Thursday, August 13, 2009

Things learned during the Melbourne International Film Festival

1. Spending about 1000% more time than usual watching movies really shakes things up, let me tell you. I ran out of food, I grew out my hair, I changed my brand of anti-perspirant. Heck of a fortnight all over.

2. If you see a film which has an awesome twist in it, but the only reason the twist works is because you aren't even slightly expecting it, you're in a pickle: how can you convince people to go see this film without hinting at the twist's existence? If you describe the film's premise and people just say "aw, that doesn't sound that interesting, can you lend me five bucks?" – how do you convince them that the story isn't as dull and obvious as it sounds, without making them think that there might be something unusual and twisty about it? Ah, it's a pickle...

Moral: if I say a film is great but I can't convincingly explain why, you should go see it anyhow.

3. Subtitles (in English) for actors speaking in thick accents (in English): insulting to the (English-speaking) audience, an overreaction, or just incredibly distracting? Okay, okay, in the end I guess it wasn't as distracting as it might have been, and I'm sure those audience members unfamiliar with the Yorkshire patois were appreciative, but holy cats! Subtitles Were Annoying.
Films were pretty fine, though.

4. Australian Horror Films. I've been seeing a lot of them lately, I should really do a whole post on the topic. But instead I'll just shut up and tell you this: you should see Lake Mungo. The only modern Australian horror film that might rival it for quality would be Wolf Creek, but that's a really inappropriate comparison – the two films could hardly be more different. Lake Mungo is a ghost story (which is rare), and it's a horror that goes for deep chills rather than shock-jolt scares (which is even rarer). I saw it in a dead silent, almost-deserted cinema: the perfect viewing environment for non-jokey horror. It's excellent.

Lake Mungo did not play in the 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival. It has had only a limited cinematic release in Australia, and that within this last month or so, but it was picked up for an American remake nine months ago. Somebody needs a bigger marketing budget, okay.

5. Latauro is surprisingly recognisable. The guy is everywhere.

6. Is Korean cinema in some kind of a golden age for creepy, off-kilter films this past decade, or what? Park Chan-Wook has been doing absolutely brilliant stuff for a while, but I was really doubtful that anyone could do anything worthwhile or new with vampires, anymore. I was totally wrong. I also thought that while The Host was a great monster film, it was probably a one-off; I didn't imagine that it had been made by any especially brilliant filmmakers. Again, I was wrong.

Anyhow, the films "Thirst" and "Mother": I recommend them.

7. Nazi Zombies. Exactly what you were expecting, but in a very satisfying way.

That's a lot of points related to horror films, isn't it? I did see a bunch of artsy intellectual movies, too. In other words:

Oh, Catherine Breillat, you crazy kidder! Good one.

So, hey, Michael Haneke, are you extremely clever? In all seriousness, I honestly can't tell. I think so? Probably? I think so. But I'm going to have to think about it some more. And this is not a bad thing. I think.
(I'm not being sarcastic, here, btw...)

And that's not everything I saw, but it's enough to be bothered writing about, I think.
--the Cinematic Thoapsl

1 comment:

  1. More pictures of zombie crotch-biting please.