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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

sydney film festival 2007

im going to do a bit of a write up about some of the films i've seen at this year's fesitval. hopefully some of you will go and have a look at what they're screening. a lot of it is pretty impressive, and its always nice to check out films when you might never get the chance to see them again.

this year im a volunteer at the festival, state theatre. one of the better things is being able to watch the movies while you're on shift. i'm doing alot of volunteer work because its great fun, and seeing the movies for free, while working, reminds me of hoyts. and they're great films.

film: 12:08 east of bucharest

a romanian film, very slow, 'wry' comedy (it was sold as wry). its an observational piece, a character study on a few guys in a small town. its set at christmas. its a simple film, lots of slow shots. one of the scenes went for 40 minutes, just dialogue between the characters, shot as if it was done by someone who had never used a camera before. the timing of the performances was outstanding. i loved the simplicity of it. it was a great, very funny film, but definitely not for everyone. the old guy was classic, particularly the scene with the firecrackers. also loved the scene where everyone collected their debts from the professor.

film: dry season

interesting film, with an incredbly powerful and timeless story. i'm not sure where the film is set, somewhere in africa. a young man's father was killed. his killer is still out in the world. the young man tracks down the killer. the young man becomes part of the killer's life. a bond forms between them. will the young man forgive or avenge his father? its a very quiet film, and the performances are what drives this subtle film. it is observed with great maturity. some of the cinematography, use of colour in particular, is gorgeous. there is a shot where people are throwing bread at the young boy - doesn't sound like much, but i don't know. it's etched in my brain. i enjoyed this film.

film: the 5000 fingers of Dr. T

this has to be one of my favourites that i've seen at the festival so far. it was written by Dr. Seuss, produced in the 1950s. The story is about a little boy (about 6 years old) who hates being forced to take his piano lessons. His tutor, Mr. Terwilliger, is a villain. His mum is on Terwilliger's side. His only friend is the house's plumber, who becomes like the dad he never had. Most of the film is set in the little boy's dream, where he has to foil the plan of Terwilliger - capture 500 little boys, so he can be in charge of 5000 little fingers on his piano - playing for eternity. It is incredibly funny, and just a fun film. It was so much fun to watch. Thinking about it makes me giddy. The set design was so over-the-top and outrageous... the film was shot in technicolour, with really rich tones. The musical numbers are witty. the writing was snappy. the performances, especially by the little boy, were really cool for this kind of film. it was fantastic. better than that. if i ever get the chance to set it again i will. its become the movie of my childhood, even though i'm 20.

film: the walker

i'm a huge paul schrader fan, and love his stuff on transcendental cinema. the premise of the walker is interesting. woody harrelson, playing against type, is a gay upper class socialite who acts as a chaperone to the wives of wealthy politicians. when a body turns up dead, and he is implicated, a web of political intrigue unfolds. its a character drama, similarities to capote. it was good, but i was a bit bored. conceptually it had a lot going for it, but it seemed really lifeless and limp. maybe its just because i watched it after the 5000 fingers... best movie ever...

film: blindsight

incredible film. genuinely moving and powerful. it really got to me. its a documentary about a crew of people, some of them blind, who lead 6 tibetan blind children up the mountains (the one they climb is the one under everest). its a hugely inspirational story, done without pulling the heart strings and just telling it like it is. how they shot the film i have no idea. cinematography was great. i was very impressed with this movie and can't shut up about it. the festival also had this screening accomodating for blind people and the hearing impaired, which i think is a credit to them. if you get the chance to see it, do so.

film: the witnesses

a french film, set in the 1980s during the rise of the AIDS epidemic. focuses on the intertwined relationships of four individuals. it was very stirring and provocative. i left the cinema pretty shaken up, something about the film just really caught me off guard. the script was strong, and the use of music was kind of innovative. i liked how the film seemed like it was a book, similar technique to Y Tu Mama Tambien i guess. strong filmmaking, moving story. i liked it, but found it a bit of a downer.

so there's a few comments on a few flicks i've seen so far.

films that will be seen during the remaining time of the festival:
- half moon
- all in this tea
- the home song stories
- king corn
- bella
- in the company of actors
- hana
- beaufort
- scott walker: 30th century man
- me (yo)
- teethc
- after the wedding
- sugar curtain
- flanders
- boxing day
- vanaja
- shotgun stories
- the island
- the seige
- beauty in trouble
- eye in the sky
- climates
- barakat
- the monastery
- don't touch the axe
- manda bala (send a bullet)
= the bridge
- the jammed
- black snake moan
- ex drummer

and i'll tell you what i thought of those after i see them.

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