stories in this flavorful but rarely seen Irish film (1957) by John Ford: "The Majesty of the Law," in which a policeman visits a recalcitrant farmer; "A Minute's Wait," in which a train that's supposed to stop for a minute stops for two hours; and "The Rising of the Moon," about an Irish-American patriot who escapes the gallows after the 1921 rebellion. Ford said he made it strictly for fun, and you can take his word for it. With Cyril Cusack, Maureen Connell, Frank Lawton, and Jimmy O'Dea. 81 min. (DD) (2:00)

Photos to Send

In her often very moving DV documentary, filmmaker Dierdre Lynch retraces photographer Dorothea Lange's 1954 trip through County Clare, tracks down the surviving subjects of Lange's haunting photographs, and gets them talking about their lives. Individual moments are quite touching, as when one man reflects that his only photograph of his father is one of Lange's images in Life magazine. At times Lynch moves a bit too quickly, tantalizing us with a brief interview that begs for expansion and then moving on. But what emerges from her many miniature portraits is a larger picture of people whose lives are deeply imbued with a sense of place. 87 min. (Hank Sartin) (4:00)

Goldfish Memory

This Irish romantic comedy by director Liz Gill, who has apprenticed with Martin Scorsese, Todd Haynes, and Barry Levinson, seems more attuned to Hugh Grant vehicles than to the work of her edgier mentors. Roughly a dozen characters roam trendy Dublin locales searching for love, but (supposedly like goldfish) they have short memories and learn little from experience. The repetitive behavior and recycled pickup lines add rhythm but no bounce, and the premise of gay, straight, and bi couples continually going back to the same well for companionship seems hackneyed. There are some funny and touching moments, helped along by attractive players, handsome scenery, and a few well-timed edits, but the film is a predictable gloss of other movies, down to its ham-fisted lift from The Graduate. 85 min. (Andrea Gronvall) (6:00)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10

Best of the Fest

Short films. (7:30)

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