Saturday, May 30, 2009

St, Kilda Film Festival 2

These are a collection of local films screening in competition (in other sessions) at the festival that share a theme of old age. My pick of them is Fallen and Lover's Walk and the other two (both documentaries) did little for me. In fact, I allowed myself to doze off during Royboys, not necessarily a reflection of the film but rather, my disinterest in football and my lack of sleep.
  • Fallen (Mark Priems, 17’50”)
  • Lover's Walk (Abigail Hargrave,15’47”)
  • The People's Plot (Mikael Bones Olsen, 12’27”)
  • Royboys (Brett Swain, Michael Wannenmacher, 27’52”)

These films are a selection from the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival.
  • Skhizein (Jérémy Clapin, 13'10")
  • Forbach (Claire Burger, 35’)
  • Dix (Bif, 7’)
  • Citizen Versus Cane (Severi Shun, 18’)
  • Lila (Broadcast Club, 12'30")
Skhizein is a clever and entertaining animated short that I really relate to. It's an exploration of the concept of matter and its occupation of time and space. When a meteor strikes Henry, his physicality is displaced by 91 cm and he must retrain himself to act in a parallel reality. As a film, it's visually compelling but its novelty belies the thoughtfulness of the concept. I remember as a teenager being amazed at how we fill a certain space at a certain time, and I used to imagine that space leaving a trail as I, for example, travelled in the 67 tram to school. It was all part of my life-long quest to understand consciousness and the nature of the universe, which this film also alludes to in a humorous way.

Forbach completely fooled me until the end. I truly thought it was a documentary about Samuel, a famous TV actor, returning to his small town, Forbach, to visit his family and to receive town honours. Things don't go well and we can see why Samuel doesn't visit often. His mother is an alcoholic and his brother has been in the wrong crowd. Very cleverly made.

Dix (literally, ten) also recalls something from my childhood, the fear of stepping on pavement lines. My mother used to tell me to watch out for the boogey man, and I often had nightmares about it. In this film, Marc has the same phobia, multiplied many times and has ghastly visions of the consequences that recall Vincenzo Natali's Cube.

Citizen Versus Cane has English actors speaking English but it's a French crew. It's a fairly formulaic comedy and OK, but nothing special. Lila is without dialogue, a visual compilation of people on summer vacation. Again, OK, but nothing special. The Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival is one of the most reputed short film festivals in the world, screening some 500 French films, and I find it hard to believe that some of these are among the pick of the festival.

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