MIF21: All of this Unreal Time

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

2 — 4 July 2021 Tickets from £12.50 — Book now

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and premiering at Manchester Central this July, All of This Unreal Time is a brand new short film and immersive installation written by Max Porter, directed by Aoife McArdle, and starring Cillian Murphy. Presented in enveloping surround sound, the work also features music by The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner, as well as acclaimed electronic musician, Jon Hopkins.

Billed as a candid examination of one man’s failings, All of This Unreal Time sees a man walk alone through the night and the city, confessing his sins to the world. It is, we’re told, concerned with the need to care for those alongside us, and the earth that sustains us — themes that will sound familiar to anybody acquainted with Porter’s writing.

Made last year, the film marks a reunion of sorts with Peaky Blinders star Murphy having appeared in the 2019 stage adaptation of Porter’s Grief Is the Thing With Feathers. Indeed, the project had its genesis in a conversation between the two. Porter said, “What started as a conversation with Cillian has become this living breathing hybrid of film and music, language and light. We had no idea the world would look this way when we set out to make this piece, but we did know we wanted to make a work about being humbled, scared, ashamed and amazed.”

Director Aoife McArdle, best known for her music video work with the likes of U2, Coldplay and Anna Calvi, also reunites with Jon Hopkins, for whom she directed the striking video for “Open Eye Signal”. Speaking about the film, McArdle says that, “It was easy to be inspired by the range and power Cillian has as an actor and the poetry of Max’s words. Rainy, empty, lockdown streets became vivid canvases. Working with all of these artists has been one of the purest collaborative journeys I’ve been on.”

2 — 4 July 2021 Tickets from £12.50 Book now

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