Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Week in Review

School holidays are here, the French Film Festival is over, Melbourne Cinémathèque screened a number of shorts rather than feature films and there's not much of interest in the new releases. What do you do? Well, I checked out theatre, re-watched Paris je t'aime (on DVD) and basically had a bit of a break from film this week. Feel free to offer any comments.

  • Wittgenstein Tractatus (35 min, Péter Forgács, 1992)
  • Meanwhile Somewhere... 1940-43 (52 min, Péter Forgács, 1994)
  • Parallel Space: Inter-View (18 min, Peter Tscherkassky, 1992)
  • Almodovóvar on Almodovóvar (Revised edition, 2006, Frédéric Strauss)
  • Rabbit Hole (Writ: David Lindsay Abaire, Dir: Naomi Edwards, Red Stitch Theatre)

Melbourne Cinémathèque

The short films above screened as part of this week's Cinémathèque programming. I didn't stay the whole night as I was still recovering from the sleep deprivation that the previous week's film count of eleven produced. And I couldn't justify another late night with films that didn't grab me (with the exception of
Meanwhile Somewhere... 1940-43, a compilation of home movies that depict the horrors and inequity of fascism).

The Namesake
While dealing with the emigration to New York from Calcutta, this film deals with the fairly universal themes of dislocation, isolation and alienation that accompany a move to a new country. It is an accessible film of some substance, as you'd expect from the director of Monsoon Wedding.

The family depicted was fairly liberal, both in terms of the members remaining behind accepting the migration, as well as the migrating couple's acceptance of their children's American traits. They retain traces of their culture, associating with other Bengalis, but accept that their children are Americans.

It must have been a new experience for the Indian cast members to weather the US winter, and it certainly looked severe for them on screen. Emotionally there was much warmth and various difficulties were well-depicted.

Though the themes of this film were in some respects less 'light' than Monsoon Wedding, the finished product wasn't quite as successful. The second half seemed to struggle with maintaining consistency and didn't engage as well as the first half. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable film that would appeal to fairly mainstream audiences, and especially those of migrant background or anyone interested in ethnicity.

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