Saturday, July 25, 2009

MIFF 2009 Day 1 - Opening Night

I decided not to attend Opening Night for a couple of reasons: most significantly, I'd seen the opening film, Balibo - check out my short review - and didn't feel like seeing it again. Last year I'd regretted not seeing a couple of other festival films rather than go through the whole Opening Night thing: it starts late, then there's speech after speech (Victorian Premier, Lord Mayor, major sponsor, MIFF board and director, etc). Unfortunately that wasn't an option this year (economically unfeasible was the answer to my query) so I figured I'd let my complimentary double pass be made available to a willing paying member of the public (the event was long sold out), and I'd get an early night. Late night drinking isn't my thing anyway, party or not, and I've hardly touched alcohol since my motorcycle accident in January. I didn't really get an early night anyway.

So, did you go to Opening Night? What did you think of the film and proceedings? I seem to be largely alone in my less than enthusiastic response to Balibo, just like I seem to be largely alone in my enthusiastic response to The Limits of Control. I hope and think Balibo will do well with a broader, post-festival audience.

Today I attended two films and In Conversation with Anna Karina, which I hope to post about tomorrow.


Toby said...

Paul, I did attend opening night and I found myself sitting right next to Paul Cox! I thought Balibo was good but not great. I felt the ending quite moving where the film clicked for me. I think it should do quite well. I can't help thinking this may have been better as a TV mini-series over 2-3 nights as I felt some of the politics too simplified and it needed more time to set that side of things up. Overall, good movie, top performance.

Paul Martin said...

That's an interesting comment re: mini-series, Toby. I suppose Balibo being political is the sort of thing we normally associate with a telemovie. I normally shy away from those and prefer it as a cinema release. While the politics may be simplified, it has more impact on the big screen and - especially - without ads. TV is informative, but lacks emotional impact.

The end of the film is where it all comes together for me, and I was perhaps willing to overlook some of what I saw as the earlier weaknesses.