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Archive for the ‘film review’ Category

Curating The Sydney Film Festival: Clare Stewart

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Promotional banner for the 2010 Sydney Film Festival I’m just back from a talk at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art called “Creation + Curation”, run as part of the Creative Sydney festival.

The Sydney Film Festival is also running at the moment, and festival director Clare Stewart was one of the speakers at this afternoon’s event, along with Ute Noll (photography curator), Dom Alessio (Triple J Radio) and Joseph Shea (IzRock).

The gorgeously attired Clare talked through her background as a film programmer and the process involved in putting together the Sydney festival. Here are a few highlights.
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Written by Darren Smith

5 June 2010 at 7:05 pm

Queer Picks From The Sydney Flicks

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Twentysomething Quebecois director Xavier Dolan, who will have two pieces showing at the 2010 Sydney Film Festival.It’s that time again, ladies and gentlemen – Sydney’s Film Festival (2-14 June).

This year I’ve changed my tune. I’ve done my research and booked my tickets BEFOREHAND.

The festival is showing a number of queer films, including two from 20something Quebecois director Xavier Dolan (pictured right).

So, here goes.
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Written by Darren Smith

25 May 2010 at 12:21 am

Film | Howl (2010)

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Still from "Howl", the movie about Ginsberg's epic poem.In the past few days, synchronicity visited me twice, and both involved rediscovery. First was a forgotten old jacket of mine that caught a visiting friend’s eye. Two days later, a jacket with the exact pattern and design popped up in Roberto Cavalli’s Fall 2010 collection (picture in this article).

That same week, Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem “Howl” drifted into my consciousness. A few days later, I discovered a movie about the poem and Ginsberg’s obscenity trial premiered (at the Sundance Film Festival). Here’s a bit of a sneak peak.

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Written by Darren Smith

23 January 2010 at 1:03 pm

Film & Music | It’s All A Blur

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Poster for documentary on Blur, "No Distance Left To Run"

From one band documentary to another – this time it’s Blur.

No Distance Left To Run: A Film About Blur premiered in the UK this week. Reviews so far are positive, praising a well-shot and intimate account of the band’s rise to the heights of British pop.

The documentary is directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, whose combined résumé includes this music video for Franz Ferdinand. The pair’s work in the music industry obviously gives them great access to the four band members – Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree.

I confess, yes, I am a Blur groupie. One of my great concert moments was seeing them perform at Sydney’s Metro and reaching out to touch Albarn’s hand in what can only be likened to this. They, together with Pulp, captured everything I loved about big britpop at the time.

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Written by Darren Smith

16 January 2010 at 11:49 am

Film | Some Kind Of Monster

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Poster for "Some Kind of Monster"So, last night I put down my knitting, switched on SBS and watched Some Kind of Monster, a documentary on the making of Metallica’s album, St Anger. But the only monster in this film is also the white elephant – the record industry. In fact, I believe it’s the one about to devour the four band members in the promo poster to your right.

Their eighth album, St Anger, followed a six-year production break and bassist Jason Newsted’s departure. Directed by first-timers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the film was intended to document the album’s production.

What ensues, though, is something quite unexpected. You see, a lot has happened in six years and, combined with Newsted’s departure, stints in rehab and mid-life crises, the three remaining band members are quite the dysfunctional bunch. So psychotherapist cum “performance-enhancing coach” Phil Towle is brought in to help the trio work through their differences so they can get on with the job of producing another album stroke comeback.

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Written by Darren Smith

13 January 2010 at 8:09 pm

Film | La Notte (1961)

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No one does ennui with such effortless chic and glamour as the Italians. It’s no less true for this beautiful portrait of hubris from auteur director Michelangelo Antonioni. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the art of cinema at its best.

La Notte (The Night) follows estranged married couple Lidia (the superb Jeanne Moreau) and writer Giovanni Pontano (Marcello Mastroianni). It opens with the couple visiting a mutual friend on his deathbed – not even the company of death can move Lidia or Giovanni together. The film then follows them until dawn the next day.

To recount the plot feels ridiculous and incredibly insufficient because this movie really stands outside our conventional experience of cinema. It’s not driven by narrative or plot. Which is not to say there isn’t one, just that it’s not driving the car.

Because the plot is backseat, everything else has room to move – things like the jazz score, photography, design, mood and location.

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Written by Darren Smith

10 January 2010 at 10:12 pm

I’m Gonna Start a Rock’n’Roll Group

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Well, actually, I’m not. But, in 1957, John Lennon did. The band was called The Quarrymen and the rest is history, as they say.

Nowhere Boy, a new film and directorial debut for Sam Taylor-Wood, chronicles the teen years of Lennon and the set-up of skiffle band The Quarrymen, later to become The Beatles. Lennon is played by Aaron Johnson, with Kristen Scott-Thomas playing his Aunt Mimi.

The film is based on the book Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother John Lennon by Lennon’s half-sister Julia Baird.

Opens in Australian cinemas on 26 December 09.

Written by Darren Smith

30 November 2009 at 11:11 pm