Responses: Part 1
I was asked to pen some reviews this year to be published on TV3's online diary for the festival. I'm half-way through and enjoying feeling so inspired! These are presented in the order I saw them, thanks Film3!

Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest (1959)

Suave Madison Avenue man Roger Thornhill boasts, “There’s no such thing as a lie in advertising.” But he soon appreciates truth after being mistaken for a crook, framed for murder then chased across the country in a game of cat-and-mouse. A seductive blonde with an indifference to authority sets the pair on a series of coincidences and near misses with Police. With a stereotypically handsome face Thornhill is both favoured and forgotten throughout his travels. This tends to work in his favour, comically eluding the FBI repeatedly despite making newspaper headlines.

North By Northwest is imbued with a sense of delayed urgency–Thornhill must find this alleged identity to prove his own, but is in no rush, enjoying what happens along the way. I too, found myself affable to such delay with shots like this..!

There’s beautiful juxtaposition between tightly packed places and wide-open spaces, sustained shots in Grand Central Station emphasising the anonymity crowds and strangers afford. 

The official trailer here.
TV3 festival diary post here

James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now, based on the novel by Tim Tharp (2013)
Praised by many, ranked third in the Sundance Critics poll and even alleged that John Hughes ‘would be proud.’ As the name suggests, The Spectacular Now is a coming-of-age film addressing the difference between living in the now and simply living for it.

This story is based on the book by Tim Tharp and is a refreshing take on the peaks and shadowed-valleys of the ever-explored adolescent experience. 

Of her character in the film, actor Shailene Woodley says, "Teenagers are smart. They're intelligent human beings. They have a brain, they have a heart, they have emotions. And a lot of films I don't think accurately portray that, they kind of dumb [teenagers] down and this film lets that natural intelligence shine through."
It feels raw and unaffected; like the first time you hear vinyl or make your own soup from scratch. 

The teen-centric story captures the tension between anticipation and reluctance to grow up in a candid, uncontrived way. 

 “Everybody’s telling me to move on, I don’t see what’s so great about becoming an adult… Are you happy?”
Set in a culture which fetishises youth, The Spectacular Now sits perfectly between young people entirely content with the present and those desperate to protract formative years.

The official trailer here.
Director James Ponsoldt speaks here

Alex Gibney's We Steal Secrets: The story of WikiLeaks (2013)

If you want a balanced account of this century’s most vital and complex political scandal, you’ll like this one. This is the story of WikiLeaks from humble beginnings, it follows the group’s resilience and eventual disintegration. 

I think this film could have done better with some stricter editing. 

The narrative focuses on founder Julian Assange with whistle-blower Bradley Manning and offers a range of perspectives, from admiring hackers to those who consider Assange a terrorist. The documentary as a whole was insightful and detail driven but at times felt repetitive. I got bored in being continually reminded that the internet is not a good place for secrets

Depicted as freedom-fighters addicted to transparency, parts of the WikiLeaks’ representation felt sensationalised to me. This film is rewarding if you’re interested in a hugely relevant topic, but feel you’ve perhaps got a few gaps in your knowledge surrounding the WikiLeaks phenomenon as a whole.
In the end it's the story you already know: Julian Assange vs. the world. 

The official trailer here.
TV3 festival diary post here.
Noted transcription of the film here.

Sally Porter’s Ginger & Rosa (2012)
“We had a dream that we would always be best friends.”
This is, quite literally, an arresting account of two teenage girls whose friendship becomes glaringly fraught after first transcending so much.

Kiwi-born Alice Englert plays Rosa, very much holding her own against a superbly hypnotising Elle Fanning as best-friend, Ginger.

Fanning’s performance felt strikingly restrained, her reticence in no way indicative of what was going on inside Ginger’s head. She brought much needed depth to what could otherwise have been a forgettable role. Her brooding, self-reflective nature was intensified by the narrative backdrop of a very real nuclear threat in felt in 1960’s London. The wider global disarray an exceptional metaphor mirroring the complete disintegration of a family, imminent from the outset.

It’s in no way all doom and gloom.

There are perfect matching outfits, repeated hitch-hiking with unpromising strangers, collective shrinking of denim pants and the ironing of disheveled hair with actual iron. 

The colours, patterns, the wonderful cold feeling. 

It all strung together to deliver a painfully beautiful, chilling depiction of the love and loss felt in best-friendship.

The official trailer here
Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo (2013)

A dream, a delight.

‘Truman-show’-esque and wonderfully grotesque. Think ‘The Borrowers’, ‘Lemony Snicket’, meets ‘Scott Pilgram Vs. The World’.

The narrative is build on layers of absurdity, like being swept away on a rollercoaster without any foreseeable track. It’s the result of incongruous fantasy colliding with the everyday mundane.

Candy-floss cakes, appointment diaries constructed from Rubik's cubes, shoes which must be tamed before wear.  I spent the opening sequence reveling in the aesthetics instead of trying to discern any sort of meaning. 

It was hypnotising and I could not stop smiling. 

Yet somehow scene to scene there’s seamless integration between animation, projection, human interaction, illustration. The colours, the shapes, the captivating and uncouth French voices. (Subtitled).

Sequences are pacy – flawless comic timing between Tautou, Duris and Sy. 

It is the most bizarre and beautiful piece of film I have ever seen. Heart-warming and breaking, an entire audience roars before sobbing their way home. 

If you see one film this festival, make it Mood Indigo.

The official English subtitled trailer here.
TV3 festival diary post here.


No comments:

Post a Comment