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DEAD MAN WALKING

INTRODUCTION

TROLL HUNTER

WELCOME READERS, TO THE 2011 SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL. JOSH WHEATLEY TAKES A LOOK AT THE 57TH PROGRAMME. Transporting movie lovers from the rain soaked pavement to the celluloid dream world, the Sydney Film Festival returns with a stellar line-up of the best in contemporary cinema. One of the longest running film festivals in the world, its 57th season features several world

and Australian premieres, along with the freshest picks from the Cannes Film Festival — enough to get any cineaste salivating in the aisles. Over the last few years, the Official Competition has grown into the centrepiece of the ceremonies, with twelve hotly anticipated films battling for the prestigious Sydney Film Prize. Awarded to the most “audacious, cutting-edge, and courageous” film, works including Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or winning The Tree Of Life, Miranda July’s The Future, and Tran Anh Hung’s Norwegian Wood are pitted against the locally produced Sleeping Beauty and Toomelah. Encompassing a spectrum of cultures, languages and experience, the Official

Competition amply demonstrates the power of cinema as a storytelling medium. For patrons looking to wade into the depths of world cinema, the festival has several pathways to help discover the gem you’re looking for. Have adenaline pump in your veins with Miike Takashi’s 13 Assassins, or face the driver’s seat on an F1 with Senna. Devour slices of life with Boxing Gym, How To Start Your Own Country, and the globe spanning YouTube experiment Life In A Day. For the midnight movie crowd you can earn your chills with Hobo With A Shotgun, Mutant Girls Squad, and The Troll Hunter. Alongside strands for the green minded, for children, and for the romantic, the Sydney Film Festival has a wide range of films that will reignite your passion for the magic of motion pictures. With red carpets, gala events, and filmmaker forums, the Sydney Film Festival opens the cinema up to the city. This year features TV episode marathons (This Is England ’86, Dreileben), a retrospective of 1950s melodrama master Douglas Sirk, and a tribute to the work of Jafar Panahi and Mouhammad Rasoulof. Along with the famed Dendy Awards and short film screenings, the Sydney Film Festival ensures that there is something for everybody, and it’s something to get very excited about! So sit back, throw some popcorn into your mouth and be swept away at 24 frames a second, for two weeks of movie bliss.

LIZ GIUFFRE TALKS TO TEX PERKINS AND FILMMAKER JANINE HOSKING ABOUT THE CHAD MORGAN PORTRAIT THEY’VE WORKED ON TOGETHER, I’M NOT DEAD YET. I’m Not Dead Yet is the story of Chad Morgan, a country music legend who many of us city folk only know a little about, but who by rites should be legend like Slim Dusty, Smokey Dawson, and the Chambers clan. But with Morgan, forget polite ditties about pubs with no beer; instead there’re stories about murder, nutters, and the odd dog call. It makes sense that this indescribable, but well-loved local treasure should have his story told, and also narrated by the equally adored (and uncategorisible) Tex Perkins. “I did have Chad’s Greatest Hits for many years...I think I was probably about 14 or 15 when I first heard him on radio — a late night DJ in Brisbane put a Chad Morgan CD on,” begins Perkins by way of explanation. “I didn’t think about him again for a few years, then I actually supported him in 1988; [fellow Beast of Bourbon] Spencer Jones and myself, we were doing a little duo set, and we were very fortunate to support Chad at the Labor Club in Surry Hills. “So yeah, Chad’s been a cult figure for a very long time, and I’m really glad to be involved in this documentary. Even though I’ve known of him for a

long time, but not much about him.” Perkins got involved in I’m Not Dead Yet after director Janine Hosking saw his work in the Johnny Cash show The Man In Black, and initially approached him because of his careful respect from a musicians point of view. “We wanted someone with a connection,” Hosking says, “which is why we didn’t want an actor; I always wanted a musician to do it, but they also had to have enough darkness to them as well, because Chad’s had a pretty wild life.” As the project developed, however, and stories of their former lives converging were unearthed, Tex and Chad were reunited on film as part of the doco, something that will not only satisfy cross-genre and cross-generational trainspotters, but also proves that despite Morgan’s age, he still commands much respect. “To get the two musos talking was great,” continues Hosking, and indeed, the mind boggles as to what war stories of the Oz music circuit the two may have between them. Backstage at the Surry Hills Labor Club circa 1988 aside, has reconnecting with Morgan

via the doco made Perkins think about his own longevity?

which I think is something that is quite prevalent within Western society,” he says. “I like to think of Hanna existing outside of gender, really. She’s more a homo sapien creature than anything else. But I also wanted to look quite angelic; I like the fact she seems as if she’s not of this earth.”

“I didn’t want to hand all that over to anyone,” he says. “I really wanted to experiment with it, see what I could do, test my craftsmanship. I think I was interested in the rhythm of the piece. And also discovering how elliptical you could be with action was something I found very exciting. You don’t have to cover every single move — to jump between moves is actually thrilling, and it helps create an illusionary aspect in the character of Hanna. “It was quite playful to play with the parameters of action filmmaking. I thought of it as dance. You have to remember that I’m not some huge action-film aficionado. I probably haven’t seen enough of them, so I was kind of making it up as I went along. It was very liberating.”

“I’d be happy to make 59 [in the music industry] — well, actually 49, really. No, I don’t see it happening, but I wouldn’t say no, I won’t be knocking myself off…” says Perkins, laughing. As for the possibility of a revival of Morgan’s work via the doco, Hoskings is optimistic. “I would love to see a bit of a revival because I think what is actually happening, and it’s unrelated to the documentary, there seems to be a momentum building for Chad. He won the Golden Guitar awards last year, where he got a standing ovation from the country music industry, so I think they’re recognising his iconic status, his work in the pioneering days of the genre. And that’s helped quite a lot by having someone like Tex say, ‘you know, I listen to Chad to’, giving him that respect.” WHAT: I’m Not Dead Yet WHERE & WHEN: Event Cinemas George St Tuesday 14 June, 8:30pm

ANGELIC ASSASSIN AFTER MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF THROUGH PERIOD DRAMAS PRIDE & PREJUDICE AND ATONEMENT, JOE WRIGHT TAKES ON THE ACTION GENRE WITH HANNA. GUY DAVIS TALKS TO THE BRITISH DIRECTOR. I swear, I wasn’t trying to insult Joe Wright, the acclaimed director of Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, when I referred to his films as “cucumber sandwich movies”. Fortunately, Wright found the term rather endearing. And I honestly didn’t mean it in a pejorative way; I was just trying to channel the vocabulary of a Hollywood power player who was trying to lure Wright away from the arthouse and into the multiplex. The filmmaker, however, has already done that himself. And what’s more, he’s done it very much on his terms. Wright’s new film Hanna, the opening night presentation of this year’s Sydney Film Festival, is a propulsive, impactful action thriller with an offbeat style and sensibility (not to mention a kicking Chemical Brothers soundtrack) that distinguishes it from the pack. Wright’s young Atonement star Saoirse Ronan plays the title role, a teenage girl who has been raised far from civilisation by her father, a former CIA operative played by Eric Bana. Having been taught every lethal talent her father knows, Hanna is a quick, tough and • 42 • THE DRUM MEDIA 7 JUNE 2011

remorseless killing machine...but she has no awareness of the outside world. And when she finally decides to venture away from home, her unique skill-set makes her the target of Marissa (Cate Blanchett), a cold-blooded government agent keep to turn Hanna into a weapon. Hanna, however, is having none of that. Already attached to the project, Ronan suggested Wright as Hanna’s director. (“It was all her fault,” laughs Wright.) And while he was intrigued by the premise and eager to once again collaborate with Ronan, he found that the studio development process had rounded off some of the interesting edges of Seth Lochhead’s original script. “It had become kind of a procedural piece and I found Seth’s writing to be kind of surreal and out there — very, very unusual,” he says. “I was interested in that element of it.” While Focus Features, the studio bankrolling Hanna, were “a little bit, uh, dubious” about the direction Wright wanted to take, the director admits he and Ronan’s track record gave the

studio enough confidence to let the duo do their thing. “They wanted a film that had some scope, a film that moved across large geographical spaces, and I did too,” Wright recalls. “They wanted to make sure the action sequences were exciting, and I did too. So we were on the same page, and it was a very refreshing film to make — we played fast and loose, which was exciting.” It has been four years since Wright and Ronan had worked together on Atonement but the director found his star’s talent had remained much the same. “It comes from the same place — she has this extraordinary imagination and she’s able to place herself in the lives of these other people,” Wright says of Ronan. “She has changed as a human being...well, not even really changed but evolved, as all kids do. She’s perhaps a bit more serious, a bit more into popular music and all that, but she’s pretty much the same.” He also brought two of Australia’s best actors on board in casting Bana and Blanchett, hiring the Chopper star to play Hanna’s father because he needed someone “without vanity”. “I was looking for an actor who was incredibly earthy, really,” he says. “I was thinking of someone strong and sturdy — like a tree, really — but Eric has a very strong kindness within him as well, and I thought that was an important aspect of this father’s personality.

“Very importantly, the story starts with this teenage girl growing up in the forest with this father figure, and with other actors it could have come across as quite creepy! But Eric is very far from being creepy.” Blanchett, however, does tap quite nicely into her creepy side as Marissa, whom Wright viewed as “a Wicked Witch character” (in keeping with the film’s fairy-tale aesthetic). “She also reminded me a little bit of a teacher I had in primary school who was very severe,” Wright says. “But sexy as well.” Sexiness was something Wright wanted to avoid with the character of Hanna, however. “I was very keen to avoid any sexual objectification of the character,

While Wright has displayed a distinctive visual style in his previous films, including a penchant for prolonged single-take shots that show a mastery of composition and choreography, taking on an action-heavy project like Hanna does seem like a stretch. But it’s one the filmmaker eagerly embraced, so much so that he was unwilling to hand over the fight or chase scenes to his second unit.


CRITICS’ PICKS OF THE FESTIVAL CORMAN’S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL

playing the self-destructive papa it should be explosive viewing.

has John Hurt doing the voice of a turtle. That’s pure win.

MEEK’S CUTOFF

EXPORTING RAYMOND

baffling imprisonment of two of Iran’s finest filmmakers — and come away satisfied. But I’ll single out Panahi’s first film since it’s unavailable on DVD and best embodies the strengths of Iranian cinema; narrative economy, simple visual splendour, marvellously natural child performances.

Corman launched the careers of a whole litany of Hollywood players and celebrated American auteur: Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Monte Hellman, and more. Sure to be filled with fun clips and interviews, as well as insights into the crossover between art and commerce — think of it as Not Quite Not Quite Hollywood.

US indie auteur Kelly Reichardt is one of the strongest filmmakers currently working. Old Joy and Wendy & Lucy are heart-wrenching and stylistically minimal examinations of Americana, with Meek’s Cutoff taking a step back to the 19th Century to follow the doomed journey of some Oregon settlers. Anticipated to be one of the best films of the year.

Phil Rosenthal created the longrunning sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Not long after it winds down, he gets a call that producers who want to make a Russian version. This doco follows Rosenthal’s journey through the development of the TV show, through language barriers and hilarious casting.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

JOSH WHEATLEY

ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS

Set to be this year’s Winter’s Bone; i.e. brooding US regional-set indie with a breakout starlet performance (in this case Elizabeth Olsen; sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley), and featuring John Hawkes in a scary supporting role. Comparisons with both Funny Games and Repulsion, the setting of a scary backwoods cult, and a dynamite trailer all entice.

Novelist Julia Leigh makes her stunning debut with this psychosexual puzzle. Emily Browning showcases her acting chops and her naked body playing a young woman who falls asleep while old, naked men do things to her. It’s uncomfortable challenging viewing, certainly one of the most provocative Australian films in recent years.

HERE ARE THE TEN RECOMMENDED FILMS FROM OUR RESIDENT CRITICS IAN BARR AND JOSH WHEATLEY; THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON, ACCORDING TO THEM.

IAN BARR 13 ASSASSINS

This old-school samurai epic from Takashi Miike (Ichi The Killer, Audition) consists for the most part of a lengthy and talky build-up, introducing the titular posse and their honour codes, like a slowly assembled Jenga tower. Then it proceeds to collapse for 45 glorious minutes, into a cloud of limbs, severed heads, blood, dust, and flaming oxen.

THE TURIN HORSE This alleged swansong from Hungarian maverick Béla Tarr has been getting ‘OMG bleakest movie ever’ praise/warnings since its Berlin premiere in February. Inspired by an 1889 event that drove Friedrich Nietzsche to insanity, shot in stark black and white, with super-long takes that capture the daily grind of peasant life in all its suffocating monotony. Fun for the whole family.

ATTENBERG Greek cinema was recently put back on the international map in

a big way with 2009’s Dogtooth. This new film from the that film’s producer (Athina Rachel Tsangari), and featuring in the fest’s Official Competition sidebar, has a similar and intriguing premise: a twentysomething naif, weaned on David Attenborough nature docos, ventures beyond her hermetic world following her father’s death.

TABLOID Errol Morris + “documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary” = SOLD.

HAIL Part kitchen sink realism, part Greek tragedy, part avant-garde sensory assault…it doesn’t always work, but it’s frequently mesmeric and one of the boldest and most exciting visions to come out of Australian cinema in quite some time. For images (and sounds) that’ll haunt you, look no further.

THE WHITE BALLOON You could really see anything from the ‘Free Jafar Panahi/Mohammad Rasoulof’ sidebar — dedicated to the

SLEEPING BEAUTY

Douglas Sirk will be hitting the screens in all his syrupy splendour in a ‘Greatest Hits’ retrospective. Heaven sees trapped middle-class housewife Jane Wyman fall in love with the much lower class Rock Hudson, to the disdain of her children and neighbours. Masterfully directed in rich Technicolour, this heartbreaking tale is a great entry point to the work of Sirk.

PROJECT NIM

TAKE SHELTER

SAMMY’S ADVENTURES: THE SECRET PASSAGE

Chimps R cute, don’t exploit dem!! Documentarian James Marsh (Man On Wire) takes a look at what should be a powderkeg of ethical quandaries: a chimp, stolen from its mother at birth, and raised as a human child in ’70s Brooklyn.

Director of the tremendous Southern Gothic Shotgun Stories, Steve Nichols returns with the tale of father who believes the world is about to end. It might sound like a riff on a Twilight Zone episode, but with character actor Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

Not enough attention is paid to the totally-rad children’s movies that play at the festival. This year, they have a story about a turtle who goes on adventures in the ocean, battling oil tankers, hippies and piranhas. It’s in 3D, reminds me of Finding Nemo and

ONE CORNER CLOSER

NO BORDERS

SENNA, THE DOCUMENTARY OF ONE OF FORMULA ONE’S GREATEST DRIVERS, CHARACTERS, AND NAMES, BRINGS A WHOLE NEW INTENSITY TO SOMEONE THE WORLD THOUGHT THEY KNEW. DIRECTOR ASIF KAPADIA TALKS TO SCOTT FITZSIMONS.

ANTHONY CAREW TALKS TO JODY SHAPIRO, BEST KNOWN AS A PRODUCER FOR GUY MADDIN, WHOSE NEW FILM HOW TO START YOUR OWN COUNTRY SCREENS AT SFF.

Depending on who you ask, Ayrton Senna was arguably the greatest car racing driver that not only the sport of Formula One saw, but he’d stake a fair claim to the history of motorsport as a whole. The Brazilian driver who rose through the levels of motorsport as a youngster to win the World Championship three times before his on-track death at the age of 34 carries an air of mystique about his name, a tension and intensity that’s reflected in the feature film documentary Senna. The development of the film started in 2004 when producer James Gay-Rees read a newspaper article describing Senna’s intensity and aura and recalled how his father had remembered him in a similar way. After raising the concept, interest snowballed and people — both inside and outside of the industry — wanted to become involved. Producer Manish

Pandy was the husband of a film executive, a surgeon himself, who ended up a writer on the film due to his obsession with Senna. Previously working with dramas, director Asif Kapadia was brought to the project in 2006 to develop a script and work through the sequential process of writing, directing and editing the archival footage. “We had a lot of luck on this film,” he says of those early days. Endorsed and supported by Senna’s family and the Formula One governing body, the film tracks Senna’s years in Formula One with a focus on his bitter and intriguing battle with rival and at times teammate Alain Prost. All the footage is archival, with no talking heads but an approximately 50/50 split of old commentary and modern interviews overlaid on the footage. A sports fan (“long before I was into movies”) Kapadia has tried to let Senna tell the story, and it’s a story of his character — a driver who carried the weight of 160 million Brazilians looking for something to raise their post-dictatorship depression — rather than a study of the sport. It does vilify Prost a little more than that champion deserves, but Kapida points out that the film is called Senna after all.

“Honestly, he’s the most rounded film character I’ve ever had,” he says. “He’s amazingly talented, he’s a genius in one part of his professional life, he’s a tough character, [but] he’s not whiter than white, shall we say, he’s got this edge to him that makes him interesting, that makes him sexy, that makes him cool.” Those even remotely familiar with sporting history though know how the story ends. The famous in-car footage of Senna’s last lap has been widely circulated and it’s the first search result on the internet, but on the big screen that climactic moment — and more or less the manner in which the whole film leads to that point — takes on new gravity. “I think that final lap is some of the most powerful footage I’ve ever seen, the tension inherently in that… For me he’s driving better than ever. That car is flying, feels like I’m gliding, I’m not aware of anyone else in the world. But there is the tension in there, ‘My God, is it this corner? No it’s not, oh God that means I’m one corner closer.’” WHAT: Senna WHERE & WHEN: Screening at State Theatre Sunday 19 June, 12:45pm

Years ago, Jody Shapiro was reading Erwin Struass’s How To Start Your Own Country, a ‘how to’ primer for those wanting to found their own independent state. The Canadian film producer and documentary-maker thought that the subject would make a good documentary, and, finally, he’s taken it to screen. Shapiro became a filmmaker whilst studying fine arts at University (he considered photography but “hated working in the dark room”), and, in 1992, as his graduating work, he undertook a documentary following a female Canadian comic on a tour of regional prisons. “The story that we were following just got stranger and stranger and stranger,” Shapiro recounts. “It became more about the nature of fame, and the lengths that someone would go to to achieve success.” Post-graduation, Shapiro was working for a Canadian production company charged with assembling a host of short films in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Film Festival in 2000. One that he worked on was Guy Maddin’s amazing Expressionist

silent-movie pastiche, The Heart Of The World. “After working on that short film together,” says Shapiro, “we talked about doing a feature film together, which turned into The Saddest Music In The World.” Whilst Shapiro was working on Maddin features like Brand Upon The Brain!, My Winnipeg, and the just-completed Keyhole, he was simultaneously beavering away at How To Start Your Own Country: a production which he sold to CBC’s Documentary Channel five years ago, then spent four years making. “There was a lot of leg-work that went into it,” Shapiro explains. “We did about a six month ‘tour’, travelling to all these micronations, just the three of us: myself, the writer, and the cameraman. We were lugging all our own equipment, coordinating our own travel plans, missing flights.” The first sovereignty Shapiro and crew visited was Sealand, an off-shore Principality that exists on a former military Sea Fort off the coast of England. The filmmakers were denied Visas twice by Sealand — “they were cautious of media representation, they know that they’re somehow who is easy to be poked fun at” — but were more warmly welcomed in, for example, Australian-based Hutt River Province and Seborga, an Italian-based

THE TRIP Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, and Michael Winterbottom reteam after Tristram Shandy with a road trip through the English countryside. Fine dining is on the menu, and along with Michael Caine impressions, ABBA songs, and middle-age angst, The Trip should be a highly memorable journey.

CORRIDOR The Sydney Film Festival often unearths some gems; seeing an early screening of Let The Right One In before the hype is one of my favourite cinema experiences. Sticking to that formula of Swedish, horror, and knownothing-about it, I hope that Corridor’s tale of a paranoid medical student takes me to similarly strange places. Check sff.org.au for venue and sessions times

hamlet that “refuses to recognise Italy’s existence.” The central question of the film, Shapiro says, is: what is a country? “I’m a Canadian, what does that mean? What does it mean to have a passport? What does it mean to have ‘borders’?” The United Nations refuses to answer that question; what’s Shapiro’s take? “One of my favourite answers that we get in the film comes from a professor of law in The Hague, and he says ‘it’s like trying to answer the question ‘what is love?’’” Shapiro says with a laugh. “I always thought it was about politics, but maybe a country is more than politics, and policy, and lines drawn in the sand. It’s about an idea. It’s about concepts. Gregory Green, the founder of the New Free State Of Caroline, doesn’t have any territory, but he claims to have a country. Some people would say you need recognition to have a country, but how many people have to recognise you. One? 100? One million? Once you start asking these questions, you realise there are no clear-cut answers.” WHAT: How To Start Your Own Country WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Dendy Opera Quays Thursday 9 June, 6:30pm, and Saturday 11, 2:15pm THE DRUM MEDIA 7 JUNE 2011 • 43 •


ANIMAL SHAPES

KID KENOBI

WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF?

first starting up Facebook: ‘I’m the CEO bitch!’.

In theory. I just never get the time to watch any!

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE?

WHAT’S THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING? WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF? Chris Burke: I wish.

WHAT’S THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING? The Wizard Of Oz.

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR? How To Train Your Dragon.

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE?

Thelma & Louise.

The Shining.

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL?

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES? Fargo.

WORST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN?

Win Win. Paul Giamatti is the man.

The Room. Best worst film ever!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM?

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC?

Chopper.

Oh wow, either Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom or Breakdance: The Movie, both from 1984.

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR? I really enjoyed The Social Network. I loved the way it maintained suspense despite the fact nothing grave ever really happened. I also loved the ideas behind the movie. I’ve just started an independent record label (‘Klub Kids’) and I loved the business cards they used when

I’m really into the paranormal so I gotta say Paranormal Activity. Also The Blair Witch Project from back in the day, which a lot of people thought was stupid but I thought was brilliant — horror without the gore. And that last scene! Awesome.

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES? It would have to be a tie between Braveheart and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Sep Caton: To the average person I might seem like it but try playing the movie game with the likes of Ewen Leslie or Luke Doolan. It’ll really put you in your place. Compared to those guys I just have a passing interest.

I’m not sure what qualifies a certified “buff” but watching movies is definitely one of my favourite pastimes!

WHAT’S THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING?

WHAT IS THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING?

Alien. The original and still the best! As a kid that movie really messed me up...so I went out and got a copy on VHS.

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES? • 44 • THE DRUM MEDIA 7 JUNE 2011

The Tree O

The Boys, starring David Wenham — one of my favourite Australian actors of all time.

WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF?

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE?

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL?

I saw a kids’ movie once where they taught a monkey to talk. That was so bad we loved it. Also any Hollywood

WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF?

It’s a tough year to answer that question, as there have been a hell of a lot of good movies this year. Kids At Risk were lucky enough to write and record the original music for superhero-themed indie feature film, Griff The Invisible (featuring Ryan Kwanten from True Blood), so whilst I’m biased, I’m going to give that one my vote.

House Party for all my club music and 2001: A Space Odyssey for all my deeper tunes.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM?

DJ CASSETTE

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THIS PAST YEAR?

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC?

WORST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN?

KIDS AT RISK

Mad Max! My parents took me to the premiere — my godfather PJ played the bikie who gets his hand ripped off. From what I’ve been told I was more excited by the neverending stairs in the cinema than the actual movie, but then again I was only one.

movie starring Ricky Gervais. I love him, but Hollywood really hasn’t done him any justice!

The Princess Diaries. My justification is valid, though — I was stuck in Brisvegas for six months and the hotel I was staying in had two movies on constant repeat: Sandra Bullock in 28 Days and The Princess Diaries. Being allergic to Sandra Bullock, I was left with only one option. At first I couldn’t stand it...but Anne Hathaway, man. She got me. Plus, I learnt a valuable lesson: Princess is not a title that can be given to you just because of your family — the real princess lies within all of us.

WORST MOVIE YOU HAVE EVER SEEN? Now you’re talking! I love bad films. But where do I begin? The worst film I’ve seen lately would have to be Lost City Raiders... But this being for the Sydney Film Festival, I think the winner would have to be Oz Dragon, a film so bad that when “to be continued” flashed up at the end, the audience (made up mostly of the friends and family of the people in it) screamed “God, no!” I’m sure it’s almost impossible to find, but if you get the chance, take it... Even if it’s just for

lines like, “Master, I don’t know what it is but every time I fight, chicks show up!”

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC?

The Wizard Of Oz, at my grandma’s house. At the time I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen! I watched it over and over. I actually caught it on TCM channel a couple of days ago and still think it was a pretty amazing film for its time!

Something weird with lots of edits. Like Eraserhead or Tetsuo. Well, that, or Spy Kids 2.

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR?

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL?

Animal Kingdom. Amazing!

Hanna has got me pretty excited. I really like Joe Wright as a director and with that cast... Definitely getting tickets to that one.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM? Many. But one I always find myself coming back to is Malcolm. I just love that movie. I can’t understand why we keep making these bleak suburban crime dramas that no one wants to see except the people in the industry, when we could be making vibrant exciting films like Malcolm.

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE? The Ring (or Ringu, the Japanese version). The American version was scarier for me because I actually watched it in the same apartment it was filmed in! It was a friend’s place in Seattle on a very rainy gloomy day. I almost had a heart attack in the scene where the girl starts stepping out of the TV in an apartment identical to the one we were watching it in. I think that was my last scary movie.

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES? All the silly comedies like Anchorman and Old School. I laugh just thinking

about them. I guess I have a pretty simple sense of humour.

WORST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN? Probably Australia by Baz Luhrmann. I know he’s an Aussie and I’m supposed to love it, but I don’t know, I just didn’t get it. Longest three hours of my life.

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC? Hmm, that is a hard one. My music selection is so diverse that I don’t think I can choose any one film to accompany it. I would love to arrange music for films though. I have all the Quentin Tarantino soundtracks and love to collect foreign movie soundtracks. I often find great new music that I think would work really well in specific types of film scenes. I choose and create a lot of music for

fashion shows so hopefully one day I can choose or create the music for a really amazing film!

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL? The Japanese film Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no Mori) by Tran Anh Hung. I loved the novel and can’t wait to see the film. Also Ondi Timoner’s film Cool It, on climate change. Can’t wait!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM? Animal Kingdom. The animal analogies, the brilliant acting, clever editing, cinematography and the music… I just thought it was amazing.


FAIT ACCOMPLI

THE DARK SHADOWS it in broad daylight and it still freaked me the hell out.

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES? Mr Stokes: Goodfellas. An angry Joe Pesci is amazing... Mr Ray: The Star Wars trilogy. I still get shocked when Vader cuts off Luke’s hand.

WORST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN? Mr Stokes: Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit.

WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF? Mr Stokes: Yep.

fantasy. It mirrored my childhood, but we’d go on adventures looking for dead hedgehogs.

Mr Ray: I am a recovering Academy Twin Cinema movie junkie.

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR?

WHAT’S THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING?

Mr Stokes: Exit Through The Gift Shop.

Mr Stokes: E.T. when I was a small kid; it was terrifying. From the first creepy screamy time he makes his appearance in the movie, through to his weird turning-white sick moments in a quarantine bubble. That alien really scared the hell out of me. Spielberg’s best horror film disguised as a kids’ movie.

Mr Ray: It’s a tie between Joaquin Phoenix in I’m Still Here and Basquiat, Radiant Child, which I saw at Sydney Film Festival 2010. Both films are on another level.

Mr Ray: Stand By Me. Four kids going out on an adventure and finding a dead body is every kid’s

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE? Mr Stokes: Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Freddy really sticks it to those annoying teens. Mr Ray: Wolf Creek. Aussie filmmakers own the horror movie genre. I watched

Mr Ray: Steer clear of shitty movies — they stay with you for life.

WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF?

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC?

Brigitte Handley: I’d prefer to say I’m a film fan rather than a buff. I’m not up on all the latest releases but I love weird old films, especially silent films, classic B-grade, horror, and sci-fi.

Mr Stokes: Predator. Mr Ray: Any movie with a good car chase scene.

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL? Mr Stokes: 13 Assassins.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM?

WHAT’S THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING? Grew up watching Hollywood classics and musicals from the ’40s and ’50s. Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford in Gilda was a fave. Put the blame on Mame...

Mr Stokes: Razorback or Crocodile Dundee 3.

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR?

Mr Ray: Happy Feet or Bad Boy Bubby.

Nosferatu... and The King’s Speech.

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE? Carnival Of Souls... Classic ’60s creepy carnival zombies, possessed pipe organ playing with awesome visuals and an intriguing twist... What more could you want?

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES? Edward Scissorhands. Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, and Tim Burton... Beautiful soundtrack by Danny Elfman. Definitely a favourite.

WORST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN? Toss up between Frankenhooker and Rock’n’roll High School Forever, with Corey Feldman. Think it was follow up to the Ramones classic... But then again both are so trashy ’80s bad they are pretty cool.

PAPA VS PRETTY

FERGUS BROWN

WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF?

WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM BUFF?

Thomas Rawle: Sort of, I’m a big fan of old sci-fi films and some of the really old classics like Metropolis and a lot of the old Hitchcock films. I would like to write scores for films someday so I try and be on top of as much as possible.

There are lots of people who are buffier. I watch a lot of flicks, though — lots of docos. I’m definitely looking forward to geeking out at the festival.

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES?

Too many to choose from but Hobo With A Shotgun sounds pretty crazy.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM? BH: I loved Jedda when I was a kid. It was such a moving story that really struck a chord with me... Think it was the first Australian film shot in colour.

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR? Incendies. Lebanese Civil War epic. Awesome.

WHAT’S THE BEST FILM YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR?

TR: Psycho. That one scene when she steals the money from her boss and is waiting at the pedestrian crossing and he just looks right at her...it’s like he’s looking at you. It always gave me the creeps.

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL?

Dumbo.

TR: Tarzan at the cinemas. I was eight I think, or maybe 10; I used to be really scared of the cinemas ’cause they were too loud and I got claustrophobic.

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE?

The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari.

WHAT’S THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING?

WHAT’S THE FIRST FILM YOU REMEMBER SEEING?

Tom Myers: The King’s Speech. The acting is amazing and having an Australian actor feature so prominently in the movie makes you feel patriotic. It’s a really heartwarming story and my heart was thoroughly melted.

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC?

FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE? The Orphanage: the SpanishMexican horror flick. Beautifully shot, clever, emotionally cathartic… and absolutely terrifying. TR: Snow White — as in the old cartoon. I love it; it used to scare me as a kid.

WORST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN?

for films so whatever really.

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL?

TR: The Happening. I was laughing the whole time, basically it ends up being the trees attacking people with, like, air. It’s so bad, soooo bad, but worth a watch for a laugh. Best line in the film is “But, I think I love you.”

TR: Project Nim by James Marsh, the director of the documentary Man On Wire.

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC?

TR: I would have to say The Tracker; I loved that film, really great cinematography, great acting too. Fantastic story. So well done. Very engaging.

TR: Probably a sci-fi film. I love sci-fi. Again, I’d like to write music

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM?

A GUILTY PLEASURE YOU’VE SEEN A HUNDRED TIMES? I don’t really repeat-watch films. Perhaps the Smashing Pumpkins documentary, Vieuphoria, when I was about 15.

WORST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN?

I just made my first music video, to my song Nerds In Love. It’s a pretty good fit.

I adored the trailer for The Human Centipede, but the film was complete crap.

WHAT FILM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL?

WHICH FILM WOULD BEST ACCOMPANY YOUR MUSIC?

There are tonnes of good-looking films, hey? At a glance, I’ll choose Beginners,

Toomelah, This Is England ’86, Khodorkovsky, and also the Levon Helm [Ain’t In It For My Health] and A Tribe Called Quest [Beats, Rhymes & Life] documentaries.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN FILM? Bad Boy Bubby. THE DRUM MEDIA 7 JUNE 2011 • 45 •


ALL THINGS MUST PASS ANTHONY CAREW SPEAKS TO MICHELANGELO FRAMMARTINO ABOUT HIS FILM LE QUATTRO VOLTE, WHICH DOCUMENTS THE PASSING OF THE SOUL FROM HUMAN TO ANIMAL TO PLANT TO MINERAL. Michelangelo Frammartino’s Le quattro volte is a filmic circle: the cycle of life charted as it looks at the elements in a path of transmigration. Inspired by Calabrian superstition, the near-silent meditation begins with a man, who becomes a goat, then a tree, then ashes. In the very first ‘transition’ between man and goat, it becomes obvious that this is about reincarnation, because the old shepherd and the newborn kid look exactly alike. So, the question begs, then, how did Frammartino find a baby goat that looked exactly like 80-year-old non-professional-actor Giuseppe Fuda? “I can say: I chose a white goat, because only a white goat lets you, when it’s born, still see the pink skin underneath,” Frammartino says, laughing. “When a goat is black or brown or red, you don’t see it. But with a white goat, you can see that pink skin, the flesh under that white fur, so to me that meant you could see that past life underneath.” The 42-year-old’s family hails from Calabria in the South, and his film — whose title means ‘The Four Times’ — is steeped in rural superstition.

The inspiration to make it came when Frammartino was travelling through the area. “It came from driving around this rural area in the South, watching jobs and people and celebrations that I didn’t know,” he recounts. “I was inspired by seeing these different things that were separate — the animals, the charcoal burners’ work, this strange tree celebration — but there was no connection between them, in my mind, in the beginning. “But after some months that I was there, it suddenly occurred to me that it was all so precise, this story: the man, the animal, the tree, the mineral; the full kingdom in celebration. Calabria is the home of the first-ever philosopher, Pythagoras, and he believed in reincarnation. So, I understood this film as the travelling of a soul between the four different kingdoms. It was strange, because I was not looking for this; it came to me as a revelation.” This was in 2007 — five years after Frammartino had made his debut film, 2002’s The Gift — but the filmmaker didn’t begin to toil away at the idea. Instead, he sat on it, and thought. “After

this idea came to me, I waited one year to work on it,” he says. “I didn’t understand why I wanted to work on a film about reincarnation, because it was not something that was important to me before. But it became important to the image, where what you see is not important to what you’re shooting: ‘I see a goat, but it is not a goat; I see a man, but it is not a man.’” Frammartino took influence from “artists that explore cinema in an unconventional way”; from the way Béla Tarr uses animals, to how Jacques Tati sets man in opposition to man-made landscape, and Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s legendary short film The Way Things Go, where a narrative is told entirely through everyday objects. Though there’s set-pieces of chaos ensuing at a religious parade and goats running amok through a village obviously inspired by Tati, when Le quattro volte arrived it was rarely compared to such. Instead, it found itself, by quirk of circumstance (or fate, perhaps) arriving at Cannes 2010 at the same time as Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives; this two studies of reincarnation becoming, in critical eyes, twin pictures. In Melbourne, both have received unexpected seasons at ACMI based not merely on their own artistic strengths, but their strength in numbers. “For critics, there was a connection between the two films, so I met [Weerasethakul] many times,”

Frammartino offers. “Our films often end up screening together. I was happy with this; for me, he’s a master, I love what he does, even though I think there’s a strong difference between our films. Largely, that I don’t believe in reincarnation, but Apichatpong really does believe in reincarnation.” Frammartino put those personal beliefs aside, though, when making Le quattro volte. For the film to work, he needed to believe in the rituals, beliefs and superstitions on which his quartered narrative is based. In its opening ‘man’ section, the old shepherd drinks dust gathered from his local church in the belief that it’s holy; and so, depicting such, Frammartino chose to believe it, this dust the very thing keeping this old coot alive.

“There is a belief that the dust in the church is like a medicine,” explains Frammartino. “It’s a really ancient belief in the South of Italy, in Calabria and Sicily. When you see the dust in the air, those little particles are the souls of the dead floating there. For Pythagoras, these are the smallest possible things you can see, on the line between the visible and the invisible, so they are the closest thing to the spirit world.” In a decision made to “give the viewer space”, Le quattro volte plays out without dialogue, often in near-silence. “I looked for a balance between man and other presences: animals, plants,” Frammartino says. “I feel that, as man, we place too much importance on ourselves. In

cinema, man is always the centre of the story, all the other things are always in the background. To me, it was important with this film to find a balance between man and all other things. It was easy to do this with the image, but I wanted to try to do this with the sound, too. So, I didn’t use dialogue; which is a way of keeping man at the centre. There are voices in the film, but these voices are not more important than the sound of the animals, or the fire, or the wind.”

Meek’s resemblance to Dick Cheney during a post-screening Q&A with Reichardt at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. Raymond doesn’t deny the parallel. “It was definitely there in the ruminating moments, just the idea of a failed leader,” he says, albeit with a slight sigh. “I think it’s a malleable allegory. I think it’d be a shame for it to be tethered to that Bush thing.”

a permanent move. When asked if he’ll turn to Hollywood projects, he laughs, “If someone wanted to pay me copious amounts of money for it, then sure.” He acknowledges that there aren’t many in that domain tailored to his interests. “I was really into comic books as a kid, but I’m not sure about what Hollywood’s doing with them now. I saw Thor recently, that was awful. “I don’t know if I would call myself a film buff or a cinephile, but I’ve always loved movies and they’ve played a role in the fiction I’ve written. [Screenwriting] feels like a wonderful moonlighting thing when it happens.”

WHAT: Le quattro volte WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Event Cinemas George St Tuesday 14 June, 3:15pm, and Dendy Opera Quays Saturday 18, 7pm

THIS AIN’T NO BLOCKBUSTER IAN BARR TALKS TO FREQUENT KELLY REICHARDT COLLABORATOR JONATHAN RAYMOND ABOUT THEIR NEW FILM, MEEK’S CUTOFF, SET ON THE OREGON TRAIL. Due to a scheduling fudge-up, the call comes through from American novelist and screenwriter Jonathan Raymond — behind period western Meek’s Cutoff — during the undesirable timeslot of a busy period during my day job in a suburban video store. It proves a predictably hectic environment to conduct a phone interview, but somehow apt, considering Raymond’s pre-occupation with the quotidian, including the unglamorous realities of monetary situations. When I ask him what literary tradition he sees himself working in, the question seems excessively grandiose considering the modesty of his fiction. “I can say at least I work in a fairly regionalist mode, I’m interested in stories that are close to my home and geography. For better or worse, I made that choice to write about my backyard,” he says. In that sense, he has much in common with famed American miniturast Raymond Carver (whose writing was adapted for the screen in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne). At one point the interview is halted, to attend to a customer, and, for shits and giggles, I recommend Wendy & Lucy to him, with Raymond listening in and laughing on the line. That film was the second collaboration between Raymond director Kelly Reichardt, working from the former’s short story Train Choir. The customer looks • 46 • THE DRUM MEDIA 7 JUNE 2011

understandably nonplussed after my hopeless synopsis of the film (‘a young woman’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and she loses her dog, some other stuff happens too, but it’s not really about big plot details…’), and he returns to browsing the shelves. No surprise, since Raymond himself admits that even he was surprised when Reichardt approached him for what would be their first film collaboration. “We met through our mutual friend Todd Haynes,” he says, referring to the celebrated American auteur behind I’m Not There and Far From Heaven and Reichardt’s producer. “She was looking for material to adapt for a feature. I had a story called Old Joy, which she saw potential for a film in…I can’t see anyone else who would.” Indeed, however unlikely the source material was for compelling cinema, this first collaboration between Reichardt and Raymond became one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2006. Made for a mere $30,000, it stars Daniel London and singer/ songwriter Will Oldham (in — another grandiosity alert — one of the greatest performances even given by a musician), and concerns nothing more than two old middle-aged dudes attempting to rekindle their old friendship during a weekend camping trip. The devil is in the details; the volumes-speaking spaces between their scant words, Reichardt’s rapt

attention to the natural environment, and it’s a gorgeous, melancholy mood piece for those on its wavelength. “What is sorrow, but worn-out joy?” reads a line from Raymond’s source story, and the film is 70-ish regretdrenched minutes in the key of that gutting phrase. Wendy & Lucy was their 2008 follow-up collab, with a bigger star (Michelle Williams) but a similar scope. It premiered in Cannes, played at nearly every major festival after, and was named the best film of its year in the year-end critics poll conducted by US’s Film Comment magazine. Reuniting Reichardt and Williams, Meek’s Cutoff is something new to Reichardt — a genre film (western) in a period setting (1845). But despite these advancements in scale, the film retains both its writer and director’s minimalist style, only this time

applied to life-or-death stakes, as braggadocious scumbag Meek (Bruce Greenwood) leads a band of settlers across the Oregon trail. Each of the settlers become increasingly uncertain of both their leader’s knowledge of the route and his true motivations, and when a Native American is taken captive with them, Williams and co. begin to reconsider who they’ll rely on to survive. Like Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar, it offers a distinctly feminist twist on this most masculine of genres, with the male members of the families often filmed as distant, unknowable figures, and the faces of the bonneted women shot in loving close-up. Raymond and Reichardt play the story out as a morality play on scorced earth, and many critics have made a case for the film as an allegory for the Bush administration’s failure — an audience member commented on

It isn’t the first time that Raymond’s worked within a period setting. “I did a novel called The Half Life which had a section set during the trapping days, about 20-30 years prior to the Meek stuff.” That was his first published novel, after a series of nine short stories that were later collected for the acclaimed Liveability compilation — Old Joy and Train Choir among them. Regarding his transition to writing for the screen, Raymond doesn’t see it as

WHAT: Meek’s Cutoff WHERE & WHEN: Event Cinemas George St Saturday 11 June, 4:30pm, and State Theatre Sunday 19, 3pm


~ DRUM MEDIA PRESENTS ~ OFFICIAL SELECTION

OFFICIAL SELECTION

NEW ZEALAND INT. FILM FESTIVAL 2011

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2011

+ + + + “Deliciously funny” TIME OUT LONDON ONLINE

SCREEN DAILY

STEVE COOGAN

R O B B RY D O N

TRIP A film by

Check the Classification

MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM

Two friends, one week, six restaurants, and the journey of a lifetime SCREENING AS PART OF THE SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL AT E VENT CINEMA S, GEORGE STREET S AT U R DAY 11T H J U NE AT 6:15 P M A ND T U E SDAY 14T H J U NE AT 6P M Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n g o t o s f f. o r g . a u THE DRUM MEDIA 7 JUNE 2011 • 47 •


HIGHLIGHTS THE DRUM MEDIA PRESENTS

THE TRIP Commissioned by the Observer to whip up a lifestyle article about fine dining and travel in the Lake District of northern England, a semi-fictional Steve Coogan invites his obliging friend Rob Brydon to join him on a road trip after his girlfriend dumps on his romantic aspirations and pulls out. Moody, and just a tad selfobsessed, Coogan’s acerbic sense of humour alternately riffs on and rubs against Brydon’s jokes and endless impersonations. Reuniting with the celebrated British comedians after their previous collaboration on Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story, director Michael Winterbottom creates a perfect comedic storm that reflects on both the creative process and the cult of personality. Consistently hilarious, the loosely improvisational style also provides just the right amount of space for us to contemplate the really big questions like: are comedians funny in real life — and if they are, does that make them boring? WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Event Cinemas George St Saturday 11 June, 6:15pm, and Tuesday 14 June, 6pm

LIFE IN MOVEMENT In 2007, Tanja Liedtke was appointed to succeed Graeme Murphy as Artistic Director of the Sydney Dance Company. Before she could take up the position, the dedicated 29-yearold dancer/choreographer was tragically killed in a road accident. Eighteen months later, Tanja’s stillgrieving collaborators (including her partner Sol Ulbrich) embark on an international tour of her award-winning productions. The performances and on-tour interviews, along with intimate footage of Tanja’s creative process and previously unseen recordings, provide a moving celebration of her creative life. WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Event Cinemas George St Saturday 18 June, 6:15pm

TERRI Demonstrating a continued interest in the eccentric misfit, Azazel Jacobs follows up Momma’s Man (SFF 2008)

with an equally beguiling take on Rushmore-style high-school comedy. Alienated and insecure, Terri (Jacob Wysocki) is a sad-eyed, overweight teenager who lives with and cares for his debilitated uncle. His oddball behaviour (which includes attending school in his pyjamas) attracts the attention of vice principal Mr Fitzgerald (the always-enjoyable John C Reilly), a not-so grown-up whose over-enthusiastic empathy stems, it would appear, from having once been an outsider himself. Terri reluctantly absorbs Mr Fitzgerald’s erratic guidance and soon finds his enclosed world opening up, leading to faltering new friendships with the sexually precocious Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) and the manic Chad (Bridger Zadina). Moving between sun-dappled realism and ethereal magic, cinematographer Tobius Datam (who also shot Momma’s Man) creates a dreamy visual texture, heightening the sense of nostalgia that permeates this altogether original coming-of-age story. WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Dendy Opera Quays Sunday 12 June, 6:15pm, and Event Cinemas George St Friday 17 June, 9pm

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN Cult kingpin Rutger Hauer is back! Starring in the sleaziest piece of gutter trash to hit the screen in years, the 67-year-old is dynamite as an unnamed Skid Row bum who arrives (on a freight train, natch) at the hellhole of Hope Town and doesn’t like what he sees. Helped by hooker-witha-heart-of-gold Abby, the pissed-off pensioner swaps his walking stick for a shotgun and points it in the direction of the nastiest crime family you’re ever likely to meet. The second spoof ‘trailer’ from Grindhouse to evolve into a feature film, Hobo is a stylishly assembled, extremely violent and grimly humorous throwback to the glory days of ’70s exploitation cinema. Is this the ne plus ultra of vigilante movies? Gather your guts if you dare and decide for yourself. WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Event Cinemas George St Wednesday 8 June, 8:15pm, and Monday 13, 9pm

THE TROLL HUNTER

The legendary Scandinavian monster is the star of this scary and funny conspiracy chiller. Presented as surviving footage shot by a student documentary crew investigating the mysterious deaths of bears, André Øvredal’s nail-biter goes deep into the woods to discover something at once scary and magical at play. The key to unlocking the activities of Norway’s secretive Troll Security Service is Hans, a ‘bear hunter’ who reluctantly allows the ambitious filmmakers to chronicle his activities. The result is a captivating, frequently amusing and surprisingly touching series of encounters with monsters far more complex and formidable than the dim-witted creatures of Norse folklore. Exciting and hugely entertaining, The Troll Hunter is quite possibly the finest entry yet in the found-footage documentary cycle triggered by The Blair Witch Project. WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Event Cinemas George St Wednesday 8 June, 6pm, and Friday 17, 8:30pm

BEATS, RHYMES, & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST Actor and true New Yorker Michael Rapaport’s engrossing documentary traces the sometimes troubled history of A Tribe Called Quest while examining a politically progressive and creatively fertile era in hip hop history — a period that is easily overlooked given the current predominance of gold-plated and ego-saturated gangsta rap. Tribe frontmen Q-Tip and Phife Dawg (AKA Kamaal Fareed and Malik Taylor) emerge as an archetypical musical pairing: friends from childhood and creative live wires whose collaboration melded jazz-infused sounds with Afrocentric rhymes, and who were ultimately driven apart by the pressures of fame. Rife with dramatic tension - from coverage of a hostile reunion tour with fellow group members Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Jarobi to the impact of Taylor’s (the ‘funky diabetic’) health issues - this is a brutally honest testament to the group’s seminal impact with commentary from De La Soul, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Busta Rhymes and the Beastie Boys.

THE TRIP

WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Event Cinemas George St Wednesday 8 June, 9pm, and Sunday 12, 11:30am

LENNONNYC When John Lennon died in December 1980, the Liverpool-born musician had been living in New York for nine years. He moved to the Big Apple following the break up of The Beatles and the British media’s relentless aversion to his wife, Yoko Ono. Lennon’s involvement in the anti-Vietnam War movement prompted the Nixon regime to instigate deportation proceedings and his traumatic split with Yoko resulted in booze-fuelled exploits in Los Angeles. LENNONYC documents how he found his way back to the east coast, to Yoko, fatherhood and music. Director Michael Epstein explores Lennon’s New York years through interviews with — amongst others — Yoko, Elton John (who performed on Lennon’s 1974 hit single Whatever Gets You Through The Night) and musicians who played on his US albums Mind Games and Double Fantasy. Above all, the film celebrates a phenomenal talent (with never-beforeheard-or-seen concert outtakes and studio recordings) and the city that was his refuge and inspiration. WHERE & WHEN: Event Cinemas George St Wednesday 8 June, 6:30pm, and Sunday 12, 1:45pm

MICROPHONE Director Ahmad Abdalla (Heliopolis) adroitly navigates the alternative scene

in Alexandria — hip hoppers, rooftop rockers, graffiti artists and filmmakers — in this energetic and captivating film that has become all the more topical given recent events in Egypt. Khaled (Khaled Abol Naga) returns home after years living abroad. Struggling to reconnect with his ailing father and his ex-girlfriend - who is frustrated by the city and plans to emigrate - he wanders the streets and soon becomes immersed in the pulsating cultural life of the city. Outraged that the city’s most promising creative talent is sidelined by conservative forces, Khaled finds a renewed focus setting up a club to showcase the talent he discovers. Achieving a cogent interplay between the flexibility of cinematographer Tarek Hefny’s verité shooting style, the bustling, labyrinthine streets and the multitude of diverse artists they record, Abdalla’s film is a living, breathing tribute to and critique of contemporary Egypt. WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Dendy Opera Quays Friday 10 June, 8:15pm, and Wednesday 15, 4:25pm

LBF Fresh from its world premiere at SXSW, Alex Munt’s highly-stylised ‘pop art film’ is based on the novel Living Between Fucks by Cry Bloxsome, from which it draws much of its scathingly funny voice-over narration. Paris-based writer Goodchild (Toby Schmitz) returns to Sydney for the

funeral of his ex-girlfriend The Dead Girl (Gracie Otto) and steadily goes off the rails. He becomes entangled with The Beautiful Financial Backer (Bianca Chiminello), who commissions him to write The Love Enterprise — a piece of corporate branding masquerading as Beat poetry. Charged with this new task and a heady cocktail of booze and drugs, Goodchild lurches between parties interviewing people he encounters along the way. Andrew Soo’s cadent editing style is rhythmically complemented by local bands that appear live in the film — teenagersintokyo, Tennis (now Tortoiseshell), Fergus Brown — and contribute prominently to the soundtrack, together with Kids At Risk, whose frontman Septimus Caton plays Cash in the film. WHERE & WHEN: Screening at MCA Friday 10 June, 7pm, and Event Cinemas George St Sunday 12, 4:15pm

SCENES FROM THE SUBURBS A 28-minute short created by Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), in collaboration with members of Arcade Fire, follows suburban kids during one summer when military control of their town makes the lazy days more aimless than ever. WHERE & WHEN: Screening at Event Cinemas George St Sunday 12 June, 4:15pm

EDITOR’S PICKS FRONT ROW EDITOR DANIEL CRICHTON-ROUSE LISTS THE FILMS HE RECOMMENDS FROM THIS YEAR’S SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM. SENNA When I was younger — much younger — my hero was Formula One driver Ayrton Senna. (So much so that I wanted to live in Brazil.) I can remember exactly where I was when my father told me the news of his horrific death. This film, therefore, was always going to be a must-see. Check out our interview with its director Asif Kapadia in this guide for further proof that it’s required viewing.

THE TREE OF LIFE Terrence Malick’s long-gestating • 48 • THE DRUM MEDIA 7 JUNE 2011

film — which just won the Palme d’Or at Cannes — has been the subject of online speculation and blind adoration for many years, and finally sees the light of day in Australia with its premiere at Sydney Film Festival. Considering its scope and scale (from pre-human days to outer space) it’s being compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey. And it stars Brad Pitt.

that Friedrich Nietzsche’s mental breakdown was the result of his witnessing a horse being whipped. The film, shot in black and white, documents the daily lives of a man and his horse. Le quattro volte, on the other hand, is a near-silent film, following the transportation of the soul from human to animal to plant to mineral. For those looking for some metaphysical and existential film viewing, look no further.

THE TURIN HORSE / LE QUATTRO VOLTE

NORWEGIAN WOOD

I consider these companion films. The Turin Horse, by Hungarian director Béla Tarr, is inspired by the story

Based on the novel of the same name by Haruki Murakami about loss and sexuality, Norwegian Wood also boasts an original score by Radiohead’s Jonny

Greenwood (There Will Be Blood). Gorgeously shot, this will be incredible on the big screen.

HANNA British filmmaker Joe Wright teams up again with his Atonement star Saoirse Ronan, who plays the titular young assassin. Eric Bana plays her father, Cate Blanchett the enemy, Chemical Brothers provide the score, and Europe and Northern Africa the setting. Breathtaking action sequences and the best title card in recent memory.

SLEEPING BEAUTY One of two Australian films in Competition at SFF (the other being fellow Cannes entrant Toomelah), Sleeping Beauty is a lavishly shot thriller about a university student

(Sucker Punch’s Emily Browning) who takes a job as a ‘sleeping beauty’, in which old men have their way with her whilst she’s unconscious. Incredibly unnerving and at times uncomfortable, Julia Leigh’s debut is bold filmmaking, with a barely-there score from Ben Frost.

THE TROLL HUNTER I know nothing about this film other than it features a massive troll, it’s a Norwegian horror/thriller/ mockumentary, and our critic Josh Wheatley saw it at Adelaide and says it’s fucking rad. Seriously, the troll’s huge. Pumped.

THE TRIP Steve Coogan taking on a commission to head up to the Lakes District to review restuarants for the Observer

newspaper? Yes please. Rob Brydon coming along for the ride? Yes please. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, therefore reteaming the principal cast and crew of Tristram Shandy? Yes please. Endless voice impersonations...? Yes ple— There’s a reason Drum Media’s presenting a screening of this at the festival.

THE ARBOR A gritty, kitchen sink drama that I’m hoping’s as good as Fish Tank. Based on the play of the same name by Andrea Dunbar, who wrote it when she was 15, The Arbor paints the portrait of council estate life in northern England. The on-screen protagonist’s life echoes that of the author’s and, with the knowledge that Dunbar tragically died at the age of 29, will make for severely sobering viewing.

SYDNEY_FILM_FESTIVAL_2011  

Drum Media is a Sydney icon. The people behind Drum virtually invented what has come to be known as street press. For over 15 years, Drum ha...

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