Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June Busy Blogfest

So we come to the last day of June and the end of the June Busy Blogfest.

My achievements
30 films (including On the Waterfront at the Art Gallery of NSW tonight)
Knitting - not quite finished Hoodie - 2 pattern repeats left 1 before decreases.
Spinning - 2 50g skeins laceweight + 3/4 bobbin

One New Film Club #12StepFC - whose first official meeting was at the AGNSW tonight - Free Films)
A group of film lovers from the Sydney Film Festival who connected via Twitter.

More passion for my blogging
More passion for film
A love of my knitting
A conviction that socks are the best Film Festival Knitting projects!
Much anticipation for the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show.

I hope you have enjoyed June and I think you can expect more regular blogging from me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Instant Knitting

With the onset of really cold weather in Sydney comes the lusting for warm knitted items.

Hats, flip top fingerless mittens a vest and can I just finish the hoodie already!

Want to knit them and be wearing them already. Has anyone invented instant knitting?

Monday, June 28, 2010


Can you believe I still haven't finished the Hoodie.
Why not?

My hands have been distracted by work (typing) and spinning (awesome for thinking).
My head has been distracted by work.
We have a rather impressive presentation to do tomorrow (which may be followed by a heap of work over the next month). Lots of thinking, lots of writing, lots of thinking, lots of re-writing. The odd rehearsal.

So I still have about 10 inches of knitting to complete. I am hoping before Thursday night.
Thinking of distractions I was reminded of the song by Gangajang and distracted myself by trying to find it (unsuccessfully) on You Tube

I leave you with the most recognisable of their tunes Sounds of Then (Most of you will call this "This is Australia").


Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Picture A Picture...Costumes, Yarn and That Hoodie

Susie Hoodie onto the Hood. Hopefully today.

Last installment in Black Japan Club Silken Thread in Samurai Sword (plus hand-made glass button)

Lastly - that costume.
So the check hand sewn black and white strips.
All the gold edges were sewn on
He did a good job.

Late Blogging - I've been Knitting

In amongst the standard weekend activities watching the AFL (Go Pies!), shopping, procrastinating about cleaning, minimal cleaning, I have been knitting.

I have just gotten to the hood of the Susie hoodie which means just fifteen and half inches on 111 stitches. I am definitely on the downhill stretch. Hopefully all ready for grafting and blocking tomorrow.

Spinning: 10 hours 2.5 Bobbins (2 skeins of single Merino and half a bobbin of Optim)
Knitting: Total 515 Rows (i had to do the math) Measurement 2x 17 inch arms 1 x 32 inches of body.
Films: 29

I did rewatch American Graffiti and Do The Right thing on Foxtel today. I love both these movies for different reasons. American Graffiti has great music, great styling and does a wonderful job of capturing that last night before going to college life-changing events. It also has a great cast (many of whom have done amazing things since- Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfus, Harrison Ford). Do The Right Thing was the first Spike Lee "Joint" I watched. I saw this originally in the 89-90 Summer release in Australia. The eighties clothes are spot on for the colours and styles popular at the time. The build up of racial tensions in the course of a long hot summer day is as tense and enthralling on subsequent watchings. Danny Aiello and John Turturro are fantastic as the father and son running the pizza parlour.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Power of Social Networking

Life takes some interesting turns.

During the Sydney Film Festival I had heaps of fun following a number of instant reviews and general commentary on Twitter. I was lucky enough to find some articulate, funny and intelligent reviewers who happily shared their thoughts and began to interact and respond to each other over the festival.

With the interaction continued as a result of the abrupt closure of the Palace Academy Twin Cinema.. It has now evolved in to a spin-off film club of sorts with some meet-ups planned for the next few weeks. I am really looking forward to it.

Alas - I am unable to make the first meeting which is a farewell to the Academy Twin.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New PM - Julia Gillard

Today a massive change occured in Australian Politics.

In case you haven't heard (and I am sure you have) Julia Gillard is the new Australian Prime Minister. Our first ever female PM and only the second time a prime minister has been replaced through party room machinations in office.

It has been met with much positive response (especially from women - even those from the other side of politics) it has also been met with a lot of negative response - a little sad.

My feelings are like many others absolutely delighted, incredibly optimistic but also a little pessimistic. There are the nay-sayers because she is a woman, nay-sayers because she wasn't elected (Well she was by her electorate just like Kevin was!) nay-sayers as she is unmarried.

And of course she has to manage the factional politics of the Australian Labour Party - think shark-infested waters criss-crossed with balance beams and razor wire and you might be about two-thirds of the way there.

She is a consumate politician and she really does seem to have Tony Abbott's number (and regularly runs rings around him in question time) whilst maintaing a joking and friendly demeanour.

We live in interesting times.
Congratulations Julia!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup Sleep Deprivation

I don't know about anyone else but I haven't planned to watch any of the games (including the Australian ones). I have gotten into the habit of waking early and watching about half a game I have also been staying up for the first night games and going to bed just before or around half-time. Last night this meant not very much sleep at all. I am not sure I can sustain that for very long especially if I want to be able to back up for the Tour at all. How is everyone else going.

So, apparently we didn't get a photo of the costume before it went out this morning. Running late. The performance is Friday so hopefully I will be able to source a photo of the costume in use. Sometimes getting it done is more important than capturing it (Right).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sometimes the Strangest Things Take over Our Lives

Those that have seen me in person know that we have been in costume creation mode in our house recently. O has a dance concert for school and is playing the Queen from Alice in Wonderland. This means a new costume. The picture provided by the parent acting as dance teacher was suitably over the top.

What you may not know is I am not the costume maker in this house T is. T's idea of construction is much more erratic and unplanned than mine and where I will sew things properly but compromise on the features. He will not compromise on the features but will improv techniques to complete things.

What we have is endless lengths of second hand red satin, white satin, gold and black satin. New braid, 2 patterns, 2 tulle skirts, some assorted extra tulle, ribbons (hand made from the satin and some stretchy gold lycra). Hand sewn black and white stretch checked material (to match the photo). Oh and a lot of red sequin material (now cut into hearts and strips). A mix of overlocking, sewing and hand-sewing techniques have been employed.

After a partially complete outfit has been used for the first dress rehearsal he has managed to add many finishing touches and now the final trims and hemming.

Much sleep has been lost and many threads have followed me on my journeys inside and outside the house. Our dining room come sewing space has been totally consumed.

Tomorrow it gets sent on it's final journey. Good luck on your journey.

Stats - Update tomorrow

Note I have finished the sleeves and joined in the body for Susie Hoodie.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eco-Warrior Fail!

In recent years the number of magazines available for online subscriptions has increased. This allows you to page through a magazine (just like a catalogue) instead of a printed version.

It has a number of advantages over the printed version
  • Instantly available on publishing
  • Never losing a copy
  • Always available
  • Never deteriorating.
Anyway - I am a tech-savy knitter I thought I would like this. So last year I subscribed to The Knitter as a digital subscription. I love my iphone. My laptop (Purple!) is almost constantly by my side at home. I work in IT, i subscribe to mailing lists and online forums. This is so my way to do things! Right!....

Wrong - I spend almost no time reading the magazine. I rarely if ever go back to an issue later. I use it as a pattern resource and miss out on the editorial content. I use Ravelry to remind me what patterns I have copies of. Overall I do not get the enjoyment I get out of the printed versions.

As such I must admit I am an eco-warrier failure. Printed magazines are one of my true guilty pleasures and I am sorry digital versions (even the Ipad enabled content) you are not for me!

For me It has some disadvantages
  • No matter how good the screen on your laptop is it is hard to flip through the magazine with a cuppa or a cold-one in your backyard in the sun.
  • If your internet is down your mag is not available
  • Online technology (ipad/iphone) is not as quick as you would like to load the titles you subscribe to into new delivery formats (You knitting freak you!)
  • You need to print the pattern pages to knit from them (Not as convenient as carrying a magazine)
  • May be lost if the magazine changes digital providers.
Anyone else tried out digital subscriptions.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


This weekend has been a series of communal gatherings for a variety of reasons. All relaxed in their own way.

Friday night started with a relatively quiet farewell drinks for a colleague. It was a time to relax, chat and laugh with work colleagues.

Saturday bought a "It's Not a Baby Shower" afternoon tea for a friend who is about to have a baby. We sat in the afternoon Sun and enjoyed good company, great chatting and some awesome food. Mostly homemade - the scones and Honey and Cinnamon yoghurt were an absolute hit. We might have had some tea and champagne.

Sunday afternoon and I spent it with some wonderful knitting friends Fee, LynS, 1FunkyKnitwit, Knittingness, AuntyToots and RoseRed. Everyone contributed to the food (we had a fair bit left) and again some Sparkling and Tea were consumed. It was a relaxing afternoon and RoseRed's little man joined us (And mainly slept and fed) much chat and knitting and just good relaxed company. The aftermath of our feast is shown below. I managed to get a heap of knitting in and am 2/3rds of my way through the visit to Sleeveland for the Susie Hoodie.

This evening I wandered up to the local bowling club where a Brass based band was playing. The cored of the band includes the Schools Band Teacher and the Parent Co-ordinator and they had invited all the kids who play brass at school to perform with them for a few songs. The kids and their brothers and sisters were running wild on the green (It's a very relaxed bowlo) with soccer (football) and afl matches in progress simultaneously. The parents were enjoying a drink and waiting for some food whilst listening to the band play.

It was nice to have such a variety of activity this weekend that was just really really relaxed. Normally four events would have me running around like the proverbial chook with my head cut off.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Update on The Save The Academy Twin

Yesterday I posted about the impending closure of the Palace's Academy Twin Cinema due to a failure to resolve a rental dispute. There has been much immediate response from the film-watching community within.

The Academy was a highly used cinema during my university days with some of my first forays into art/independent cinema. Also notably towards the end of the 90's for the Sydney Film Festival Presentation of Smoke Signals a not very important film but one I really enjoyed. It hosts many of the small festivals within Sydney.

There has been much media advancement and I do ask that if you are interested and feel even strongly about this you take the time to have a read here Dark Habits blog and here DVD Bits Blog and do what you can to protest and follow @scotthenderson on twitter for updates. Also using the #saveacademytwin #hash-tag.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sydney's Film Landscape is Changing Again

If you haven't heard due to an inability to come to an agreement on a new rental arrangement to compensate for funding of the renovations the Academy Twin (A Palace Cinema) will be closing this month.

Many will say so what - Palace has 2 other cinemas in the Oxford Street stretch the Verona and the Chauvel - surely this is enough. The major sadness will come from the need for Palace to alter there currently diverse scheduling that works so well across the three cinemas to compensate. This has to mean a few less films will be shown - be that the independent new releases or (my true horror) a reduction in the mini-festivals/events and cinemateque offering at the chauvel.

I know with the introduction of video and DVD more films are consumed at home - but to see a classic film in a cinema with an audience without the distraction of domestic responsibility is an experience to be treasured.

Palace and Dendy continue to spearhead diversity in films available even though the major multiplexes carry a small arthouse offering.

With the closure of the academy twin my film-going expeirence will definitely be the poorer both directly and indirectly

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bright Light on Grey Rainy Day

Pink Smooshy on a Rainy Day

Care Packages

So my busy June continues and as always when you are busy the unexpected happens for me that means my MIL is in hospital. She is recovered enough to be bored and would like a care project package. Some socks for her younger grand-daughter (not to small needles) was the order.

Eek Yarn, Needles, Pattern search ...go

So I have come up with Little Guys from Knit Socks (Up a needle size to fit her feet) without the fuzzy stuff.
Some Needlefood Yarn or Arucania (Ice Blues or Purple)
Needles and a Project Bag to send in

June Busy Blogfest Stats Continue
Spinning: 10 hours and another half bobbin (Optim this time)
Knitting: 120 rows (measurement body 50cm sleeve 6 of 10 increases)
Films: 29

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Return to Usual Programming

Alas my fairytale-like experience at the Film Festival is over for another year and life returns to normal. As with any return from a break in routine initial days have a feeling of flatness and dislocation.

Work, peak-hour commutes and cold mornings are now every day events. Sleep patterns that have been optimised for Film Festival viewing need to be modified with slightly earlier wake ups.

I have taken advantage of the late-night awakeness last night to do some spinning. Pulling out 440gms of Optim to spin up in (Surprise) a mix of purples. Alas with no natural light a photo is near impossible - hopefully soon.

On the knitting front I have been able to get a lot of the sleeve done on the Susie Hoodie last night between dinner and family discussions. Again the colour is a deep dark purple and photos mid week early morning are proving pretty much awful.

I have also started to flirt with what I am signing up for for the Tour De France knitalong for a big project or WIPS. One obsession gets replaced wtih another.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sydney Film Festival - Complete

Yesterday bought my Film Festival Experience for 2010 to a hold

Overall Stats

Spinning: 8 hours, 2 bobbins, 100g/700+m laceweight singles
Knitting: 148 rows, Body complete to Sleeves, 1st Sleeve cuff only
Films: 29

Howl, I am Love, Winter's Bone, Home By Christmas, The Runaways, Boy, The Ghost Writer,

White Material, Wasted On The Young, Hesher

Hope you have enjoyed reading as much as i've enjoyed watching and writing.
Until next year!

Sydney Film Festival Day 13 Hesher

Hesher came to Sydney straight from Sundance. Turns out the print shown at Sundance was unfinished and the director only finished editing it 21 hours before showing yesterday.

The film opens with young TJ (arm in a cast) on a bike chasing a tow-truck through suburban streets. Hooking you straight away. Hesher becomes a film about loss. TJ's family are barely living and definitely not functioning. A senseless act of TJ's causes Hesher's current squat to be exposed and he decides to move in with the family. Starting off by terrorising TJ, Hesher who is an outsider and loner influences the family and how they are dealing with their greif at losing their mother/wife.

I would love to tell you this film was touching, quriky and illuminating. Unfortunately much of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance is chaotic for effect rather than character and a scene where he runs young teenager TJ over when he won't get in the van is apalling.

The films one good scene where TJ's obsession with re-possessing the family car and his reliving of the accident that killed his mother is interrupted by a real life and terrifying event is magic. Unfortunately the rest of the film does not live up. Some laughter in pockets but the film is chaotic in search of a cohesive message.

Sydney Film Festival Day 13 Review Prince of Tears

Prince of Tears takes a true story of Taiwan's White Terror period in the fifties and puts it to film in a stunning and gloriously rendered way. At times feeling like a technicolor film with the colour and the style, the film is beautifully constructed. Even the brutality (in very short bursts), necessary to the story is handled with a soft-touch.

Telling the story of an airforce pilot's young family with two daughters and how they are torn apart as first the father and then the mother a ceased for treason and communism offenses. The two daughters are left to be cared for by others. Friendships emerge and The White Terror continues to have an impact beyond the immediate family.

A lovely piece of cinema.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sydney Film Festival 2010 Award

Heartbeats the French Canadian film from early in the festival has
taken the prize

Wasted on the Young and How I Ended This Summer recieved honorable

Film Festival Fibre 100g Lace Weight Singles

Sydney Film Festival Moments 2010

Well into the second week and I thought I would share a few more highlights (or lowlights)

Absolute Highlight Last night's Q&A with Ewan McGregor who was funny, humble and insightful. Brilliantly entertaining.

Lowlights - Q&A and Intro from Chris Morris funny but overly self-indulgent (and with some rudeness thrown in)

Highlight - Clare Stewart's more accesible and audience friendly intro's this year.

Lowlight - The lack of bring you to your feet with applause films this year

Highlight - Home By Christmas - calling extended family members and the actors for intros and Q&A's added great depth to the experience (an already personal and compelling film)

Highlight - improved music choices to match the films (Well done)

Sydney Film Festival Day 13 Preview

Today the Sydney Film Festival draws to a close and my festival experience is rounded out with 2 last films.

This is the first year since I have been going (15 years not including a missed festival due to other commitments) that the June long weekend sees the end of the festival as opposed to the middle.

Today's films are festival jurist Yonfan's Prince of Tears and Spencer Susser's Hesher (Which was swapped with Creation). I am probably not totally disapointed that Creation (Starring Paul Bethany) was swapped with Hesher (starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as Gordon-Levitt has been involved in some festival gems in the recent past (Brick and 500 Days of Summer).

Spinning: No further
Knitting: not an additonal stitch since yesterday
Films: 27

Sydney Film Festival Day 12 Review The Ghost Writer

Directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGreggor in the title role this film was highly anticipated.

Telling the story of a Ghost Writer who steps in to complete the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister after the first writer is found dead on a beach. He steps into their world of intrigue family and international politics. As he starts to investigate what happened to the previous writer things become more and more disturbing.

A relatively conventional thriller done gorgeously Polanski and Hitchcock style with deliberate shots and brilliant visual construction, the suspense is built from the beginning. Every actor delivers great value (regardless of the size of the role) and it was totally gripping. Old-fashioned yes but great fun and wondefully rendered.

The book was released right after Tony Blair stepped down and the familiarity between the Prime Minister in this book and Blair are not surprising.

For me the film lived up to expectactions - I just loved every minute. I was engaged and entertained.

Sydney Film Festival Day 12 Review Wasted On The Young

Wasted on the young follows what appears to be a familiar story - well off private school kids with lots of cash, super invulnerability and no supervision (Even at school?) throw a party and things get out of control.

The aftermath of rumour, revenge and violence is played out over the remainder of the film. Sometimes imagined, sometimes real. The use of technology by these kids is cleverly embedded without being jarring or taking you out of the story.

Some great ideas and I think all of them made it to film - chaotic and overdone I really just wanted one ending not the seven we got. The director has great potential and future offerings should be watched with anticipation.

Sydney Film Festival Day 12 Review Home By Christmas

An original mix of documentary blended with Biopic this film is an absolute gem. Before he passed Gaylene Preston's father told the story of his war experience to her in a series of recorded interviews. Bought to life by actor Tony Barry these interviews are reproduced and peppered with a mix of archival footage and dramatised scenes. Cut between these is flashbacks of her mother's life at home.

The overall effect is an absolutely engaging piece of cinema bringing to life the tradition of oral history. It gives you a true insight into the relationship between father and daughter at every step where he adds messages to her and (implies) edits to the story.

Magical and true to the character of these people a wholy entralling piece of cinema.

Sydney Film Festival Day 12 Review How I Ended This Summer

Slow moving Russian Cinema set on an Arctic Island Weather Station light on character but full of intent. This film was a delight but a struggle to stay awake for (I blame it on being mid-afternoon in a dark warm theatre).

The weather station is manned by a veteran and a new-tech newcomer. Lacking in dialouge and character depth but full of fear and desperation. The film follows them through what appears ordinary events until some news from home sends their relationship into a tailspin.
The fim explores what are we driven to by fear and survival instincts.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 12 Preview

Breathing it is now the second last day of the film festival - definitely the home stretch today with 4 films.

Second last in the official competiton but first up today is How I Ended This Summer comes to us from Russia via an award-winning stint in Berlin. Hopefully a mesmerising experience.

Following this we have New Zealand offering Home for Christmas is an inventive and personal story for director Gaylene Preston.

The evening stint brings us into the final official competition entry Wasted on the Young (I really want to like an Australian film this year).

Last up is the highly anticipated Roman Polanski offering The Ghost Writer featuring Ewan McGreggor - who is putting in a red-carpet performance.

My Stats
Spinning - no additonal spinning the finely spun laceweight singles are drying.
Knitting: 88 rows (measurement body 50cm sleeve cuff in progress)
Films: 23

Sydney Film Festival Day 11 Review Cyrus

Cyrus has divorced John C Reilly and single-mum Marisa Tomei exploring a new relationship as her son Cyrus (played by Jonah Hill) attempts to sabotage it. Played for quiet emotional moments rather than large-scale comedy the film is moments of hit and miss.

Catherine Keener is fabulous as the ex-wife and Tomei is wonderful as the mother coming to terms with her overly isolated relationship with her son. Reilly and Hill struggle to emerge above their intense comedic backgrounds and play truly straight. The lack of clear direction and a decision on slapstick versus drama leave Cyrus hanging.

Watchable with some high-points but failing to really gel and take it over the top.

On a side note it is great to see Keener on film - always a delight I would love to see more films utilisng her talents.

Sydney film Festival Day 11 Review Four Lions

Four Lions had lots of potential a crack comedy team directing and writing. The darkly fruitful and untapped mindfield of terrorism for black comedy gold.

The film starts out by introducing us to the cell four muslims living in London. They are one smart committed man (with a kind of reasonable approach to real life) a radical and two guys that could be led anywhere. The film makes the mistake of making them incredibly incompetent and leaves itself very few places to go.

The film has a few moments of great sketch comedy joined together by ordinary dialogue and pointless characterisations. Great one-liners floating in nothing.

This film really thought it was funnier than it actually was. Sadly, a disapointment for a work in progress over 5 years. The Q&A and intro were better than the film - unfortunately a rather ugly moment where director Chris Morris was quite rude to festival Director Clare Stewart marred a reasonably enjoyable if a little self-indulgent (on Morris' part) discussion.

Sydney Film Festival Day 11 Review White Material

White Material is the story of a French Colonist family who have an established coffee plantation in an un-named African country. The story is set against the political and civil upheaval of the withdrawal of the French Army. As gangs of young armed kids (rebels) wreak havoc across the land and the formal army hunts them down daily life changes. Each of the family members deals with the crisis in their own way - going mad, complete denial and attempts to negotiate a way out.

Continuous radio messages provide cryptic clues to what is going on, The complex family relationships and social upheaval offer little that is new or insightful.

Honestly, I am struggling to write a review for this film as there was nothing to get engrossed by or emotionally engaged with - essentially it was annoying, poorly shot and the characters were driven by nothing rational or deeply emotional and no hint of survival instinct. Overall pretty crap really.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 11 Preview

Today is a big day Knitting Guild, WWKIP (World Wide Knit In Public Day) and Day 11 of the Sydney Film Festival. Crazily I am going to try to make it all. (I said it was big).

I am skipping Me Too to be at the WWKIP event in Sydney. So my film festival will start today with White Material by Claire Denis is set in Africa (like her previous films Chocolat and Beau Travail) and if it is even a patch on either of those will be a great film-going experience.

This evening brings on Chris Morris' controversial Four Lions a comedy about a sensitive topic - terrorism. Morris has been speaking lots about this film on radio and TV - not surprisingly this is a sellout. (I have spare seat Knitting buddies if you want to join me!)

The final film tonight brings on Cyrus dubbed an awkward comedy. We are in need of another comedy.

Apologies I didn't manage to get the preview happening yesterday as I had a bit of a family day happening.

Updating the Vital Statistics
Spinning: 8 hours 2 full bobbins - left as singles washed and drying
Knitting: 68 rows 57cm measurement
Films: 20

Sydney Film Festival Day 10 Review I am Love

Last night I went to see Italian Cinema at its finest. Director Luca Guadagnino manages to distill many Influences into a delightful, engaging, visually sumptous and heart-breaking film.

This film, due to Tilda Swinton's presence in the lead character of Emma is a force of nature a slow building storm that builds the tension until it breaks brilliantly. Hypnotic from the opening scenes as the evolution of a family empire in Textiles in Milan plays out it is juxtaposed with the reawakening of Emma (mother, wife, Russian turned Italian) triggered by her son bringing home his new friend chef Antonio.

The supporting characters are subtle, passionate and real to build the life around Emma.
Swinton is magnificent in the lead role believable at every point. The Italian landscape, cityscape and countryside is the other star of this film.

Love, Lust, Food and Family are feast for the senses and the soul. A truly wonderful film.

Sydney Film Festival Day 10 Review The Killer Inside Me

This film has gotten a significant amount of publicity for the graphic violence within and the press is not understated or overstated in this case. I am not a fan of violent films but can tolerate bursts but not necessarily continous streams. This film fell into the former category so I managed to last through it.

The opening sequences are full of amazing graphics and great music and set you up for a strange experience. This film is a tad fragmented. Beautifully shot and some great emotive thoughts rushing through the head sequences it follows the smallish-town cop Lou Reed - brilliantly rendered by Casey Affleck - whose encounter with a prostitute operating on the outskirts of town switches a trigger and unlocks a part of him long buried and unleashes the darkness within.

The camera work, lighting and graphics in this film are flawless and if you can stomach the violence the Noir like rendering of this film is amazing. Most of the characters (Simon Baker's persistent cop for example) are not so well-drawn and are there for the part they play in progressing the plot only.

Director Michael Winterbottom's films have been continously evolving. I can't wait to see what he doesn next. Before I forget to mention it - Both Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson were perfectly pitched in this film.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 9 Review - Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone is a very different film out of the US. Showing a side of life in the US Ozarks that one rarely sees.

In an isolated community 17 year old Ree is left to care for her sick mother and younger brother and sister. When it looks like her father is not going to show for his court date the family house is in danger. Ree sets out to find her father opposition is found at every point from friends, the law and her family.

The close knit, inwardly facing community does not share information willingly or happily. In spite of the dangers she continues on intent on finding her father and saving the house. All the while this shows insight into the life she and those around her lead living hand to mouth.

A beautifully shot film it shows the start beauty of the landscape as well as it's menacing qualities. Stark, cold and difficult sums up the life and the land in the Ozarks. Engaging, slow-moving and heart-breaking sums up the film.

Sydney Film Festival Day 9 Review - Women Without Men

This film has provoked much thought. Deliberatly allegorical and magical it had it's confusions.
Slow-moving and at times requiring leaps of faith it was incredibly engaging and haunting.

Now over 12 hours later it is still haunting my thoughts. The films 4 key female protagonists are very different women from different classes and wanting different things. The Wife of a Army Officer who just wants out of her life and marriage (Whose first love has just returned from the west). The sister of a devout religious man who is enthralled by the political turmoil when all he wants is to marry her off. Her friend a devout religous woman who is quietly in love with her friends brother and visits often even though he is promised to another. The final woman is one outside society a prostitute.

3 of them are drawn together at the orchard purchased by the wife of the army officer while the other escapes her oppresive brother the only way she knows how and becomes involved in the Communist movement trying to protect the Government of the Day from offshore interests. As Iran descends into turmoil the relationship of the 3 women at the orchardevolves into a supportive one.

Without revealing the heartbreak you witness sacrifice, heartbreak, compromise and transformative strength to keep fighting. At least that is how I read it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 9 Preview

Well over the halfway point with a huge weekend of film (and knitting) coming up.

Today's films offer a diverse range of cinema.

First up from the Sounds on Screen program Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould a music documentary a mix of archive footage and interviews has the ability to be illuminating.

Second up this evening is the Iranian offerning Women without Men it captures the summer of 1953. Iranian films are always a treat at the festival.

Finally is Winter's Bone winner of the Grand Jury prize at Sundance and what looks set to be a great thriller.

On the Spinning and Knitting front I have been mildly successful.
A few rows short of the sleeves for the Susie Hoodie I am rapidly realising it is not (well the body at least) festival friendly knitting. I should have a pair of socks on the go! I will persist with the Hoodie as I am hoping it will be ready for Bendigo.

Spinning was a treat this morning with around a half a bobbin filled.

My stats

Spinning: 6 hours 1.5 bobbins
Knitting: 54 rows 51cm measurement
Films: 16

Sydney Film Festival Day 8 Review The Runaways

I will admit I have a huge soft spot for music biopics done well. In recent years Sounds on Screen has been a regular stream or pathway at the Sydney Film Festival and has produced some of my absolute favourite moments. The Runaways was highly anticipated for both it's subject matter and it's potential soundtrack (with so much great music to choose from). This was shared by many of the audience goers - again an energy filled the cinema as people came to be entertained.

The film is essentially a coming of age story that shows the formation and rise of all girl rock band The Runaways through to the departure of Cherie Curry.

The film's intention is to be true to the chaos of their formation and the music itself. Following the girls on tour across america the themes of sex, drugs and rock and roll are explored. The squalor of their cross-america tour is contrasted with the fandom and insanity of the Japanese tour. Musically and emotionally the girls start out as fans wanting to be cool and be Bowie and Suzi Quatro and evolving into a driving musical force with the usual conflicts of teenagers.

There is a wry humour throughout with the early moments of teenagers trying to be cool prividing inherent truth, agonising pain, and endless hilarity. The careful selection of the seventies fashions and makeups totally transports you to the mid-seventies where music was everything.

At times shambolic but always entertaining the dedication of Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart and Michael Shannon to their characters brings this film to life. Shannon is brilliantly sleazy, confrontational and exploitative as Record Producer Ken Fowley. Fanning displays why she will be acting force to be reckoned with whilst Stewart shows glimpses of Bella but eventually captures Joan Jett.

I loved this film in spite of its flaws and the soundtrack is carefully selected using a myriad of The Runaways, Suzi Quatro and Joan Jett pieces carefully interspersed with the Sex Pistols and David Bowie among others to recreate the seventies rock feel.

I dare you to go to this film and not come out singing "ch ch ch ch ch ch ch Cherry Bomb" or one of the myriad of other musical gems on offer. Soundtrack plus great entertainment!

It would have been nice to have a more detailed follow up on all the members of the group not just Joan and Cherie and producer Kim.

drk also joined me for this one hopefully she will share her persepective.

Film Festival Day 8 Review Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

This film's recent win of the Palme d'Or attracted a big audience who settled in quietly to watch the film.

The pre-credits section of the film have an escaped buffalo being recaptured. Following the credits it moves to a car trip into the hills. Uncle Boonmee is returning home to his farm.
Suffering from kidney disease he requires regular care. His sister-in law and a nephew have returned to care for him.

As he waits to die his lost family members return - his dead wife and his son who disappeared years ago very much altered. This transition into another world is easily made and at this stage the film is completely mesmerising. It continues to be so throughout. A few moments jolt you out of this mesmerising experience firstly an exploration of a past life where a princess meets and engages with a catfish in a pond (A truly memorable if disturbing piece of cinema), a flash forward into a future life and the almost tacked on ending.

A film that had the potential to be unbelievably briliant that descended into confusion, screwing with your mind and a half-attempt at political statement.

The film is beautifully shot with most scenes lovingly crafted, some flaws but worth watching. Thought provoking

drk joined me last night so it will be interesting to see her thoughts.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WWKIP - World Wide Knit in Public Day

This Saturday a number of events are being hosted for World Wide Knit in Public Day.
I will be attending the Sydney one in the Rocks organised by Sally between the Inner City Guild Meeting and Film Festival events.

There are some competitons and prizes on offer including a basket of goodies from Mosmon Needlecraft, a range of other suppliers including one of my favourites Knitabulous.

Yarn Magazine have provided sponsorship and Canvas Tote Bags will be available at $7 as a result.

Details of the competitions and materials needed for one of them here

Hope to see you there.

Sydney Film Festival Day 8 Preview

Today I am joined by the lovely drk for the film festival offerings.

First up is the Palme d'or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives which looks like it could be totally magical. Followed by The Runaways the story of the all girl group that produced Cherry Bomb and gave us Joan Jett.

Before this I am forgoing the usual preparation of knitting and spinning to assist in the unpacking for friends who are moving house.

Spinning: 4 hours 1 Bobbin

Knitting: 54 Rows 49cm measurement

Films: 14

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 7 - Rest Day

Today I have succumbed to a mild dose of the Festival Sniffles. A week or so spend in dark theatres with airconditioning hot/cold and ducking in and out of the rain/warm weather we have had last week and it is almost inevitable.

There is always a cast of snifflers/sneezers and coughers at the festival and they are unbelievably annoying. I am feeling mildly crap so thought a day of rest would be a good idea. The thought of some knitting and spinning time is worth staying home for too.

I have spent the morning spinning up a storm, whilst washing and drinking tea. I am about to settle in for a bit of knitting and some dodgy TV.

Spinning: 3.5 hours 3/4 of a bobbin
Knitting: 42 rows 41cm
Films: 12

Sydney Film Festival Day 6 Review Exit Through The Gift Shop

Exit Through the Gift shop was the first film to sell out both sessions at the festival. It has a lot of word-of-mouth following and the audience for the film was signficantly younger than that for the previous film (Lola). The Festival had changed the intro music and the pre-film noise in the theatre was completely different. The energy level as this film started was amazing.

On one level the film is a simple and entertaining documentary made by one street artist on a film-maker turned artist. On another level it explores the legitimacy of Street Art and what (and who) has integrity and what doesn't.

The film is successful as it educates (or indoctrinates depending on your view point) as it entertains. Incredibly entertaining it is only in the closing portion of the film it illuminates the evolution of the relationship between artist turned film-maker Banksy and film-maker turned artist Theiry aka Mr Brainwash.

Theiry spent 7 years filming the often illegal activities of the underground Street Art movement. Banksy, who is incredibly secretive, was his holy grail, the one artist he could not get access to. A refusal of entry into LA for Banksy's companion became Theiry's lucky break and after helping Banksy out with LA locations they become fast friends. Theiry gets access to Banksy's highly secretive circle and films througout.

As Street Art transitions to high-art and the valuable exhibitions and collective circuit the Street Artists tell Theiry now is the time to expose what it is really about. Theiry's long promised film fails to hit the mark and Banksy decides to take a chance and do it himself - Exit Through The Gift Shop is the result.

At what point does art become valuable? and at what point does art, produced in commercial quantities, lose it's value?
When is volume of output about creating an impact and when is it about making money?
These questions are flirted with in the film but left to the audience to formulate themselves and answer if they want.

The editing is spot-on and Rhys Ifans voiceover is perfectly pitched. An absolutely enjoyable film that can be taken lightly or left for you to ask and debate questions endlessly.

Sydney Film Festival Day 6 - Review Lola

Lola felt like a documentary. Stepping into the lives of these two families headed by grandmothers and following them through the period following the death of one grandson at the hands of another.

The film follows through the every day decisions, emotions and frustrations of these families as they deal with grief and the justice system in the Phillipines. It also highlights the compromises one makes in order to survive and protect ones family.

The film is slowly paced, intense and compelling drawing you into the desperation of both these women as they try to keep their familes together and meet their commitments.
The ongoing financial negotations are an insight into the survival mechanisms in place with loans, appeals and requests for assistance. The finances are needed both to cover the funeral (for one family) and to negotiate a settlement and remove her child from the justice system (for the other).

Brillante Mendoza's intro and Q&A show a passionate film-maker who has every intention of showing the world the people of his Phillipines.

A truly unique film.

LynS was also at this film - so it will be good to see her perspective

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 6 Preview

Tonight I have only 2 films which has allowed me a day to rest, spin and knit as well as avoid some chores.

First up is Lola from award winning director Brillante Mendoza. Second up is the second sold out screening of Exit Through the Gift Shop which has had a huge amount of press and a lot of excitement. It will be great to catch them both with a festival audience.

Spinning Update: 2 hours to produce half a bobbin.
Knitting Update: 42 rows measurement 41cm
Films: 12

Spinning Around

Sydney Film Festival Day 5 Review Moloch Tropical

Moloch Tropical was presented as a satire, I am still in search of the satire. A wholy serious presentation of the corruption and pressure of power this film suffered from the expectations set.

As the security of his power erodes the Haitian president slowly and irrevocably unravels. As protests and complaints increase the attempts to maintain normality in the palace become more prevalent. Anger and irrationality are not uncommon and the more low down the pecking order you are the less control you have of your destiny.

The film was well presented and at times well acted but lacked a crucial reality. I never really got away from this being an elaborate play more like a roman tragedy. Disjointed and lacking in satire this film was jarring. The audience response was muted.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5 Review Boy

Boy is set in 1984 and follows the story of Boy who lives with his gran, his younger brother (who thinks he has super-powers), his pet goat and some of his cousins.

Boy is 11 and lives in a world of imagining all the brilliance of his absent father, a desire to be as amazing as Michael Jackson and unrequited love for his schoolmate Chardonay. His school mates have names including Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon's Crest. Boy is left in charge of his young family for a few days when his gran heads off to a funeral.

Into his fantasy world steps his long-absent father who is in search of his hidden "treasure" - money he stashed years before. The film follows the point where his imagination of his father and his reality crash. Filled with overlapping realities and imaginations this film is delightful and heartbreaking at the same time. Awesomely pitched performances from the entire cast including the director Taika Cohen as Alamein (Boy's father) a wanna be gang leader make this a truly enjoyable film.

Make sure you stay all the way through the credits.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5 Review Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

This film provides you with an insight into a fiesty, smart, funny and incredibly hard-working woman. Rivers is even more confronting off TV than on. She lives her life her way and the glimpses you get into her insecurities and deep emotions are few but illuminating (this comes over as how she is with her close family and friends). Her level of persistence knows no bounds with a drive to still be relevant, performing and back on top at the heart of all her activity.

Scars from her life run deep (e.g the black-listing by NBC after she went to Fox to do her own show) and these glimpses are enough to give you insight into the things that drive her. An amazingly frank documentary where her desire to earn money and maintain her lifestyle is openly stated and sighted as the reason for various performances.

My favourite scene involved her with her daughter - a typical mother/daughter moment of disconnection. We all have them.

At the end she had me laughing from start to finish and it made me feel like I got to know what makes her tick. Was there significant insights - no (but I think that is how her generation ticks). Were there insights - hell yes. I really loved this film as it was what it was and was entertaining to boot.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Film Festival Day 5 Preview

Today's film festival program has 4 films starting mid afternoon.

First up is Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work a behind the scenes documentary that claims her on screen persona is the toned down version. Should be fun.

Second Up is the Sold out Australain Premiere of New Zealand film Boy. Filled with eighties references this looks like it could be brilliant.

Moloch Tropical is a French Haitian film that looks like it could be an interesting outing

Last up is the Australian Film The Waiting City. Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton star. There has been lots of publicity so lets hope it lives up.

On the non-film progress the knitting has been slow and the spinning well see below.

Spinning Progress: none (but my spinning space is clean and ready)
Knitting Progress: 38 rows in total measurement 40cm
Festival Films: 9

Film Festival Moments

I have had some great Film Festival moments in the last few days. The little things that happen, the twitter comments from other festival-goers that have cracked me up.

My favourites are
  • the person on Twitter who ran into Lou Reed in Sydney and then realised that he had written a song about "Candy Darling" the topic of the film they were seeing later the same day.
  • again from Twitter the person who came out of Kawasaki's Rose last night and still wanted to know what Kawasaki's Rose is (There is a character in the film called Kawasaki who is a painter who paints flowers).
  • On the second day the shared session between day and evening subscribers required a complete empty of the theatre and sending people out into the rain to walk back in through the front entrance. This has now resulted in just emptying out into the foyer to re-enter the theatre - good work.
  • Apparently Subscribers are desired festival goers. One of my long time subscriber friends who didn't re-subscribe on time got a phone call from the office to ask why. It was informed and helfpul.
  • The use of the rope in the foyer during change over sessions. They have worked out they need to let people pick up the coffees that they order (The first time they set it up you could order and pay for the coffee but not get to the pick up point).
  • The return of the free Sydney Morning Heralds. Awesome work.
  • Q&A's the first Q&A I stayed for included the traditional incomprehensible question disguised as a rambling incoherent editorial. Some people should not be handed a microphone.
  • The woman behind us who insisted on telling her colleague that it was Charlote Rampling in Life During Wartime, when they responded with "who" she repeated it, then again and again. Generally if they don't know who she is the first time you tell them in a cinema just stop there.
For those wondering I did not make it to La Danse yesterday too much to do at home. The general concensus was good but too long. Definitely too long.

Sydney Film Festival Day 4 Review Kawasaki's Rose

Jan Hrebejk's films tackle the critical moments of Czech history with sensitivity and humour. Kawasaki's rose is not as funny as his earlier films but has enough humour to lighten it.

It follows the story of a celebrated doctor (soon to be awarded the major National award) for his dedication to the cause during the dark days of the Communist Regime whose validity is called into question. The beauty of this film is it is about the way this impacts within the family relationships as opposed to the media. The discovery is found by the son-in-laws colleagues in the media but the fall-out is to the wife, the daughter and the grand-daughter. Well crafted and extending into an escaped former boyfriend of the wife (now in Sweden) and his artist friends.

This well-crafted story deals with that line between evil acts and pure evil, about the idealistic version of oneself and the actual truth about the compromises one makes and how looking at those things through the eyes of history the expectaction is for black and white and not grey. Great acting and good editing keep this film on track. A truly wondeful film-festival experience.

Sydney Film Festival Day 4 Review The Tree

This French-Australian collaboration came about due to a mutual interest by the Producer and Director in the book it is based on. Shot in Boonah Qld the landscape and the tree are just as important as the human cast in this film.

The film follows a family through it's grief process when the father unexpectedly is lost. The film is not overly sentimental but plays out slowly with just enough nuance to see how each member deals with their grief in isolation. The daughter finds solace in the arms of the huge tree in the yard, being able to communicate with her father and eventually this is shared with her mother.

This film is gorgeously shot with a loving eye to detail. The cast (especially the kids) are fantastic and convincing, real kids that interact in totally realistic ways. The editing is spot on. A truly wonderful film-going experience.

Sydney Film Festival Day 4 Review Cairo Time

This slow moving film follows an American woman waiting for her UN husband in Cairo who spends time with his former Security expert. There is chemistry between the two leads, but the space they occupy is so unrealistic and Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig are generally unrealistic.

The characters are quite wishy-washy and the film exists in some dream-world version of Cairo. Too much of this film asked me to suspend my disbelief that she was uninformed enough (As the wife of a UN worker?) to wander the streets of Cairo initially by herself in short sleeves and knee length skirts, of near see-through dresses. They manage to catch a train (that is empty) to a wedding and wander off to see the pyramids in an evening dress and carrying her high heels.

The one moment when it starts to get a little bit realistic when she tries to catch a bus to Gaza and is removed leaving a young female student behind goes nowhere meaniful. She starts to wonder what happens to the young girl and after delivering the letter to a carpet factory full of young women is told it is not her problem (and lets it go).

This film was a major let down.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 4 Preview

Today's festival offering opens with a 159minute documentary La Danse. I had been thinking about giving it a miss in the interests of pacing myself but think I might be able to make it.

Cairo Time, The Tree and Kawasaki's Rose Round out today's offerings.
Kawasaki's Rose I am sure will be brilliant as it is from a director I love

My other activities have been limited with not a single row of knitting since I posted yesterday

Spinning Progress: none
Knitting Progress: 32 rows in total measurement 37cm
Festival Films: 6

Sydney Film Festival Day 3 Review - Red Hill

Red Hill is playing in the Freak Me Out stream of the film festival and freak me out it did.

Let me start by saying that generally I am not a fan of the thriller/realistic horror film. I find excessive bloodshed and violence turns my stomach just a little. I do however love a western (Which tends to be more about honour than violence).

Red Hill sees Ryan Kwantan as Constable Shane Cooper step outside his Soap Opera background as a young cop who is forced to move from the city as a protective measure for his pregnant wife. They move to sleepy Red Hill.

The film follows Cooper on his first day as a country copper that rapidly escalates out of control with an escaped criminal intent on returning home to Red Hill to complete some unfinished business. The way the remainder of this plays out is fraught with tension, some staged Western moments and an increasing amount of bloodshed.

The film has some great successes but is jarring in it's switch between thriller and western (Using music and the odd physical moment to introduce the western theme) knocking you out of the immersion in the film. Kwantan's mix of fear and bravado is well portrayed and Bisley as the "I am the law in this town" inspector is full of bravado.

A film that will terrify you Red Hill is worth a watch, but doesn't quite to be truly original and falls short of it's genre bending ambitiouns.

Sydney Film Festival Day 3 Review - Life During Wartime

Todd Solondz' films have a way of polarising audiences. Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness, Storytelling and Palindromes all have as many fans as they have detractors.

I personally find some of his work brilliant and some unpleasant. Happiness was well and truly in the latter category with very few of the characters having what are often called redeeming features. I approached the screening of Life During Wartime last night with an open mind. The cast featured some unbelievable actresses and this alone made me hopeful.

The film itself follows predominately 2 of the three sisters from the first film and looks at their ability to heal, forgive and embrace living. Humour is found in the darkest of moments (sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't). Shirley Henderson, as Joy, is truly magnificent - believable and sympathetic in every engagement with her family and her long dead ex-boyfriend. Allison Janney, as Trish, is perfectly pitched as the mother trying to raise her 3 kids and get out from under the shadow of her ex-husbands crimes. Her decisions and the choices she makes including what to tell and what not to tell her growing son are always influenced by the events that went before.

Underpinning the entire film is a cast fighting to move on with life. Ally Sheedy (As the third sister) has an almost jarring moment when Shirley Henderson's Joy comes to visit and Charlote Rampling has a star turn as a woman trying to find a way to survive divorce. Both of these pieces are strong but distract from the overall cental story of the film. Cirian Hinds performance is haunting, but lacking in significant insight, as the father released from prison concerned about his impact on his now college age son.

Perhaps I just wanted more from this film, the same insight into the peripheral characters as you had to Joy and Trish perhaps.

Overall my assessment is brilliant in parts, but with some essential missing ingredients.

LynS also saw this so drop by her blog for her opinion.

Sydney Film Festival Day 3 Review - Lourdes

Yesterday I escaped the torrential Sydney rain into The State Theatre for Lourdes. The audience appeared to be subscriber heavy (Included in their ticket price) with few additional ticket holders in my vicinity. There was not much expectation for this film.

The film itself follows a wheelchair bound young woman on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. The film focuses on the almost ritualistic events the tour-groups particiapte in and also the desire everyone has to find a miracle. It's assessment of religion is secondary to the almost absent minded "tourist" activities" and the absolute desire to witness or be part of a miracle, even in the absence of true religious feeling.

The film meandered along a relatively predictable course but remained low-key throughout. I didn't find this film engaging or entertaining. Neither did I find it repulsive or offensive (even including the religious content). It wasn't much of anything really - not much to say, a few things happened. All I can say is NEXT.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 3 Preview

Today I have 3 more films as part of the Subscription

First up is Lourdes from Austria offering religion and suspense. Not too sure about this one (This is the magic of a subscription - you get films you would not pick yourself)

Second up is the highly anticipated Life During Wartime directed by the always controversial Todd Solondz with a superb cast (Allison Janney, Charlote Rampling, Shirley Henderson and Ally Sheedy) I am hoping I will enjoy this. As I was not overly impressed with the Prequel Happiness this may be wishful thinking.

Lastly is Red Hill described as a genre twisting film - cop thriller meets western. This Australian offering has a cop with a pregnant wife moving into a small town.

The weather is pouring down a storm so what better place to be than inside the State Theatre watching some quality films.

Spinning Progress: none
Knitting Progress: 32 rows in total measurement 37cm
Festival Films: 3

Sydney Film Festival Day 2 Review - Howl

Howl is one of those films that is the reason I go to the Film Festival each year.
Knowing that most films will be a mix of good and bad. Every now and again a film will transport me. Last night I was lucky enough to have that experience at the State Theatre watching Howl.

A film that could have been a standard biopic or re-enactment is a fully engrossing journey that can only occur through film.

Two elements set this apart.

The recitation of Howl in front of an audience of the characters that Franco (as Ginsberg) gives throughout the film and the magical animation of Howl that is truly the heart of it.

These elements perfectly timed between the re-enactments of the trial and the interview with Ginsberg to weave a magical engaging story that is really the story of the power of the Poem itself that has taken on a life of its own.

Howl is a magnificent piece of art worth seeking out.

Sydney Film Festival Day 2 Review - Heartbeats

Heartbeats is the second film from Xavier Dolan, who also wrote the screenplay and stars in the film.

Dolan is undoubtedly talented and the film has moments of pure genius (both in the dialogue and the visuals). Some scenes, however, are too drawn out and over played. The film is complimented by a fantastic soundtrack, saturated colours, stunning outdoor shots and costumes to die for. It owes much to Truffaut's Jules et Jim for it's successes.

The film follows two friends Francis and Marie who both become infatuated with newcomer Nicolas. Their obsession plays out over the course of the movie. Unfortunately whilst Francis' (played by Dolan) character evolves a little, the same opportunity is not given to either Marie or Nicolas. The film can be very charming engaging you in the moments of interaction and anticipation, but a lack of editing (both in script and film) lets it fall short of really engulfing you.

Dolan is a talent to watch and the film is definitely worth a look, but is not the magical celebration of young unrequited love it could be.

Sydney Film Festival Day 2 Review - Lebanon

Lebanon was the deserved winner of the 2009 Golden Lion at Venice.

After a short pre-credits opener. The opening credits roll and shortly after you are inside a tank. A new crew member joins and you see the crew suspicious and aprehensive.

The film follows the crew on a mission where they join an infantry Group. The commander provides them with limited instructions and not much else.

The power of the film is that you are always inside the tank, with the limited vision, overwhelming sound and constant movement whilst a war goes on outside. Almost at every point the crew has little knowledge of the activity outside the tank.

It is the escalating uncertainty and the terror of the crew, palpable throughout, that has you on the edge of your seat.

Whilst some of the events that unfold are predicatable the film is a fantastic portrayal of the confusion, fear and determination in war.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pre First Film Pot of Tea

Sydney Film Festival Day 2 Preview

Today my Festival experience starts in earnest.

I have 3 films planned for today with a close to 11:00pm finish.
Lebanon was the Winner of the the Golden Lion at The Venice Film Festival in 2009. Filmed entirely from inside the tank it looks like it will be an intense start to the festival.

Heartbeats could be either fascinating or frustrating the film of two twenty somethings whose friendship is rocked when they both fall for the same guy. A story of competing unrequited love.

Howl is the story of the 1957 trail of the publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL.

Reviews will follow screenings

Spinning Progress: none
Knitting Progress: 17 rows in totalmeasurement 31cm
Festival Films: 0 (yet)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sydney Film Festival Day 1

Today the Sydney Film Festival kicks off with the opening night screening of South Solitary this evening. It will be red-carpets, flash-bulbs and lots of mingling. Until relatively recently this was the only event like this in the festival. Then closing night crept in and became a bit of a party affair and more recently the competition has introduced a series of red-carpet events across the festival.

These are undoubtedly fantastic for the festival and have increased the attendance and general awareness. They are awkward for film-goers with the already narrow entry for the State Theatre shrunk by 2 thirds and often the footpath from Pitt Street to the theatre reserved for Red Carpet arrivals. There is no alternative entry used (Like the laneway and the entry to the side of the foyer perhaps!) and all the punters have to herd themselves down to the George Street end of market street and in through a narrow section barely 2 people wide with traffic heading in 2 directions. If people are trying to meet up (often using the kiosk as a meeting spot) it creates a hell of a traffic jam. Over recent years I have moved the meeting place for my range of companions and utlised that fabulous invention, the Mobile Telephone, to co-ordinate meetings.

In case you are wondering I am not attending the opening night event.

Whilst the excitement of seeing these films with a festival audience is a draw it is not enough to entice me into opening night.

The film festival proper starts for me tomorrow evening with Lebanon followed by Heartbeats and Howl (I think Howl will be my pick of the night).

Today with grand plans of spinning, knitting and cooking I achieved very little. I type this well-rested and on the way to my stash being lighter (i did manage a small destash and some washing).

I ducked out with my MIL around lunch time to check out acoffeeandayarn on King Street Newtown. They have a small but lovely range of yarn and fantastic coffee by Coffee Alchemy (I miss her coffee shop from 2003! but that is another story). I tried the Lamb Shank Pie and it was tasty with lovely pastry. Well worth a visit.

Of course one cannot visit King Street south without stopping at The Button Shop, BeeHive Gallery and the myriad of other shops. Well I can't anyway. I managed to not purchase anything (not even any Japanese fabric).

Progress Update
Spinning Progress: none
Knitting Progress: 2 rows (so far) measurement 24cm
Festival Films: 0