MIFF09 review: ANNA (dir. Pierre Koralnik)

anna

Review by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A film whose soundtrack I’ve known for a long time but which I never expected to get a chance to see, watching Anna at MIFF was a real treat. A little bit Funny Face and a little bit Blowup, as anarchic as Godard but also as loving an ode to the movie musical form as Demy, I guess Anna, which was made for French TV in 1967 and directed by Pierre Koralnik, could most succinctly be described as an extremely successful combination of Nouvelle Vague stylings and Serge Gainsbourg/Yé-Yé style rock’n’roll. With music by Gainsbourg and a cast featuring, aside from the man himself, Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy and Marianne Faithfull, the film is a zany, endlessly entertaining delight. Continue reading

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MIFF09 report: Laura Mulvey probably wouldn’t have enjoyed ‘Anna Karina – In Conversation’

anna karina

Post by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A friend once remarked to me that, whenever he sees an advertisement for MIFF, he accidentally misreads it as ‘MILF.’ Upon entering the Festival Lounge for the conversation with Anna Karina today, one could have been forgiven for thinking that David Stratton, her interviewer, and many members of the audience had made a similar error. A weird, not terribly satisfactory, and occasionally rather sexist event, the conversation with Ms. Karina offered her a kind of adoration, but an adoration so totally defined by an understanding of her as ‘muse’ to a series of great men – Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Serge Gainsbourg – that there wasn’t much for her to do besides tell some stories about these great men as the private individuals she knew. Continue reading

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MIFF09 review: OUR CITY DREAMS (dir. Chiara Clemente)

our city dreams

Review by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A fun idea for a documentary, Our City Dreams follows five female artists of different ages who have moved to New York City from a variety of locales, and made their lives and their careers there. Attempting to offer impressions of the personality, artistic sensibility and personal history of five different contemporary artists in the space of about ninety minutes, the film is not exactly Rivette’s Belle Noiseuse, but it’s impressive how much it manages to pack in given its limitations, without feeling at all cluttered. Continue reading

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To do: Uhh MIFF of course!

philosoface

Post by Brad Nguyen

  • TUESDAY 21st: Ang Lee is speaking via satellite at a very early screening of TAKING WOODSTOCK. [Cinema Nova] The cooler kids will be at the PHILOS-o-FACE launch. PHILOS-o-FACE usually makes images of philosophers’ faces into brooches (I have the Deleuze one) but they are making a special batch of directors’ faces for MIFF. At Kids in Berlin, 472 Victoria Street. [PHILOS-o-FACE]
  • THURSDAY 23rd: Some exciting new releases this week: Legendary action director John Woo tries on his wuxia epic with Red Cliff, American independent director Jim Jarmusch tries on his existential art-noir with Limits of Control and Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots with Drag Me to Hell.

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  • FRIDAY 24th: Opening night of the Melbourne International Film Festival which is running until August 9. I, of course, will be blogging and tweeting from the festival and, in the event that you should want to stalk and kill me, I’ve written up my MIFF schedule as a note on my Facebook page. Despite the slightly depressing popularist vibe of MIFF’s marketing campaign and the fact that most of the films are really just preview screenings for films that are being released this year by local distributors, there is still some interesting films on offer. I’m personally excited about the new Hirokazu Kore-eda film Still Walking and watching Willem Dafoe ejaculate blood and talk to a fox in Antichrist but, you know, to each their own. [MIFF]

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  • SUNDAY: Really one of the best films of the year that no one is talking about, Summer Hours (dir. Olivier Assayas) is playing in a matinee session. [Astor]

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In defence of BRUNO

bruno

Review by Brad Nguyen

The comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen traffics in causing conservative outrage yet time and time again he courts criticism from what might be badly defined as the Liberal Media. SBC’s latest film, Bruno, in which he plays a flamboyant Austrian fashion journalist on a quest for celebrity stardom in America, is designed to make fun of American homophobia but critics are still calling Bruno a homophobic film. Are they right? Continue reading

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To do: BRUNO, STYLE WARS, ADVENTURELAND, OBSERVE AND REPORT and MAD MAX

bruno

  • WEDNESDAY 8th: Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno opens wide. Following the mixture of mockumentary and real-life pranks of Borat but replacing the misogynist/antisemitic Kazakhstani reporter with an uber-camp fashion reporter from Austria, the film is bound to offend, I dunno, rednecks and gays without a sense of humour.

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  • THURSDAY 9th: Style Wars, a doco on the birth of hip-hop culture plays at the ACMI until Sunday 12th. Shot in NYC in the early 1980s, Tony Silver’s groundbreaking film documented the new language of hip hop – graffiti, rap, breakdance. [ACMI]

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  • FRIDAY 10th: Two recently released comedies that didn’t get much notice but we gave very good reviews for, Adventureland and Observe and Report are showing as a double bill at Astor. [Astor]

madmax

  • SUNDAY 12th: Mad Max and Mad Max 2: The Roadwarrior are showing at the Astor. [Astor]

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Does Gervais’ THE INVENTION OF LYING trailer prove the law of diminishing returns?

serge-gainsbourg-Eric-ElmosninoIt’s really not a bad likeness. There are some new photos from the upcoming biopic of Serge Gainsbourg. Hopefully coming next year. [The Playlist]

mamaodieWho would have thought that racial stereotypes would actually become en vogue? First there was Sing Song, the bumbling Asian and the magical negroes of Australia! Very recently we’ve had the jive-talking illiterate black robots of Revenge of the Fallen. Now we have the upcoming Princess and the Frog to look forward to. Princess represents Disney’s return to 2D animation under the guiding hand of Pixar king John Lasseter. From the video linked, it seems assured that its jazz alligator, slack-jawed Cajun firefly and Mama Odie the comic-relief swamp witch doctor are bound to offend. The question is: how much? [Movieline] Continue reading

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The inadvertent surrealist genius of TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN

meganfoxReview by Brad Nguyen

Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a fairly perfect encapsulation of the Hollywood summer blockbuster: Big on spectacle, be it two giant robots battling one another or Megan Fox’s ass; and light on coherent plot. And as easy as it would be for me to dismiss the movie, I would be lying if I were to say that the film wasn’t an entertaining and, yes, a fascinating experience Continue reading

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Images from the Melbourne-made sci-fi EXIT.

exit03Having established the general ineptness of Australian movie marketing, it’s kind of exciting when a film does something right in getting us interested in the film. I’m talking here about the forthcoming sci-fi film Exit. The film’s writer Martyn Pedler (a local media jack-of-all-trades) has posted some images from the production of Exit on his website. This is a great move, taking a page out of the whole ‘production diary’ phenomenon exemplified by the Lord of the Rings website and currently what Edgar Wright is doing with Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World video diaries or the similar stuff that the crew of the Greg Mottola-helmed Paul are doing. Letting the audience in on the production process, if done correctly, is really effective at creates a sense of connection between the audience and the film and can help immeasurably with word-of-mouth.

So now that the images are out there, let the judging begin! Continue reading

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To do: Woody Allen, lesbians, Harmony Korine.

sleeper73

  • TONIGHT: Woody Allen double at the Astor: 1973’s Sleeper (about a man who is frozen after an ulcer operation and wakes up in the future 200 years later) screens with Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex from 1972. [Astor]

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  • WEDNESDAY 1st: Cinematheque opens its retrospective of the work of Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski. This weeks double is Four Nights With Anna (2008), a stylised film on obsessive love and Deep End (1971) a black comedy about an adolescent boy’s sexual awakening as an employee of a seedy London bathhouse. [Cinematheque]

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  • THURSDAY 2nd: This could be interesting. ACMI is playing a documentary called Beautiful Losers about a group of multi-disciplinary artists including street artist Shepard Fairey and filmmakers Harmony Korine (Kids, Ken Park, Mister Lonely) and Mike Mills (Thumbsucker). Hilarious interview with Harmony Korine from 1995 on Letterman which is pretty much required viewing here. Beautiful Losers is screening until Sunday. [ACMI]

cleo

  • FRIDAY 3rd: ACMI shows as part of their ‘Focus on Girls 24/7’ program Agnes Varda‘s Cleo from 5 to 7, a French New Wave film about a ditzy singer who kills time on the streets of Paris. [Focus on Girls 24/7] Freaky Fridays screens Executive Koala about a Japanese salaryman who also happens to be a koala. [Freaky Fridays] Cinema Fiasco presents Black Mama, White Mama a 1973 exploitation flick starring Pam Grier and Margaret Markov about two ladies flung into a Third World women’s prison featuring the requisite shower scenes, cat fights and lesbians. The presentation features live commentary which sounds pretty irritating and unnecessary. [Astor]

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  • SUNDAY 5th: James Bond double-feature at the Astor: Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965). [Astor]

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