International Film Round-Up

April 29

When Bong Joon-ho won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, he opened his speech with this gem:

Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.

Wise words indeed.

Many of cinemas’ finest moments aren’t in English, so it’s fantastic to see the International market’s growth of the last few years.

So, in this spirit; here are five titles that I recommend you check out.

All are outstanding, and represent the best of International film.

Enjoy. 🙂

Pain & Glory (Spain)

Pedro Almodóvar’s 21st feature and his first since 2016’s excellent Julieta, Pain and Glory finds the celebrated Spanish director in a contemplative and reflective mood.

Starring long-time collaborative partner Antonio Banderas, the film focuses on ageing director Salvador Mallo as he navigates creative, physical, and existential crises.

Banderas is in top form in what many are calling a career-best performance. Very much worthy of his Best Actor win at Cannes and Oscar nomination for the same, those only familiar with his roles as brawny action heroes (and a certain sword-wielding CGI cat) are in for a welcome surprise.

“Banderas is in top form in what many are calling a career-best performance.”

The supporting cast, comprised of Penelope Cruz, Julieta Serrano, and Leonardo Sbaraglia, is just as impressive, and Alberto Iglesias’ unsettling and melancholic score complements it all perfectly.

A poignant look at growing older and how we come to terms with ourselves, Pain and Glory is a career-best work from the much-celebrated director.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire has received a lot of praise for its visual style, and, with its sumptuous cinematography and stark set design, it’s easy to see why.

But it’s not just lovely to look at. A bittersweet romance about two star-crossed lovers, this period piece stays with you long after the credits have rolled.

Taking place in 18th century France, the film tells the story of Marianne, a young painter hired to paint Eloise’s portrait for her upcoming wedding.

However, because she’s a reluctant bride, Eloise is unwilling to commit herself to canvas, so Marianne is forced to paint her in secret. Soon enough, the artist falls for her subject.

As aesthetically pleasing as it is emotionally devastating, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is as David Ehrlich writes in his Indiewire review,  “as perfect a film as any to have premiered this year.”

Parasite (South Korea)

Words like “masterpiece” get thrown around a lot, but it seems like the right one to use when describing Parasite.

Funny, unpredictable, thrilling, and moving while also providing a razor-sharp social commentary, this particular film merits the lavish praise that’s come it is way.

“Parasite merits the lavish praise that’s come its way.”

Recipient of the Palme D’Or (and an eight-minute standing ovation) at Cannes, it is also, as I’m sure you know, the first non-English film to win the Best Picture Oscar.

Hopefully the first of many.

It’s also had great success at the box office. Bringing in a worldwide total of $266.9 million it has, with ten million-plus admissions, also been seen by more than a fifth of its native South Korea’s population.

About two families at opposite ends of the class spectrum, the film centres around the impoverished Kims and the affluent Parks, and the twisted relationship that develops between them.

I’m going to leave it there though, because the less you know before diving in, the better. I strongly suggest you just do the sensible thing and watch it.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Germany)

When I think of war films on the big screen, adult-only ones like Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan, Dunkirk, and 1917 come to mind.

However, there are others, like Grave of the Fireflies and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, that portray the problematic subject in a way that’s suitable for younger viewers.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, a German film based on the 1974 book of the same name, does this too – and quite brilliantly.

Told through the perspective of 9-year old Jewish girl Anna (a pitch-perfect performance from Riva Krymalowski), it tells the story of her and her family’s escape from Berlin, and subsequent experience as refugees.

This is an excellent adaptation. Tactful in its portrayal while never talking down to its younger audience, it’s a moving watch, and a powerful reminder of the devastating consequences of war.

Shoplifters (Japan)

Hirokazu Koreeda’s Shoplifters was one of the most highly acclaimed films of 2018, garnering critical praise and winning that year’s Palme d’Or.

The film is about a group of outsiders who engage in petty theft to make ends meet.

After one particular shoplifting run, two members of the gang, Osamu and his son Shota, come across a homeless girl in the cold who they decide to take in. They’re all quite content together – that is, until, an unforeseen incident tests the bonds that unite them.

Shoplifters is a touching and thought-provoking film.

It reminded me of the great Ken Loach in how it empathises with those who’ve fallen into poverty, and in the naturalistic, documentary-like way it depicts these lives onscreen.

Critic Robbie Collin nailed it when he calls it, in this review for the Telegraph, “compassionate, socially conscious filmmaking… that steals and snatches your heart”.

It sure does.

Written by Conor Regan, Senior Content Acquisition Executive.

At Inflight Dublin, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality film, TV, and audio content to our clients. If you’d like to learn how we can do the same for your airline, please do get in touch by sending a message to mail@inflightdublin.com

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The Music Biopic in 2020

April 15

Record-breaking returns, critical acclaim, packed screenings and loads of awards.

Yep, it’s fair to say that the music biopic has performed pretty impressively recently.

However, it wasn’t always the case.

Because, besides an occasional hit, the genre has historically brought in low to middling box office numbers; certainly nothing compared to traditional blockbuster bankers like action, comedy and drama.

So, what’s changed? What are the reasons for this shift to the mainstream, and why now?

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

Bohemian Rhapsody’s Breakthrough

Sometimes a one-off success is needed to bring a style in from the margins, and this is precisely what Bohemian Rhapsody did for the music biopic.

Chronicling Queen’s career from their formation up to that Live Aid performance, it was the ideal introduction for those who knew little about the subgenre.

“Bohemian Rhapsody was the ideal introduction for those who knew little about the subgenre.”

The numbers were remarkable. The 6th highest-grossing movie of 2018, its $900 million-plus return is especially noteworthy when you consider that Straight Outta Compton was, until then, the top-performing music movie with $201 million (almost $700 mill less!).

But the good news wasn’t just financial. The film won four Oscars as well as Best Motion Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes, and, with a very respectable IMDb rating of 8.0, is well-liked from an audience perspective.

Such a total, on-all-fronts success was completely unexpected (it even took Brian May by surprise), and proved that the humble music biopic could compete at the box office, and beyond.

Music Streaming

It’s no coincidence that, as streaming has become the dominant model of music distribution and consumption, more music biopics have hit screens than ever before – but how are the two connected?

Well, on the one hand, now that listeners have vast libraries of music at their fingertips, musicians are, generally speaking, being heard by audiences that are more evenly spread across nationalities and generations.

An offshoot from this wider listenership is a heightened interest in the lives of the artists themselves, and the eras from which they came – elements that the music biopic is uniquely well-suited in depicting.

It’s inevitable, so, with the rise of music streaming, so too would there be an increased demand for them.

A downside of streaming though, from the perspectives of the artist and their labels at least, has been the decreased revenue from traditional models (album sales, for instance) – a factor that, as we’ll see in the next point, has also had an impact on the subgenre’s popularity.

Changing Attitudes to Rights

A sticking-point for biopic creators in the past has been the acquisition of an artist’s music and life rights.

The much-delayed Janis Joplin movie is the classic example, so infamous that it was the subject of a particularly excellent 30 Rock parody:

However, things are changing. With the losses felt by the industry due to streaming, artists and labels are becoming increasingly flexible and open, something which Dan Simpson sums up in this article:

But, as Simpson also points to in the same piece, the potential benefits of the biopic aren’t just financial:

It used to be hard for filmmakers to get major artists to give them permission to use their catalogues. But following the enormous success of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody […] it seems like artists have realised that backing biopics and celebratory movies is a way of reaffirming their cultural relevance and opening new revenue streams as traditional incomes from record sales are on the wane.

Taking these shifts in music and media into account, it’s no wonder that we’re seeing the industry become more flexible when it comes to rights – which means, ultimately, more music movies.

We’ll get that Janis Joplin one yet.

Heightened Audience Appeal

Stories about the rise-and-fall (and rise again) of a character never seem to go out of fashion.

Whether it’s Rocky, It’s a Wonderful Life or The Shawshank Redemption, these type of movies have a universal quality that resonates with us all.

With the up-and-down nature of a life in the spotlight, famous musicians are a natural fit for this type of narrative arc, and Hollywood has recognised this – hence several recent biopics have been based around cosily familiar three-act structures that often conclude with the protagonist’s rebirth.

“Famous musicians are a natural fit for the rise-and-fall narrative arc.”

By shaping the movies like this, filmmakers have been able to tap into an established audience, and this has, in turn, helped push the subgenre to prominence.

Another recent trend has been to soften the biopics’ subjects, and present PG-13 versions of what are often R-rated lives – one example being Queen, whose rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle was toned down for any impressionable kids watching.

Since adult-only music films have historically had a rough time at the box office, the milder ratings of recent ones mean that they can reach a broader, and younger, audience.

In Conclusion!

The music biopic has been one of the major breakout genres of the last few years, and a combination of four factors go some way to explaining why: the enormous success of Bohemian Rhapsody; significant changes in music distribution; shifting attitudes to rights and licensing; and the creation of a more accessible batch of biopics.

“The music biopic has been one of the major breakout genres of the last few years.”

Whether it has the staying power of other recent industry trends (superhero movies and remakes, for example) is anyone’s guess. Still, you can be sure that the music movie will be hitting inflight screens for another while at least.

Very welcome news, I’m sure you’ll agree, for music obsessives everywhere. 😉

Written by Conor Regan.

Inflight Dublin prides itself on providing the most current and on-trend film, TV, and audio content to our clients – and this includes music biopics! If you’d like to learn more about our company, and perhaps how we can do the same for your organisation, contact us at mail@inflightdublin.com

Further Reading
Image Credits (in descending order)

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Inflight Dublin Statement on COVID-19

April 01

Responding to the crisis

Inflight Dublin is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation around the world and are taking the necessary actions to ensure compliance with all government and professional medical advice. The health and well-being of our staff and clients is our top priority during this time, with all staff working safely from home and all work-related travel suspended for the duration of this crisis.

Our business is operating as usual, with all staff utilising remote access to our IT systems and infrastructure. These facilities are robust, secure and have been tested. This will enable us to continue operating in a seamless manner so that there is no change in our high service levels.

Support, empathy and understanding are key elements in our approach to this difficult situation and we welcome our clients, partners and industry professionals alike to reach out to us with any questions they may have regarding our operations at this time.

Continuous updates will be provided on our LinkedIn and Twitter channels.

Contact us: mail@inflightdublin

 

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Inflight Dublin Launches EASE: Wellness Breathing Exercise

March 30

Inflight Dublin, a global provider of inflight entertainment and wireless solutions, has announced the launch of their latest product innovation, EASE: Wellness Breathing Exercise. The release of the wellness product aims to promote the wellbeing of passengers, in the air or on the ground, particularly during these difficult times.

EASE is a user-centred, brand-aligned breathing exercise that helps anxious travellers feel more relaxed during their flight. Compatible with all inflight entertainment systems, the exercise can be housed on any Wireless or Seatback IFE platform. Adopting binaural beats (Audio Frequencies), resonant breathing techniques, and comforting visuals, the goal of the video is to instil a calming and positive experience for the user throughout their flight.

EASE is fully customisable and through the complementary application of an airline’s logo, colour palette, and typography the exercise will tastefully reflect each airline’s brand. This on-trend and extremely helpful product is designed and managed entirely in-house by Inflight Dublin.

“We are delighted to announce our latest innovation, EASE: Wellness Breathing Exercise. Recognising the fast-growing wellness trend, we wanted to create something simple and user-friendly that would help ‘ease’ the anxiety or fear that many passengers suffer when flying. I am proud of the Inflight Dublin team for continuing to innovate and creating something positive during such a tough time for the industry”  – John White, Inflight Dublin’s CEO.

“I am proud of the Inflight Dublin team for continuing to innovate and creating something positive during such a tough time for the industry”

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Inflight Dublin selected by SAS as its IFE Content Service Provider

September 10

Inflight Dublin has been awarded a 3 year contract for the provision of IFE content by Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), Scandinavia’s leading airline. The first cycle of content provided by Inflight Dublin will commence in January 2020.

An inventory of content including movies, TV shows, music albums and games will be provided by Inflight Dublin. Locally produced and International movies and TV shows will be incorporated into this selection, chosen specifically to cater to the airlines’ audience. A next generation microsite created and managed by Inflight Dublin’s in-house Design and Software teams will also be provided. The microsite will enable passengers to browse the current entertainment, watch trailers and engage with SAS’s IFE offering. The platform is dynamic, enabling content to be seamlessly viewed on mobile, tablet and PC devices. 

SAS operates a fleet of 169 aircraft to 123 global destinations, with hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. The inflight entertainment seatback system will be available on all long-haul flights to Asia and the US.

“We are delighted that SAS has chosen Inflight Dublin to be its IFE content service provider. It gives us great pride to be working with such a prominent airline, particularly with the introduction of new aircraft during the next few years. We are looking forward to further developing our partnership with SAS in the coming years and delivering an enhanced IFE experience to its passengers.” John White, Inflight Dublin’s CEO.

“It gives us great pride to be working with such a prominent airline, particularly with the introduction of new aircraft during the next few years.”

Inflight Dublin is a global provider of IFE content and wireless solutions with over 35 years’ experience within the industry. This latest announcement coincides with the launch of their next generation Everhub™ portable wireless server to be debuted at APEX Expo in September 2019.

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Loftleidir Icelandic choose Inflight Dublin for Wireless IFE

September 10

Inflight Dublin has been awarded the contract to provide wireless inflight entertainment for a number of Loftleidir Icelandic’s fleet. Loftleidir Icelandic is a subsidiary of Icelandair Group, and has been receiving IFE content from Inflight Dublin since 2018.

Inflight Dublin will be providing its all-in-one wireless IFE solution, Everhub™, across a number of Loftleidir Icelandic’s fleet allowing for an enhanced on board experience for its charter clients. The deal sees Inflight Dublin provide a wireless solution consisting of hardware, software and content provision. Loftleidir Icelandic has received premium content from Inflight Dublin for the last two years, and is now expanding its IFE to its charter clients. The Everhub™ software will have a flexible, customized, interface which will tailor to each clients brand and design requirements.

Loftleidir Icelandic’s fleet operates under the Icelandair operator certificates and on leasing contracts under Aircraft-Maintenance conditions to other airlines. Its services include Full Charter, VIP Charter, wet-lease and dry-lease operations.

“We have been extremely satisfied with Inflight Dublin’s services over the years, particularly with their efficiency and high-quality level of service. We are looking forward to taking this step into wireless IFE with Inflight Dublin’s all-in-one wireless solution.”

“We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Loftleidir Icelandic. Choosing Inflight Dublin for its wireless solution, on top of the usual content offering, shows great trust and satisfaction in Inflight Dublin’s services. We look forward to providing an enhanced IFE experience to its passngers in the future ”. John White, Inflight Dublin’s CEO.

“Choosing Inflight Dublin for its wireless solution, on top of the usual content offering, shows great trust and satisfaction in Inflight Dublin’s services”

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Inflight Dublin appoints David Miller as CTO

August 24

Inflight Dublin, the inflight entertainment content and software provider, has announced the appointment of David Miller as its Chief of Technology Officer (CTO) as of the 10th September, 2018.

This newly created management position within the company’s headquarters in Dublin, is a result of its continuous growth and expansion within the Inflight Entertainment (IFE) industry.  Mr. Miller will lead the Software Development, Audio-Video and IT functions of the business, as well as joining the Senior Management Team.

 

David has been a Senior Manager in information technology & venture capital industries with over 30 year’s managerial, business development, and venture capital experience.  Throughout his professional career, David has held CTO, COO and senior product development positions for organisations including AdaptiveMobile Security, IONA Technologies, eSpatial, and TERMINALFOUR.  In addition to this, David has also worked with some key players in the aviation industry such as Boeing commercial aircraft group, and leading Irish airline Aer Lingus.

 

Inflight Dublin’s CEO John White spoke of his delight at the announcement stating:

“David will bring a wealth of experience to the role, not only in technology but also across operations and general management”. Mr. White further stated that David will be: “focused on leading our technology teams, skills development, enhancing and implementing our technology roadmap, working with our partners, and advancing our innovation capabilities”.

“David will bring a wealth of experience to the role, not only in technology but also across operations and general management”

David himself also spoke of his enthusiasm to get started at Inflight Dublin:

“I’m excited to be joining the Inflight Dublin team. The company is building on a very successful content business to include an integrated wireless delivery and services capability. This enhances the overall passenger experience and provides our clients with a one stop shop incorporating content, design and delivery in a single offering to boost revenues!”

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Most successful AIX yet for Inflight Dublin

May 21

Inflight Dublin, one of the industries longest established CSP companies, reported that this year’s Hamburg AIX Exhibition was undoubtedly their most successful yet.

“The huge amount of interest generated was not only in our Everhub installed Wireless systems, but also in the portable Wireless offering. We have invested a great amount in adding new features which takes these systems to the next level as far as usability and monetisation goes. By keeping our hardware costs low and offering a full package of content services, we can work closely with any airline, anywhere in the World, to deliver their wifi projects on budget and more importantly, within very tight time frames. It is not always commonplace to be signing so many new contracts at AIX, but this year proved to be exceptional”, said Inflight Dublin Sales Director Howard Clark.

“We can work closely with any airline, anywhere in the world, to deliver their Wi-Fi projects on budget and more importantly, within very tight time frames.”

He added, ‘The company has already started a Global recruitment drive to manage the new contracts, both in the Dublin Head Office and throughout our Global office network, and is already attracting experienced IFE professional’s seeking a stable, growing company”.

 

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