Friday, July 31, 2009


In between dashing into the parallel-universe Melbourne podjob to smash a deadline or two, I managed to cosy into a hard-backed cinema seat and see a few flicks at the Melbourne International Film Festival last week. I've already tweeted about what I thought of the films I saw, but once more for those in the back, with notes:

Our City Dreams: interesting fem artists in NYC portrayed without any curation of thematics, narrative or location.
[The film told each artist's story one after the other, in blocks that reminded me of the trapped bird feel of a gallery room. The edit was completely uncreative and jarred uncomfortably against the otherwise intriguing stories of these free creatives. There wasn't any sense of why we were in New York, which leant the film a kind of assuming arrogance that its content unfortunately did not support]

All Tomorrow's Parties: brilliant for chucking on after you've trundled home from a festival. Not so much if unmunted in a cinema.
[does however contain some awesome footage of Nick Cave performing No Pussy Blues and some interesting interviews with various artists, but as a whole, a film where you could easily walk out of the room to grab another beer from the fridge and not feel that you've missed anything on your return. There was a little too much footage of wasted festival goers to keep me entertained for the full duration. Even people at festivals don't want to see other stoned people at festivals. Out of context it's just a bit creepy]

The Beaches of Agnes: memory as humble and tactile cinematic installation. Unsophisticated, in the very best possible way. [I recommend not only that you see this one, but that if you have a chance, see it in a cinema. It is designed for a cinema screen and this film feels, more so than the others I watched at this festival, like such an intimate gift when you view it as it was intended to be seen]

Prime Mover: a few decent gags hidden under yet another predictable Aus caricature comedy. Found the protagonist entirely unendearing. [This is a shame, as I was looking forward to this film. I'm really craving an indie Australian comedy that doesn't trade on jokes that died in the early 90's. Also, what is the deal with Aus films using pointless animation lately? I had the same graphics gripe with My Year Without Sex- I find it really distracting when there's no diagetic connection]

Outrage: doco outing closeted gay American senators will make you question the rights of private citizens compared to public citizens. [this one raised some serious moral questions for me. I'm an advocate of letting people come out in their own good time, and I think outing is immoral. Still, I've never applied this private opinion to public figures who have the right to decide whether or not I deserve the same rights that would be considered human rights if I was currently sleeping with a dude. It's a tricky topic, and definitely one that should be up for debate. See it.]

Outside the darkened theatres, I developed the biggest interior design crush on the MIFF festival lounge at the Forum. The blue-lit roof, strung party lights and cosy round booths all collide to make the perfect space to argue with your friends over whether or not that film you just saw had any magic to it. It's one of those cosmic holy places. If I was still in Melbourne, I would still be sitting there, smiling shiny-eyed up at the roof. I'm a total deviant for a well lit room.

So, now you know. Next time you're trying to woo me, stock up on coloured globes, gels and fairy lights.

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