Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Slow Knitting Winter or June at Least

The month of June has just passed and it was a month of much yarn coming in and not much going out. Progress on the Sock swap socks and the It Must Be Love 4ply Jumper for dh have been very very slow I have also acquired more yarn than I have knit.
I have acquired much yarn including a lot of gorgeous Purple yarn from Yarn Lust....Trully yummy. Alongside some Purples and Yellows form Needlefood and Knitabulous...mostly purples.
(The purples with blues and greens is the Plumberry Ambrosia from Needlefood) gorgeous.
Somewhere on the weekend my knitting mojo returned and dh's It Must Be Love Jumper suddenly went form nowhere near the sleeves to only an inch or two to go...It is looking really lovely and is soooo soft and fine.
Shhh... I have also gotten to the heal on the #2 Sock for the sock swap...The leg on this sock is the same as the first but has taken forever. It looks like July will be kinder.
Note: The June personal Sock Club Sock yarn is still in it's packet....Eeek.

Friday, June 19, 2009

And Now Returning You to our Regular Programming - YARN.

Just a post about yarn to remind you that it not all film and music in my life at the moment.

I had been restrained recently but around the craft fair the purse strings got a little bit loose for a few days

This is the first two of a couple of packages on their way.....
Needlefood in Lavendar Infusion (Dark purple to black almost)
Needlefood in Hokey Pokey (Goergoues dark Orange Yellow)
Knitabulous Softsock in Jacaranda
Needlefood in Orange Buttercake
Knitabulous Softsock in Merlot Friday.

Good enough to eat!

Still to Come
Needlewords in Plum Ambrosia and Lollipop
Some Custom Dyed from The Yarn Cafe.

For Your Listening Pleasure (Sydney Local Bands of the late 80's)

This evening I need to be alert for work phone calls so some Retro Music from my past. Though i wouldshare some of it.

All of these bands were local Sydney Bands that played in and around the pubs and clubs of Sydney in the late 80's (and a few even lasted into the early nineties).

Falling Joys - Lock It

Falling Joys - You're In A Mess

The Clouds - Soul Eater

The Hummingbirds - Get On Down (Very 80's Video)

And of Course - Ratcat

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Knitting Night

Tonight we got into some deep discussion about films

A few key ones that came up were

  • Team America World Police - offensive, funny and stupid (no one escapes a pasting).
  • Love and Other Catastrophes - a fantastic Australian Romantic Comedy (With fabulous filmic references)
  • Spooloos (marked as The Vanishing in English) is hands down the scariest film i have ever seen and is brilliant (Please do not see the inferior US remake of a few years later by the same director with Keifer Sutherland)
  • The Purple Rose of Cairo (awesome Woody Allen Film!) that is name checked in Love and other Catastophes.
  • We also touched on a few other older films (Ness we need to bring you up to speed)

I was thinking I should (With some know who I mean) create a couple of must see lists in a few categories over July and August. We can then debate them.

(Any suggestions of topics - eg 70's films and 70's australian films seperate, Film Noir, Old School Musicals would be appreciated)

Thanks for the laugh knittingness , falconfly and FredAstep too!

I have included my favourite clips on You Tube from team America

Firstly - Poor Lonely/ronery Dictator (Warning this contains swearing!)

And of Course Matt Damon (mean but incredibly funny)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meme (Thanks Missy Fee)

Missy Fee tagged me for a goes

What is your current Obsession?
Yarn and knitting (surprise) at home and transitioning the team to working agile and being self-led at work.

What are you wearing today?
Earlier (at work) - Skirt with pockets, a jersey top and tights
Now - dressing gown and slippers at home.

What's for dinner?
Still thinking about - Wednesday night tends to be light or take-away in our house.

What did you eat for your last meal?
Chicken, Chips and Salad at lunch with some work colleagues

What's the last thing you bought?
Yarn from Needlefood online that is yet to arrive.
2 variegated colourways of sockyarn.

What are you listening to right now?
FBI Radio

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
From the study to the loungeroom with the cat, my dh some tv or a movie and some knitting with slippers and the heater on.

What do you love most about where you currently live?
The back garden and the location and the dining room/sewing room/games room we created by swapping the lounge into the smaller of the two rooms in the house we are in.

What is your favorite colour?
Isn't it obvious Purple with blues.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
My recently knitted handknitted cashmere blend (Casbah) bed socks...they are even softer on than i was expecting.

What were you doing ten years ago?
Working ridiculously hard for an IT outsourcer, seeing live music local most weekends and planning a month long party for my 30th whilst travelling between Sydney,Adelaide and Melbourne for work.

Describe your personal style?
Comfy, casual with the occassional accent.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on?
Probably new shoes for either me or dh

What are you going to do after this?
Take the cat (who is sleeping on my arm) into the loungeroom and do some pre-dinner knitting.

What are your favorite films?
It is almost impossible to pick a favourite - films I own and/or will always watch if they are on.

Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Jimmy Stewart)
Harvey (More Jimmy Stewart)
The Maltese Falcon (Bogart as Sam Spade!)
Meet me in St Louis (Best Musical Ever!)
Desk Set - Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn (trivia: written by Pheobe Ephron mother of Nora Ephron)
Infernal Affairs (the film that The Departed was based on - it is much much better)
The Breakfast Club/Pretty In Pink/St Elmos Fire - just because (be someone who was a teenager in the 80's and not love these films!)
Reality Bites (90's equivalent and released just after we left university - timing is everything.
Say Anything and Grosse Pointe Blank - John Cussack's best.

What inspires you?
Dh and my step-daughter, knitting friends and colleagues, work friends and colleagues who are trying to do different things. My mother who has just retired - the people in my life.

Who's work/designs are you inspired by?
Generally - Director John Ford, Writers Andrew McGahan and Neil Stephenson. Joss Whedon creator of Buffy, Angel and Firefly (and now Dollhouse) and the architecture of Renzo Piano.

Knitting - Elizabeth Zimmerman, Ysolde Teague, the colour of Kaffe Fasset and a whole heap I see nearly every week as well.

Your favourite books?
Snow Crash, Zodiac and Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
Anne of Green Gables and the entire series by LM Montgommery
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
All the books of John Birmingham, Nick Earls and Mike Gayle.
The Long Gray Line (Here on Amazon) by Rick Atkinson which traces the time from the 1966 graduating class entering Westpoint to the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial - unbelievably fascinating, horrifying and insightful.

What makes you follow a blog?
Great reading, good photos, keeping up with what my knitting friends are doing.
General interest in work/industry related activities (at the moment Agile and Lean)

What was the most enjoyable thing you did today?
Knitted before I went to work with the cat on my lap and a cup of tea in front of me. Incredibly relaxing way to start the day.

Whats one thing you dream of doing?
Living outside the city with days to knit,sew and garden and spend with friends (and not work hahaha)

Do you collect anything?
Books, Books and knitting yarn (patterns) and knitting books!
Fiction, non-fiction

Skill you'd most like to have that you don't currently
The abilty to paint and draw (my mother-in-law and sd are both incredibly talented).

What is your secret Skill you are most proud of.
My abilty to grasp complex systems (both people and technology) at a conceptual level and hypothosise (usually correctly) about how the unknown bits work (or don't work as the case may be).

The rules:1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own. 2. Tag eight other people.

I have used the last 2 questions to replace the what language do you want to learn and why and to add my own question

I think we might be fishing in the shallow end of the blogging pool if I tag a few others. Please feel free to participate if you wish.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SFF Day 12: Che 1 and Che 2

The first Che film follows the period from his meeting with Castro to the triumphant battle in Santa Clara in 1959. Benicio Del Toro is brilliant as Che providing you with a passionate, direct confident man as he evolves from doctor to guerilla. A true revolutionary!

The film spends a lot of time on the evolution of the fighters in the jungle and is always moving forward with key events moving you through the time line towards the inevitable conclusion of overthrowing Batista. It is intercut with a recreation of his 1964 trip to the UN (Which is cut in black and white almost newsreel style) - which forms a great counterpart to the jungle warfare of the film.

There are no real surprises in this film but it is a engaging representation of the events and time.

The second Che film follows his doomed attempts at a revolution Bolivia in the mid 1960's. This film is more of the jungle/guerilla struggle you see in the first film with less of the major events to punctuate it. It spends a lot of time on the continued struggle to fight (but with less passion from the fighters than the first). It depicts the suspicion held for the Cubans at both a political and a personal/on the ground level. Less compelling than the first this film feels overly long. Still a great piece of cinema - visually stunning and the last hour is harrowing as the numbers of the guerillas dwindles and various ambushes and traps are set.

Some interesting editorial decisions are made - the inclusion of the US in the strategic discussions and training is deliberately portrayed, with only a passing mention to the USSR's involvement. Additionally, few of the characters apart from Che (Who is LARGER THAN LIFE!) are developed through either film.

A great film-festival package with the 2 films shown with a short interval between. The first film will stand alone and sell tickets almost anywhere. The second would struggle to find an audience outside of the true fans or festival circuit.

It is interesting to note that the project was driven by Del Toro and Steven Soderbergh knew very little of Che when he came to this project. The writing is credited to both a screen writer and Che's (through his diaries)

Here ends the SFF for 2009. A quick note Bronson has been awarded the prize for 2009.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Personal Sock Club 2009 Pair #4 Complete

I have finally finished the May pair of my personal sock club socks. I ran out of yarn about 4 rows before the end (The toes are quite yarn hungry). I used some dark green vintage patonyle I have to complete the toe.

Also on the knitting front I have completed one pattern repeat of the cable on dh's 4ply jumper.

SFF Day 11: Cold Souls

Prior to the commencement of Cold Souls a short film was shown - it ws dark, brooding and slow moving (A long short!). It was responsble for lulling me near to sleep.

Cold Souls was a complex and entertaining film with Paul Giamati finding a service that stores your soul (lightens you). This was tied (Somehow) to an underground business in Russia trading in extracted souls. It was darkly funny and intense but slow moving. A friend who had come along and a number of my neighbours fell asleep. About halfway through I felt compelled to leave and take my friend home.

SFF Day 11: Beautiful Kate

Ben Mendelsohn and Brian Brown are brilliant and believable as son and father in this evocative film. Mendelsohn's Ned returns home to the family property to pay his (lack of) respects to his dying father. Rachel Griffith as the younger sister greets his arrival, she stayed at home after all had gone and is quietly steadfast througout.

Ned deals with his errupting memories and emotions as the family tries to come to terms with the loss of Ned's twin sister and his brother many years earlier. This film is utterly engrossing you are carried along on this ride and feel every emotion as the story unfolds. Beautifully shot with magnificent frames. Rachel Ward's direction (and script) is full of life, humanity and pain, she has done a great job of translating the original Idaho set story to the Flinders Ranges.

This is the first film I have seen within the competition stream that seemed to get a genuine warmth in its applause. The cast and crew were greeted warmly and provided an entertaining and insightful Q&A.

My favourite film of the festival so far!

SFF Day 11: Still Walking

This Japanese offering follows a day in a family as the grown children return home in memorial to the son and brother that passed away whilst saving someone who was drowning 15 years earlier.

The complexities of the family relationships ebb and flow during the course of the 2 days the family spends together. The second eldest son aches with his parents disapointment that he is not their now lost eldest son. A beautifully constructedand executed film where the silences and physical seperations say as much as the haunting dialogue.

A lovely film about a resilient family in extended pain.

I missed Accidents Happen that my festival neighbours tell me was an absolute highlight to attend the WWKIP day (starring Geena Davis) I have heard nothing but praise.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Knitting During the Festival

My knitting this year during the festival has been episodic rather than constant.

I have managed to start off a raglan jumper in BWM Luxury for dh as well as knit a few more rounds on the May Personal Sock Club socks as well as start off the Sock Swap Socks (sorry no pictures as these are a secret)

With Knitters Guild and WWKIP today I thought I should finally push through and complete the Diminished Rib Cardigan (With only the buttons to sew on).

I have settled at the original 2 - I think it works and more would take away rather than add to the beauty.

SFF Day 10: Cheri

Michelle Pfeiffer is perfectly cast as the aging courteson in 1920's Paris whose relationship with the son of a fellow courtesan increases in complexity as the film progresses.

The film is beautifully shot and has the right mix of support characters who rain reality down of the couple who progress through the film in an almost dreamlike state sustaining their illusions (to each other and themselves) for the duration of the fim until the inevitable but well played out conclusion.

An ambitious film that delivers on much and wove its spell slowly but steadily.

SFF Day 10: The Girlfriend Experience

Steven Soderberghs film The Girlfriend Experience is a well acted, well made piece about a usually taboo subject matter. Shot almost documentary style with lots of hand-held action this follows a high-end call girl through her work - both clients and logistics (books, website development) and her life with her boyfriend.

Grey is surprisingly effective in this role (and was also quite charming in the Q&A afterwards) detached (deliberately) from her clients and a journalist who is trying to gather information for a piece. The film is ultimately an amalgam of stories that the team have gathered from real call girls and does end up feeling that way. Effective but not enthralling.

SFF Day 10: Everyone Else

A German film about a couple on holiday who are strugglling with the next step of their relationship. Slighly unconventional they play at being more normal for each other.

This film is erratic and the lead characters are not engaging. Oddly placed there is a feeling of volatility when another couple is introduced. Odd moments and a couple of events completely outside of normal behaviour are not even acknowledged. Truly strange

Thursday, June 11, 2009

SFF Day 9: The September Issue

After stepping out of the previous film we came back over about 10 to 9 for a 9:15pm film only to find a queue stretching up Market Street and along George Street to the lights opposite the QVB. This should be quick we thought - alas it was not to be so.

The previous film and Q&A ran over...they didn't start the queue moving until around 9:35pm so we stood outside in the cold for around 40 minutes.

When we finally came in the theatre slowly filled. Claire Stewart came out to introduce the film and in true SFF fashion after an unpleasant experience (Queuing for a film) the audience hissed and she responded with a "well I waited at Sundance freezing my arse of in the cold" (before apologising - she did apologise) an interesting response from the director of a festival in trouble! As a long-term subscriber time delays are just part of the festival - this was one of the biggest I have experienced whilst waiting outside however and a lot of the punters for this one were single ticket holders - will they come back next year? If the festival is dependent on the single ticket buyers to ensure it's livelihood - timeliness to schedules, queue and seating management/ticketing are big hot spots.

Anyway the film about the process of putting together the September 2007 issue of Vogue is fascinating watching. The audience were waiting for glimpses of Wintour ala the character based on her in "The Devil Wears Prada", they were disapointed. The film does give insight into the power this woman weilds in the fashion field. Meeting with designers before their shows and saying no or yes (More often no) controlling the input into the next seasons shows almost as much as she controls every detail of the issue itself. Many of the staff are not willing to express a counter opinion (with one refusing to express an opinion at all in case it disagreed with her).

Interstingly the relationship with creative director and former model Grace Coddington (which is passively adversarial) is the true gem of this film. Two women with such different views and wasy of expressing themselves have had a begrudging evolving professional relationship for many years. Interstingly the mutual respect given almost grudgingly is glimpsed at the end of the film. Coddington is willing to openly challenge Wintour (and in her own way) use whatever means necessary to stay true to the artistic vision she presents (including the documentary crew).

The influence she weilds with designers (both established and new) and the insight she has is fascinating. All this is done with a level of detachment at all times - as shown by the amount she gives away (almost nothing) with the film crew and the staff.

Wintour comes across as the strategic visionary one step ahead of fashion or writing it herself (it is hard to tell. Coddington comes across as the artistic visionary with an eye for fascinating stunning shots. An amazing counterpoint.

An amazing film for its insight into a world most of us will never see. The rushing pieces set to music (of outfits and accessories moving around) were probably unnecessary but fun. I enjoyed this film.

I haven't had the chance to mention my own personal ticketing issues I had the pleasure of finding someone in my seat - the festival had sold mine, and my neighbours seats on Tuesday night (Which is interesting as we have subscriptions with the same seat to all the evening sessions!) . Luckily it has only been the once during the festival.

SFF Day 9: Visage/The Face

(I skipped Day 8 due to the craft show and family events)

Last night I skipped out on M&S's knitting group early to go see The Face. A commissioned film by the Louvre. I have been very lax with the research on the films this year and in all honesty if I had of done my research I would never have bothered to see this film.

The director made a film that stands to this day over 10 years later as one of my worst Film Festival Experience. A Thai film called The River - was met with such disdain that there was booing and (my favourite bit) someone yelled jump at the end of the movie when one of the lead characters was standing on a balcony.

The film read as interesting, fascinating even with great references and potentially beautiful homages. Unfortunately it was a frustrating meandering waffle (Try another w word if you are so inclided many of my subscription colleagues did). My own fault. Filled with unrestrained water flows (again!) , some beautiful inexplicable sequences in the snow, part of a dinner party for 17 (with only 3 guests) and funerals. And of course the girl taping up mirrors and windows.
The film maker introduced it as his dream - I could not take this journey - definitely not my cup of tea. If you enjoyed his earlier films more power to you.

We retired to the Swisotel to fortify ourselves for the doc following with a few beverages (it was a good idea).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stashing Soundtrack

After the Craft Fair sorting and photographing yarn I have been enjoying some early nineties alternative pop.

The sweet stylings of Mr Matthew Sweet

The melancholy of The Dambuilders (Sound only)

who also produced the amazing Teenage Loser Anthem.

My superhero Liz Phair

And Some Saturday morning Cartoon Greatest Hits crossed with 90's inddie music

Knitting Playdate, The Craft Fair and some other Yarn Additions

With my not working this week due to the film festival status I was able to partake in a knitting playdate with RoseRed, Knittingness, FredAstep and 1funkyknitwit. A joyous day spent knitting, chatting, laughing, drinking and caressing Ness' new yarn. This one (Wired For Fiber Olivia in Valour) called to me immediately (as did a 50g sport weight but I resisted). A huge amount of fun was had by me (by all really) and I will always curse being at work when they have their regular catch up.

Today I ventured out to the very crowded Sydney Craft Fair. It was a fruitful journey (see below)

In Summary

  • 6 sets of sore feet (my mum, my aunty and I - my mother in law skipped due to illness)
  • 2 skeins of Habu A148 Wool Stainless Steel in a Deep Purple
  • A bag of leftover Silk yarn from Kaalund Various Weights
  • A cone of leftover Silk from Kaalund Lace Weight
  • A Cone of leftover Wool from Kaalund Lace Weight
  • 2 skeins of Touch Lace Yarn in black and Purple
  • 1 skein of handpainted linen in Jungle freom Claudia's Hand Painted Yarns
  • 1 bead necklace and 1 dragonfly necklace

In the mail today I also got a skein of HandMaiden Casbah in Blue, Some Fyberspates scrumptions Lace (silk/merino) in Blackcurrant and some Melosa laceweight in Fantasy.

Can anyone say Stash Enhancement

SFF Day 7: Red Cliff

I lasted about forty minutes into this film.
John Woo introduced it (but wasn't having a Q&A after) very sweetly but essentially this is a film about big (really really big - if you are so inclined insert swear word here) armies fighting bloody but noble war.

Described by another subscriber departing as I did...a Boy's own adventure. It lacked the majesty of Hero.

For those who love the films of John Woo unfortunately I am not one.

SFF Day 7: Missing Water

Tonights offering was the moving and cleverly presented Missing Water. Having grown up with many whose families fled Vietnam in the late 70's and eighties this film bought back many many memories of the stories I had heard.

The film presents the entire journey of one group of refugees escaping from Vietnam in the 80's. It is intense, emotional and chaotic and intensely drawn out (as the journeys were). The 4 main actors who represent the fleeing sisters, a former university student turned fisherman and "uncle" are note perfect and always believable. the film feels like a shoot of a stage presentation (but that is fine as the emotion is true and sustained). A must see film.

What makes it even more intense is it is all presented within the walls of a sewing factory through the eyes of one who is remembering. The equipment and surrounds deteriorate as the film commences (just like the boats did)

Monday, June 8, 2009

SFF Day 6: Paper Soldier

This Russion offering set in the 60's jumps around so much that it is almost impossible to engage.
The film feels at times like they have filmed conversations at a party at random and then again in a workplace at random. Lots of elements appear (like the bath tub) that never seem to go anywhere.

A lot of walk outs. Including mine a little over halfway through the film.
I can tell you the lead characters wife wanted a baby, his girlfriend (in Kazaksthan) bought a bath tub (Never used it as far as we are aware). He had a headache and he was working on the Russion space mission.

Erratic Film.

I didn't stay for Liza with a Z as they live via satelite inverview was cancelled.

SFF Day 6: Prime Mover

David Caesar brings us this truckin' film reuniting Emily Barclay and Michael Dorman.

The first half of the film is well crafted with the right mix of reality and the surreal. Romantic ideals, and the lead characters passion to own his own truck carry you along in a whirlwind. William McInnes is brilliant as the truck-driving depot owner and Mendelshon is fanstastic as a fellow trucky. Barclay is completely convincing as the young girl in love who follows her man to a caravan park beyond the back of Bourke.

The film loses its way a little in the second half with the surreal parts overpowering and derailing the reality. The film careens to its inevitable ending, perhaps not elegantly, but satisfyingly nonetheless.

A film that was good (but perhaps could have been brilliant!)

SFF Day 6: The Missing Person

Michael Shannon is the buring light that drives this film through to it's conclusion. Utterly convincing as a gin-soaked Private Investigator formerly of New York now of Chicago he is unmissible in this film.

The supporting cast are given very little to do, but they do what they can with what they have. No-one is who they seem, nothing is what it seems. Reminiscient of 70's films in colour and movement this film is a Noir for the new era. The film opens with the phone call offering the PI money to do something relatively easy. As the film goes on the money becomes ridiculous and you continue to have confidence in Russow as the PI staying ahead of them (in spite of evidence to the contrary).

I loved this film!

Day 5 : Louise and Michel

The highlight of this film was the introduction by the film-makers funny, timely and well paced.

A French Comedy that could have been incredibly funny, but wasn't. A group of workers who arrive at their factory one day to find the management have absconded with everything. They vote to pool their union payouts to do something. Louise (an ex-criminal) suggests hiring a hitman to kill the boss and they all agree (inexplicably).

She hires an incompetent Security Guard to carry out the hit. The film then bumbles along with fits of incompetence violence and not much comedy at all.

Alas I left before the end...I think I laughed twice in just over an hour.

SFF Day 5: Last Ride

Filmed entirely in the Flinders Ranges this film covers some of the most breathtaking countryside in Australia. It is beautiful to watch the scenery unfortunately I can't say the same for the movie.

The film has a lot of the right ingredients an evolving story a talented cast and yet it leaves you emotionless. Tom Russell who plays Hugo Weaving's character's son chook evokes Greg Rowe from Storm Boy - often pearing out from below his overlong fringe a child who considers almost all his actions in fear of his fathers reaction.

The film follows a father and son on the run from place to place after a violent crime the father has committed. His explosive temper and moments of violence are episodic and come closer together as the film progresses. The crime and its circumstances are clumsily revealed in flashbacks.

The film didn't engage me (either in fear, foreboding or in the inevitability of the end). It had moments but was exhausting and repetitive. I felt quite detached and unimpressed at the end of the film.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SFF Day 4: 500 Days of Summer

Joseph Gordon Levitt (of Brick and 3rd Rock from the Sun) stars alongside Zooey Deschanel in this quirky hysterical Romantic- Comedy that manages to be a true Comedy film. Both the leads are dazzling with Gordon-Levitt making you believe every emotion his character experiences.

This film is funny and delightful as it takes a non-linear path through the romance between the two lead characters - Tom (a wanna be architect who is working writing greeting cards) and Summer who turns up as the personal assistant to the boss.

The use of weather, light and fantastic graphical sequences to create moods for each segment and move between time capsules works brilliantly as well as underlining the emotional pitch of the film. The retro-music soundtrack (and even the dance sequence) bring more soft and complementary layers to the film.

This film takes your heart and makes it laugh, cry and ache in pain whilst time-travelling backwards and forwards from the day they meet until the film comes to its incredibly uplifting slightly unpredictable ending.

A true delight. I want to watch this again. Light and fluffy with just the right depth and heart a perfect late Saturday night film.

Marc Webb is the director who comes from the land of Music videos and documentaries - one to watch! The two writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber are relative novices as well.
This film is even more amazing as a result.

SFF Day 4: Bronsan - My First Walk Out

The third film today was my first walkout. I lasted 40 minutes.
This film was perpetually violent with the majority of time split between prison and a mental institution. Small insights were never built on or followed through.

I realised the lead character (who got a 7 year sentence for robbery) found his alter-ego (Charlie Bronson) and his calling (being the most dangerous inmate in all Britain) early. I just didn't need it reinforced quite so much.

I just couldn't sit through any more. Not my cup of tea.

SFF Day 4: The Burning Season

A documentary of good quality this film follows an Australian entrepeneur of Chinese Korean descent who is committed to finding a viable economic answer to climate change whilst halting deforestation.

The film is surprising as the contact with Indonesian province Governers is impressive and offers significant insight. The coverage of the machinations behind the scenes at the Bali Climate Change Conference (and obviously only a part of these) is enough to make your head spin. You wonder how close it came to certain things not happening? The audience gets a chance to boo the Black hatted America delegation and then cheer them when they agree they won't challenge the language! The motivation of the young Australian and a number of others is utterly inspiring. You get caught up in whether the scheme is going to come together at all.

At the same time you get an insight into the impact the attempted ban on burning has on the small farmers and the orangutang population. The parts of the film dealing with the orangutangs is tear-jerking and the sheer numbers of the population that have been displaced is staggering.

Special mention must go to the graphic sequences - these are fantastic - both engaging and full of impact.

A good solid film with a great message it did lack the elements that bring an audience to it's feet.

SFF Day 4: Altiplano

First Up if anyone from the festival programming team happens to read this slow movies and 2:30 - 3:30 in the afternoon is nap inducing in a darkened cinema.

My first film today was the Belgium offering that connects a photo-journalist in Belgium (returned after a tragedy in Iraq) and a young bride in the Andes Altiplano region.
The film is part magic realism, part striking reality. Beautifully shot with long slow shots aplenty and a tale of multiple tragedies the film is engulfing (if a little hard to find the microsleeps). This is a film that is unlikely to get a commercial release, the true heart of a film-festival. The rituals and beliefs are played out as the isolated village surrounded by big corporate mines deals with an increasing amount of rapid onset unexplained blindness, illness and death.

The film does not follow a wholly traditional narrative path, but does have strong resolution.
This is a chance to see a culture that is not well known outside the Peruvian Andes...I was priveledged to experience this film.

Friday, June 5, 2009

SFF Day 3: In the Loop

Late last night I sat with anticipation, as a huge fan of UK Series The Thick of it, to watch In The Loop. I wated to love this film.

The film is satirical, well executed and truly laugh out loud funny. With ridiculous scenarios and Peter Capaldi sprouting a wave of insults and swearing as chief of spin for the UK Prime Minister. The film follows the lead up to invading Iraq, and it is perhaps this storyline, where the machinations of pro-war and con-war factions have been examined and post-mortemed by the public and the media, that results in this not being as fresh and fun as it could have been.

It does viciously satarise both the UK and the US political machines brilliantly with not a single redeemable character in site. It doesn't maintain it's pace in the last third and the arc finishes exactly like a TV Episode. That said there is much to love from Gandolfini's anti-war general. Tom Hollander channelling Yes Minister and Mimi Kennedy as the power-hungry, alienated Assistant Secretary of State.

If you haven't seen the TV series I suspect you would love this film. I just liked it.
(Find the dvd's!)

SFF Day 3: Disgrace

Last night the first offering was Disgrace made by the team that gave us La Spagnola. This is an incredibly faithful rendering of the novel by JM Coetzee. John Malkovich and Jessica Haines are fantastic in the lead roles of father and daughter respectively.

The film follows the life of a White University Professor in post-apartheid South Africa who retreats to the country farm of his daughter after being forced to resign after a scandalous affair with a student. The remainder of the film plays out the complexities of life in South Africa against the relationship with the farm hand (as representative of the shift in power between black and white in South Africa) who is now buying out part of farm. The film is beautifully, even magnificently, shot with every frame lovingly delivered. Malkovich is as always amazing in his portrayal of a flawed, layered human being, who struggles with his daughter's decisions after they are brutally attacked by a trio of black teenagers who rape her while he is powerless to stop them. The father and daughter almost seem to represent the old (now lost) white power in south africa the daughter representing the new, guilty-for-apartheid, struggling with their place white South Africa.

The film had the potential to be fabulous but remained compelling without being enthralling.
It is emotionally and visually stunning and yet some elusive piece is just beyond your reach.

The Q&A after advised that at the completion of script-writing the novelist provided some notes. This alongside an unwillingness (due equally to the powerful love for the book and the novelist sensibilities) to stray from the rendering of the novel may explain some of my percieved limitations.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

SFF Day 2 (Part 2): The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

The second session last night at the Sydney Film Festival was the quitely moving The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.

The film is filled with famous names (the grandaughter of Elia Kazan among them) and faces but is dominated by the incredibly delicate performance of Robin Wright Penn and the slightly heavier but equally captivating performance of Blake Lively in the title role (Wright Penn as the elder version and Lively as the younger version).

Wright Penn is able to brilliantly play off the self-absorbtion of her much older husband (played to perfection by Alan Arkin), the manic hysteria of Winona Ryders' friend and the stoic desperation of Reeves as the younger recently seperated son of neighbours from the retirement village her husband has moved them into.

During the course of the movie the layers of Pippa Lee are peeled back to unveil a woman who has spent her life being what others want of her and is strugling (Silently and mostly unaware) against her life slipping away. The film is absorbing and unexpected in the most part and whilst some of the moments don't ring completely true, they have enough echoes of truth to sustain you in the story. The ending whilst expected to an extent is satisfying.

This film again has me again questioning why Wright Penn (who became famous for a Soap Opera) is not more sought for her capability?

SFF Day 2: The Maid

My second foray into the festival was the Latin American offering The
Maid from Chile.

The lead actress deserves her best actress award from Sundance. She
took the largely unsympathetic part and made her performance
compelling. My ambivalent feelings about the film are probably due to
a deliberate decision by the director/ writer to hide the character of
both the maid and the family, almost showing her to us through the
eyes of the family.

I think that lack of personal insight into any of the characters and
their motivations made me feel a little distant. Watchable yes,
unmissable - no.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Modification Notes on the Diminishing Rib Cardi

If doing this again I would
* start the waist ribbing a couple of rows higher (not too many)
* cast on the neck with 2 needle sizes smaller
* add a few less stitches on the front panels at the top and increase between the neck and the chest a handful more times to compensate.

And I will be doing this again.

Double Your Pleasure Sock Swap - Package Arrives

Nothing like an envelope full of peppermint tea!
Loving the sock yarn - now I have to decide what to make with it.
I pair for my partner and I keep the other yarn....decisions decisions. No hints here!
2 x50g balls of Kaffe Fasset Landscape Striping by the look.
1x100g ball of Moda Vera Noir in Merlot.

P.S for those that are wondering I did go back and buy more perfect buttons for the new cardi.
Sewing will have to wait until I am home in daylight.

SFF Day 1: Looking For Eric

The pre-film settling took ages (always does when there is a red carpet). The pre-film speeches took longer. Notable mentions Claire (festival director) wore orange and pink (and looked great) and NSW Film and Television is being renamed Screen NSW.

Now to the important part - the film

The film opening knocks you to attention and then succeeds in wrenching your heart (to near tears) all before the opening credits. Yes, I am watching a Ken Loach film! The film follows a down on his luck Postman (Eric) who is trying to live with two (very ungrateful) teenage sons. His daughter's need for a baby sitter brings him into contact with the ex-wife he abandoned years ago.

Loach creates real, flawed characters who you can actually feel for then introduces Eric Cantona as an Imaginary friend, figment of Eric's mind who coaches him through his current life woes, in equal parts consoling, cajoling and confronting. The film is both emotional and incredibly funny. Many moments of spontaneous pure laugh absurdity and reality ensue.

Cantona's charisma is palpable and Steve Evets brilliantly renders the lead character. Whilst the film asks you to suspend your disbelief you happily follow along as this ride is emotional and thoroughly enjoyable.

For the football fans there is enough footage of Cantona's greatness (and the odd recitation), for the non-football fans the film has delights aplenty.

A fantastic start to the festival.

Opening night at the film festival

So here I am at the Swisotel waiting for 7pm when they will let us in
to the State Theatre for the Opening Night Film.

Now I remember why I avoid this it is a bit of a scene and entering
from the non-celebrity end of the red carpet has you coralled into a
squeezy bit of the entrance so you feel a bit like cattle.

I am really looking forward to the film though. Ken Loach - should be
worth it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Cardigan Pre-Buttons (Not with the iPhone!)

Worn to work today so i could pick out buttons...I can't wait to put them on.

The neck is a little big but will wear nicely with the buttons.