Having given Balibo a whopping 5 stars (and I don't know how that's justified), I'm a little bemused by Jim Schembri's 1/2 star for Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control and, furthermore, his description of the film in today's Age as a 'blockbuster':
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince enjoyed a second weekend at No.1 with a massive haul of $6.46 million across 510 screens for a total of $29.6 million. This was despite the opening of the new Jim Jarmusch blockbuster The Limits of Control, which managed $28,999 on five screens.[p.18 in the Arts section under 'Box office' - as yet not online; emphasis is mine]
Now, though I loved The Limits of Control (which you may have gleaned from my review), I'd hardly call it a blockbuster. It really is a niche film and Jarmusch is a niche director. That the film is showing on a measly five screen pretty much confirms that. And how can a film screening on five arthouse screens take a dent out of a mainstream blockbuster screening on over one hundred times the number of screens, largely the big multiplexes?
Opening on the eve of MIFF was always going to hurt the film's box office in Melbourne, because the target audience is largely focused on the mega-circus that is MIFF. It's a pity, because it's a better film than anything I've seen yet at MIFF (13 films to date).
This new Australian film by Serhat Caradee opens on limited release today and my preoccupation with MIFF has prevented me from reviewing it in more detail. It depicts the struggle of immigrant families in contemporary society. I often connect with this subject, though Australian films tackling these themes in recent years have usually failed to have the authenticity and dramatic tension that Cedar Boys achieves.
The film is nicely photographed and well-acted. The dialogue in particular is excellent, very real. Hopefully Cedar Boys will find an audience. The lack of marketing and the timing (mid-MIFF) isn't working in its favour, so if you're steering clear of the MIFF crowds, this is one to look out for - just be quick; it may not be around for long. Check out the official website.
Lake Mungo, another Australian film, opens today. There's a Q&A session with the cast and crew 6.30pm tonight at the George cinema.
For your post-MIFF fix, you may want to put the following into your calendars:
- 16 August: Gruber's Journey at ACMI
- 18 - 20 August: Indonesian Film Festival at ACMI
- 19 - 26 August: Russian Resurrection Film Festival at the Como
- 21 - 30 August: Melbourne Writer's Festival at ACMI
- 25 - 30 August: Israeli Film Festival at Como and Brighton Bay cinemas
- 27 - 30 August: Anna May Wong on Film at ACMI
- 3 - 30 September: AFI Professional Members' screenings at ACMI
- 4 September & 2 October: Red Hot Shorts at ACMI
- 10 - 15 September: The Bicycle Thief at ACMI
- 16 September - 5 October: Italian Film Festival
- 17 - 27 September: Focus on Australian Noir at ACMI