Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sydney Film Festival Day 2 Mabo

The second festival film is the World Premiere of Mabo. The director, cast & crew in the audience, also a fairly large contingent of the Mabo family including wife Bonita.

The film is delayed while they get the sold out audience in to the cinema. Many seats were vacant with many of my fellow subscribers opting to head home and catch the
film on tv this Sunday night.

The film itself is brilliant Deborah Mailman and Jimi Bani play Bonita and Eddie respectively. The film is about the relationship between the two over the course of their life together and the way their lives were intertwined with the two landmark cases fought in Queensland and the Federal High Court.

Bani and Mailman are mesmerising and the use of archival news footage is used to maximum advantage. A film that successfully and deliberately makes the public personal. Emotionally charged and so well executed. It was a privilege to see it under these circumstances.

The films end was greeted by a lengthy standing ovation - possibly more for the woman (Bonita) and the absent man (Eddie) than for the film. Possibly - it would be difficult to separate the experience of film itself from the screening with dignitaries that enhanced the emotional charge.

The experience of watching Bonita Mabo wipe tears from her eyes as she stood on the stage complimented and thanked the team - thanking me - when addressing Mailman was moving. She discussed sitting down with the writer Sue Smith and sharing the stories the laughter and the tears - this is the strength of the film it is at its core about two people, not saints, a passion for standing up for what one believes in and a passion for each other that endured.

Perkins the talented and driven director was humble claiming messenger status but this work is excellent and deserves wider viewing. 4.5/5

Sydney Film Fest: Day 2 Caesar Must Die

My first festival film and one that seems to have produced a variety of responses.

The film is part scripted part documentary (you don't know which parts). It follows an acting troupe staging Julius Caesar, the twist they are from a maximum security prison in Italy.

Opening with segments from the actual stage performance that shows the capability of the cast we are transport sped back to the announcement.

From there we follow the cast through auditions, rehearsals, staging and costumes. Te strength is the play is reproduced throughout. Some scenes cleverly using the geography and architecture of the prison to enhance the drama.

The cast are excellent and the film brews with restrained physicality throughout as if something could happen at any opportunity. The lid of personal insight into the prisoners is lifted only for a moment and rapidly slammed back on by the other cast members. This allows you to glimpse their passion for theatre above other grievances.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film it was totally compelling 3.5/5.

Criticism from others included the lack of insight into the personal for the prisoners, which I felt was a strength. It wouldn't be a festival without divided opinion!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's That Time Again - Sydney Film Festival

Wow it's been quiet here hasn't it.

I think I am struggling to come to terms with being pregnant and the demands it has on your time. I have just over 2 weeks of work left and I am also about to embark on the last pre-baby Sydney Film Festival.

My schedule is obviously a tad reduced from normal.

I am not taking any time off work - so no extra films
I am generally exhausted at the end of a standard working week so I will be skipping a few more than normal of the subscription films to keep myself up.

The Plan at present is to see

Ceaser Must Die
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Moonrise Kingdom
On The road
I, Anna
(Skipping Amour here - I know but it's on late Sunday night and I am just not going to make it)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
A Simple Life
Marley (Hope I can hang in there for this another late night)
(Skipping a couple of days including  The King of Pigs, Polisse, Today & Barbara)
Dead Europe
THe Loneliest Planet
Neighbouring Sounds
Wuthering Heights
Monsier Lazhar
The Angel's Share
(Then alas skipping the final day due to a baby-related class - and Missing Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 & Part 2)

A total of 19 films a paltry effort by my normal standards but one I think i might be able to achieve.

I will try to keep up my regular blogging schedule - but will see how I go.
Excited about the Film Festival as usual!