The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'miff'


The Melbourne International Film Festival is upon us yet again, and I'll be going to see rather a lot of films over the next few weeks. This evening I went to see Contraptions, a double session of short films, featuring the new Wallace & Gromit Cracking Contraptions shorts and Bruce Petty's ABC-funded Human Contraptions animations. The Bruce Petty shorts were a bit disappointing; it wasn't the content that was the problem (they had some insights about the world we live in), but the waffly, semi-incoherent way it was delivered, full of non-sequiturs, gross factual errors (probably made deliberately out of a spirit of irreverence or "larrikinism" or something) and annoyingly insipid technobabble (the gimmick was that everything from sex to politics was described as a vaguely Rube Goldbergesque machine; this consisted of tacking on the words "module" and "unit" to various things). I'm half wondering whether the vacuousness was required in the ABC's impartiality contract as a condition of giving Petty (a known Communist of the old school) this series and/or fending off reprisals from Senator Alston's Inquisition.

The Wallace & Gromit shorts were a lot better, IMHO. Alas, I missed the first few, as the queue at the ticket pick-up office didn't move for a very long time. I managed to get a free ticket to another film for my trouble though.

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I saw three films today. First up was an amusing English short titled Knit Your Own Karma. This would best be described as Wallace & Gromit meet Brazil, or perhaps something by Jeunet and Caro. It's set in a world of English terrace houses that will be familiar to Aardman fans, only with a slightly dystopian twist, and a good dose of fantasy. Then was an amusing German comedy titled Mein Bruder Der Vampir (aka "Getting My Brother Laid"), about a 30-year-old retarded man who falls in love with his brother's girlfriend (despite being completely inept in that area of human relations), and his 14-year-old sister who develops a crush on a gang leader. As you can imagine, lots of awkwardness ensues. The feel of this film was modern and slick, with sharp editing (and good use of split-screens and camera tracking through walls) and an electronic soundtrack.

After that I saw Peter Weir's 1974 classic The Cars That Ate Paris. For those who haven't seen it, it's about a young man who has a car accident and ends up in a NSW country town where everything seems to be connected to car accidents. The town has that sort of picturesquely rustic look of small Australian country towns, yet with a sense of being a little too isolated. Before long, it emerges that there's something oppressive and creepy going on (insert the usual clichés about the miasma of horror and decay lurking beneath the placid surface here). Bizarre medical experiments, gangs of young rural hooligans in gaudily painted cars and a somewhat creepy mayor all appear, as does a classic country-town ball scene, with some genuinely bad musical accompaniment. All in all, The Cars That Ate Paris is a classic, and should be classed alongside the works of Cronenberg and Lynch and perhaps Peter Jackson's early works.

Anyway, got to rush off now to see 24 Hour Party People.

film miff peter weir the cars that ate paris 3


Last night, I went to the Melbourne International Film Festival screening of a rather strange film titled Every Day God Kisses Us On The Mouth. It's from Romania, shot in black and white and rather bleak. It's about a man coming home after many years in prison; then bad things happen, he travels around rootlessly, and ends up killing more people. I get the feeling that, had Nick Cave come from the Balkans, he could well have come up with stories like this.

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