Monday, 14 August 2006

MIFF coming to a close

MIFF2006 is over and I enjoyed my experience. After two weeks I fitted in 12 screenings which in truth was about all I could have fitted in given all other commitments I have to make. That is not say that given time there weren’t another dozen films I would have liked to have viewed. The retrospective on the Iranian director would have been interesting and the Danish section would likewise have been confronting.
[sorry, can't upload any pictures at the moment - check back for more Dilbert/Vijay comic strips at another time]
I was glad to have the company of Vijay for 3 of the screenings, the last of which was The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Cannes winner and typical of Irish stories, no happy ending (but a well made period piece nonetheless).

The three Australian movies that I saw were all excellent and should enjoy a cinematic release. The Book of Revelation was the most confronting and has been written on at length already.
The Last Train to Freo was a low budget affair by first time director Jeremy Sims (yes, him of the bad adult soapies of the early 90s). The action takes place in real time as the last suburban train of the night travels from Midlands in Perth down to Fremantle with the action never leaving the confines of the carriage. Very similar in concept to Breakfast Club where a group of strangers find themselves lumped together and make discoveries about themselves and each other they hadn’t expected. While the script became a little contrived this did not ultimately detract from the powerful acting of the unknown cast of 5. Steve Le Marquand, known only as The Large Thug, is at times menancing and charming and around whom the whole drama hangs.
Like Minds is directed by Australian Gregory Read but is set in an English boarding school. It stars well known Australians Toni Collette as a child criminal psychologist and Richard Roxburgh as the lead detective, both sporting horrendous English accents. The real star is 24 year old Englishman Eddie Redmayne, the subject of our Australian duo in an ongoing investigation.
The director’s premise is twofold : where do sociopaths start from and what happens when you place two of them together to work off each other. What transpires is a number of deaths (no kidding, right ?), plenty of mythology about the Knights Templar to keep The Da Vinci Code honest and some gruesome discoveries. It is very much in the same vein as David Fincher’s Se7en or Primal Fear. Very well made and should enjoy a strong cinematic release. Highly recommended.

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