Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Swerve, Norwegian Wood, and Face To Face

Having missed a total of 5 Melbourne International Film Festival sessions because of my missed flight/delayed boat, I finally got to my first movie on the Monday after the cruise. MIFF continues to be one of the best things about Melbourne in Winter!

Swerve caught my eye in the Aussie Showcase section, when booking up my 10 plus 3 sessions for my e-mini Pass this year, with the Aussie actor who featured in the final season of ER (David Lyons). Introduced by the producer and director, and bringing a couple of the actors to the mike for this intro, including Vince Colosimo, the energy and excitement for the film was pretty big! And big the film was - this movie has it all, from drug heist to Wolf Creek like moments, to train escapes and a heap of pretty amusing deaths. Set in outback Australia, in a small town where our protagonist gets stuck after going to report an accident....and finds himself quickly entwined with the towns tangled community. Perhaps with too much in it, this film was fun and funny.

The next night after working in the Melbourne office to ensure I could get to my MIFF sessions (priorities!!), I saw back to back sessions, which also included the run from the Forum up the hill to the Greater Union complex. All part of the Festival!

Adapted from the book, the dreamy Norwegian Wood depicted Haruki Murakami's coming of age story. Beautiful cinematography from Mark Lee Ping Bin, of In the Mood for Love fame, added to the dreamy flow of the story and the character's journey through loss, love and depression.

One of my favourite films from this years viewing was next, being another Aussie movie, Face To Face. Based on 'actual case notes', it reads in the intro, this film depicts the attempt at resolving an assault by an employee on his employer, without involving the courts - so, through a face to face mediation-style session. Matthew Newton stars as the facilitator of this session, and is brilliant - perhaps there was some method acting training he was drawing on from his own brushes with the legal system.

Essentially, this gathering of employee, his mother and a friend for support, and then his employer, his wife, the foreman of the worksite, and a handful of other parties from his workplace, the aim is to talk it out, and come to a solution. But, as Aussie culture and workplaces are, there is so much bubbling under the surface that is gradually revealed, that our facilitator seems at times to be out of his depth...and yet, manages to pull it back, and work through each crucial point. Racism, bullying, infidelity and the life backgrounds we all bring to our workplaces that impact our every day actions. It's going to be released in limited cinemas in a month, and I recommend it! A great, and powerful movie about the undercurrents impacting on our society.

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