Saturday, September 24, 2005

AFI-ing (1)

We're spending a sizeable chunk of the next few weeks watching Australian films to vote for the AFI Awards. There were four screenings today, and we've got three tomorrow... They're screening in Canberra at the War Memorial Telstra Theatre, which is very intimate and comfy.

First up today was Look Both Ways, which I just loved. I stillhave my copy of Sarah Watt's short animation Small Treasures on video, which is a superb piece about loss and grief. I loved her transition to live action, while keeping enough animation to make the film hum along on a number of levels. It's in cinemas now, if you've been under a rock.

Next we saw Dreams for Life. BB commented before we went in that it was only 75 minutes long, and we thought that was probably a good thing, considering the amount of celluloid we'd be sitting through this weekend. Honestly, if it had been even a minute longer I would have screamed out of sheer frustration. I felt every second of those 75 minutes. This is the most annoying 'artistic' film I have ever seen. I've got one word for you, readers, and that word is WALLOW. Avoid this film like the plague. It really showcased how excellent Look Both Ways is.

Last night we saw a pre-release screening of The Magician, a mockumentary about a Melbourne hitman. It was pitched to us last night as "the first film to be funded by Centrelink". Apparently Scott Ryan saved up $3000 of his Centrelink payments to make the film, then was turned down for funding, so made a short film out of it which then attracted funding from the Victorian Film Commission to re-edit and make a feature film. This film is terrific. It's confronting, but very funny. It comes across very plausibly, but I thought the outtakes during the final credits spoiled the integrity of the documentary feel. Imagine Spinal Tap with outtakes. There are so many peple who think that band is real because it looks real. I think Scott Ryan should have done the same. I also can't believe the Australian Film Commission can fund guff like Dreams for Life and pass over a script like this. Go and see this when it releases. It's worth it.

There were two more screenings this afternoon which BB went to but I missed because I don't like putting myself through gratuitous terror, no matter what the occasion. So BB saw Lost Things, which he thought was pretty ordinary, and Wolf Creek, another pre-release screening which he and others walked out on because (in his words) it was too much like a snuff movie.

Tomorrow we're watching Oyster Farmer, The Illustrated Family Doctor and The Widower.

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