Responses: Part 2

Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's Frances Ha (2012)

“Sometimes it’s good to do what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it.”

If you’re bored with bromance, here’s an expertly crafted story about the platonic friendship of two young women. Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig collaborated on the screenplay to present this refreshing depiction of modern-day female friendship. With an expectation of amusing best-friend filled moments and well coordinated outfits, I was disappointed to find little optimistic interaction between the girls. Their friendship was fractured, one-sided and sad.
Physiologically stranded in college, Frances is unwilling to see past her friend’s reluctance to reciprocate their closeness. With a love so awkwardly unrequited, it hurt to watch some sequences play out. 

Shot beautifully in black and white, the lighting was perfect and shot choices exact, much of the comedy extracted from Frances’ clumsy physicality captured delightfully in full-bodied frames. Set in New York with a distinct Woody Allen and French New Wave flavour, Frances Ha felt youthful, exuberant and tinged with just enough sadness to keep the narrative realistic.

TV3 festival diary post here

NZ Best Shorts (2013)
I'm Going To Mum's
Friday Tigers
Here Now

The short film section is the only competitive strand in the festival, beginning last year to raise the profile of young Kiwi film makers. 2013 saw 12 entries picked from 92 before the final cut of 6 were shown. Directors and their representatives lurked nervously in the crowd before each giving a sentence of thanks to us for coming. I was very much struck by how humble these people were. “Here Now” (featured) was crowd sourced on a $4,000 budget. “Blind Mice” is a student honours project. “I’m going to Mum’s” (featured) had the most articulate, composed and adorable eight year-old spokesman, a film which actually ended up being a stand-out for me. The 12-minute poignant comedy was written and directed by Lauren Jackson, with a series of brilliant shots and a captivating, off-beat soundtrack. Overall, and I imagine I’m not unique in this, I left the screening eager to see what some of these young up-and-comers will do next. 

TV3 festival diary post here.

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin's Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013)
If you were in Moscow February 21 last year, you might have caught a surprise show feminist punk band Pussy Riot put on at The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

This film is the jarring account of that performance, including the reverberating consequences of what ensued, with global support ranging from online to Madonna's stage.

In fervent opposition to the union of Church and the State, Pussy Riot consider themselves part of the global anti-capitalist movement. The narrative follows three band members’ arrests, with a focus on the twisted link between religion and misogyny; those categorically incapable to forgive nor forget featured in damning observational footage. Interviews with the girls depict them as indifferent bordering on insolent, yet fiercely articulate, their summative defence pieces particularly chilling. 

The crux of the documentary speaks of the injustice of the bands’ actions labeled as sin, not political action, and the integration of social media (tweets presented on-screen) worked well in weaving sequences together. This film felt fuelled with deep resentment, but left an indelible impression on me with an impressive level of investigation into a marred piece of recent history.

The official trailer here.
TV3 festival diary post here

Sophia Coppola's The Bling Ring (2013)  
 I had been eagerly anticipating this and Sophia Coppola did not disappoint!

Scarily based on true events, The Bling Ring focuses on a group of celebrity obsessed young adults who fall into crime with alarming acceptance. Amid substance abuse and vacuous compliments, these people are enamored with plastic, infatuated with the celebrities they burgle from and completely detached from reality. 

If it sounds like reality television in a feature film, it's not. Coppola depicts a story about more than seemingly rich kids with fake friends, presenting a fascinating look into the indictment of the want it now attitude of those who'd rather take than earn or understand consequences. 

Emma Watson was a stand out for me, nailing her character's cringingly sick fascination for celebrity lifestyle and a wonderfully awful Los Angeles accent. 

I think the saddest part of this film is you walk away feeling like you know, or may have met, some of the characters.  

Teaser trailer here.

Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Prepare for a strong asphyxiation of cool in this brooding, moody film from Jim Jarmusch; a self-conscious depiction of connubial bliss between two creatures who’ve remained in love across centuries. Detached, indifferent and completely out of step with the modern world, I think Jarmusch’s own known artistic tastes emerge here to explore devotion and culture from the luxurious perspective of immortality, as Adam and Eve are refined vampires. Adam, a laconic recluse and nonchalant musician performs in sharp contrast to a wonderfully spirited Eve. Exquisitely they hoard “the good stuff” and complain about human stupidity leading to increased blood disease. The film feels reclusive, unhurried and fixated, aligning perfectly with the ambient and zoned-out preferences Jarmusch has been known to exhibit in previous work. The night-time sequences of a desperate, desolate Detroit and bewitchingly beautiful backstreets of Tangiers felt wholly supported by a ethereal soundtrack. I sat with unshakable intent before the credits flew and I floated home.

TV3 festival diary post here.


Thanks very much again to Film3 for getting me to the festival!
I feel inspired and excited.


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