The writings of Bill Mousoulis
Preview - 47th Sydney Film Festival
June 9 - 23, 2000
As I write this, the
Sydney Film Festival is a few days away from beginning. I have managed
to catch one of the films to play at it, and here are my quick impressions
As you can see from the above, I can't unfortunately report that the new Wong Kar-wai will be at the Sydney fest. (Fingers crossed that it will appear at Melbourne.) Or the Kiarostami (from last year - how slow are we?), or the Kitano (Kikujiro), or the ... you get the picture.
A couple of the retrospectives look good though, here's the blurb from the festival program:
Max Ophuls (1902-1957)
began his career as an actor, but soon gravitated to directing. His earliest
work was produced in his native Germany, but the Ophuls left his homeland
in the mid-1930s, and spent several years making films in France, Italy
and Holland before settling in Hollywood in 1941. At the top of his form
he returned to France in the 1950s creating his final masterpieces. Ophuls
has been described as excessively romantic but this never detracts from
the unique dramatic style of his films. His thematic concerns of women
being repressed by the rigid morality of a hypocritical society are not
unique. However, the manner by which he captured the lushness of his decor
turned his films into ornate and seductive masterpieces. His camera was
incredibly fluid, constantly moving in an intoxicating array of tracking
shots, crane shots, tilts and pans and sensuously caressing the luxurious
baroque textures of the timeless world in which his characters moved.
'He gave camera movement its finest hours in the history of the cinema,'
wrote critic Andrew Sarris. Actor James Mason also commented 'a shot that
does not call for tracks is agony for poor old Max'.
Alan Clarke - A Retrospective When he died aged 54 in 1990, Alan Clarke was, arguably, Britain's most influential, but least seen film-maker, his main body of work having been designed for television in an era when British cinema was alive and well on the small screen. A film-maker of extraordinary muscularity and humanity, whose films could be compared with those of Robert Bresson, Clarke took inspiration from the hard stuff of, often institutionalised, life. And from the suburban teenage junkies in Christine, the Borstal hard cases in Scum, the squaddies on border patrol in Northern Ireland in Contact, he commented specifically on lives made - and broken - in Britain. The legacy of Clarke's work, which launched the acting careers of Britain's finest young acting talent - Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels, David Thewlis and Jane Horrocks - has found new voice as the "class of Clarke" step into the director's chair themselves, as evidenced by Gary Oldman's acclaimed directorial debut Nil by Mouth (and Tim Roth's The War Zone), both of which bear all the hallmarks of the Clarke style:" raw, gritty and uncompromising". - Richard Kelly, Edinburgh Film Festival, 1998. The screenings will be introduced by Corin Campbell Hill who worked as first assistant director on Alan's later films.
FILMS SCREENING: Scum Beloved Enemy Psy-Warriors Made In Britain Contact Christine Rita, Sue And Bob Too Road Elephant The Firm
Opening Night film is Jonathan Teplitzky's debut feature"Better than Sex", starring Susie Porter and David Wenham. Closing Night extravaganza will present the Australian premieres of Mark Lamprell's "My Mother Frank", and Stephen Frear's "High Fidelity".
Hottest new international features Shorts from tomorrow's film hereos Provocative documentaries Fascinating retrospectives Max Ophuls Alan Clarke Cutting-edge new media Exciting new work in our New Directors Series Compelling Forums Program of new Dutch cinema
The following films look worth catching:
Beau Travail -
© Bill Mousoulis June 2000
This review first appeared in Senses of Cinema, No.7, June 2000.