Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Week in Review - 5/10/08

Just a quick byte tonight. This is all time permits.

FILMS
  • Le fils de l'épicier (The Grocer's Son, Eric Guirado, France, 2007)
  • Medium Cool (Haskell Wexler, USA, 1969)
  • Petulia (Richard Lester, UK, 1968)
  • Davandeh (The Runner, Amir Naderi, Iran, 1985)
  • Khaneh-ye doost kojast? (Where is My Friend's House?, Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1987)
THEATRE
  • Just Macbeth (written by Andy Griffiths, directed by Wayne Harrison, Playhouse Theatre)

The Grocer's Son
This is a French crowd-pleaser that should... dare I say... please crowds. My family liked it but for me it was just "meh". It's a meandering story, city boy goes back to his hometown in the provinces to help out with the family grocery business when the father falls ill. There's an attractive female who looks uncannily like Delta Goodrem and an array of idiosyncratic locals. Nice for a social night out, but nothing special. My main complaints are that it's too predictable and, like The Visitor, it lacks any genuine dramatic tension.

Medium Cool
An impressive film, edgy for it's time (or any time really) and the manner in which it captures a defining event is extraordinary. Wexler has crafted a fitting homage to the profession of cinematography (his normal line of work). Not without its faults, but compelling nonetheless. It screened as part of Melbourne Cinémathèque's season of Cinema '68: The Whole World is Watching, and indeed "the whole world is watching" is a line from the film. Medium Cool was an excellent selection for this season, a quintessential piece that encapsulates the political turmoil of the time. The film was complemented by the screening of Chiefs, a short documentary about crowd control devices in the wake of the Chicago convention featured in Medium Cool.

Petulia
A fairly whimsical film that lacks the bite of Medium Cool (they screened together at Cinémathèque) but is enjoyable enough.

The Runner
An impressive film with some intriguing elements. The final visuals are quite extraordinary.

Where is My Friend's House?
I have a lot of affection for Iranian cinema. I also love the frequent telling of stories from a child's perspective. Maybe I've seen too many that have used the same theme as this one, as I found it a little repetitive (even though it was made before most of those I have seen). It's a worthy film, in fact, more than a worthy film. But I felt like I'd seen much of it before. I brought my son to this (at 7, a similar age to the protagonists) and he enjoyed it. This is an aspect I like about Iranian films.

Just Macbeth
The third row (at the Playhouse) might ordinarily not be the best position for a live performance, but for this children's theatre, it was where the action was. The kid (7 years old) loves the writing of Andy Griffiths, so the common style evident in this performance was right up his alley. He laughed and laughed, learning a little about Macbeth (the play) and Shakespeare in general. Heck, even I learnt what a soliloquy is. Great fun!

4 comments:

Brad Nguyen said...

I skipped the Grocer's Son because it looked like everything that is wrong with the arthouse market: Too many light, inoffensive French movies while more intriguing films and directors get ignored. (I'm still kind of bitter that Snow Angels from last year's MIFF got no play here in Australia).

Paul Martin said...

Snow Angels, now there is a film that I'd love to see get a release. Seeing it towards the end of MIFF last year, it was a welcome change to many art-house films didn't seem able to differentiate themselves from one another. After seeing it, I was sure it would get a release as it should have been easy to market with both the look of the film and the big names in it.

chris said...

The young entrepreneur brought out Grocer's Son. I wanted to see what you had to see about it, I missed it, unless it is still playing.

chris

nb guess the "kid" aint that young, and it is a bit patronising to refer to him as above. Still support his films tho, when I can.

Paul Martin said...

The Grocer's Son is still on at the Como, Chris. It's OK, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. I've seen 4 of Jump Street's releases; I didn't bother with the Simon Wiesenthal doco, I Have Never Forgotten You.