Monday, August 20, 2012

monday melbourne roundup - miff edition

I feel like I have bone cancer. Halp.

Overall GREAT MIFF. Crowd control, session management and projection were all perfect. Vollys were fricken fabulous and the crowd was the best behaved I've ever experienced! (no hot food, barely any coughing, no one took a phone call, no distractions AMAZING).

This was a flawless festival. The only complaints I have are (out of MIFF's control) lack of recycling facilities at the venues. And no featured female directors (within MIFF's control). Which I think is a glaring oversight. I cant think of a female director who has been featured or part of a retrospective (in the last 5 years). We have to work HARDER to raise women's profiles in the arts. So please next year (and every year) feature a female director!  

I will add their dedication to accessibility screenings this year was extremely admirable. I understand that for such a large festival there is so much ground to cover and for me to only have that one complaint is an absolute miracle. Michelle you are phenomenal. xx

Next week I'll rate my festy picks. 


14. The Artist is Present - Marina Abramovic

My most anticipated film at the festival and it paid off so much more than I expected. I have a deep deep love and obsession with Marina she is one of my favourite artists. I was ridiculously obsessed with this exhibition at the time but this documentary covers so much more. Its not just an intimate insight into Marina and her art but also a really touching documentary about a woman moving into the final third of her life and reflecting on her past. People were *sobbing* in the session I went to. I haven't been touched like this in a long time, I cried so much I couldn't go to my next session. 4.5/5  

15. Farewell, My Queen

Ahh. Heaving chest, powdered wigs, the delicate and obsessive love of women. This was ok, it was very very beautiful to look at. Recreated the period very well. It was too long though (as usual). 3/5  

16. Beyond

This is kind of like the Swedish version of Nil by Mouth. Noomi Rapace is such a mega babe. But ultimately this alcoholics are bad mkay family dramedy was too slow, long and a bit boring for me. I didn't really care about any of them. That and the projection was AWFUL it was like watching the film through a snowstorm. 2.5/5  

17. God Bless America

S.C.A.T.H.I.N.G. I love Bobcats movies - filled with such horror and humanity (and horror at humanity). Fantastic gender politics in this film too. It was HILARIOUS, I really loved it and it kicked off a great ending weekend of the fest for me. 3.5/5  

18. First Position

Little baby ballerinas (and some teens) competing in the worst largest and most prestigious ballet competition. This was described as like Spellbound but with ballet and I would agree. It's just as good. These little kids were so so wonderful. I've seen quite a bit of ballet and I'd never seen dancing like it. The form and expression of youth, the passion and the lack of a fully formed ego made these kids move like other worldly creatures. Though their bodies aren't as developed as the adult dancers I've seen their freedom of movement made me weep. Its documentaries like these that make me realise what a gift to the world the arts is and makes me angry that we spend so much money on sport when children could be doing things like this. 4/5  

19. Ruby Sparks
I Really liked this. It's a neat little allegory about how (particularly my generation) are never satisfied. That he creates the perfect woman for himself but manages to fuck it up. About how controlling and manipulative we can in relationships. That we feel our happiness should be served to us on a platter and that we dont deserve anything at all. Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano are just such a gorgeous couple. I liked it. 3/5  

20. 100 Bloody Acres
Can't find a trailer.

I went in with low expectations and I REALLY LOVED THIS. It was fricken hilarious and gross but not in that gorno way. Almost Peter Jackson in it's horror/comedy combination. Tight story line and has all those elements of awesome Australian film, outback murderers, incest, slim dusty, english backpackers that cop it. 3.5/5

 21. Into the Abyss

Werner Herzog and Errol Morris are life long friends (when Herzog ate his hat it's because of a bet he made with Morris back in the 70's). I havent seen enough Herzog to say this definitively but this feels like a homage to Morris. In any event Herzog is such a humanist I couldnt imagine anyone else doing this documentary to the same level of respect and dignity he did. I was crying within the first 5 minutes, Herzog has the extraordinary ability to get right to the heart of a feeling and a person. To disarm them completely but also make them feel very safe and cared for. This isn't only about this death row case its also a very very emotional exploration of the death penalty. It's completely gut wrenching and wonderful. I feel safer and happier living in a world with Werner Herzog (and Errol Morris) 4/5  

22. Modern Romance

This is a cheat because I downloaded it and watched it at home (after seeing peoples reviews float in from Twitter). I hardly ever go to the retrospectives, well films I can easily watch at home as I have a projector and don't want to wasted valuable MIFF time. And I agree with Twitter this is the most neurotic romantic comedy I've EVER SEEN. It was also a trip seeing all the different technology in it. 3/5

 and if that all wasn't enough I saw two plays this week.

Helicopter - MTC

This was one of the worst productions I've ever seen.  I make the distinction because if you took the straight dialogue and put it into a subtle production it would have been neutral (neither offensive nor inoffensive) but this production was as subtle is one of those screaming EVERYTHING MUST GO ads.

Everything was so over the top it was like a really really bad soap opera combined with Dave Eggers and panto. The music was too loud, too dramatic, the actors (especially the father) were constantly mugging for the audience (seriously). The laundry list of everything that is bad in the world was so bombastically crammed into every millimetre of this place it just made me hate everyone. The writers, the actors, the directors and particularly the characters. I spent the entire play in vague hope that the family would eventually kill themselves in a suicide daisy chain.

It was like the love child of a first year sociology students mountain writing retreat. It was the first time I'd even genuinely felt like heckling the actors.

The Misconception of Oedipus

After a 3 MIFF films my brain wasnt at a place where I could enjoy this properly. The dialogue was incredibly verbose and it took every fibre of my being to partially comprehend what it was all about. I loved the staging but found the whole production a little too 'mixed media'. It is ambitious and very interesting, I liked it. I would only recommend it for people who go to the theatre a lot though.

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