Frantz (2016)

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Some films seep into your bones and only slowly fade away. I wasn’t expecting this François Ozon film to have such poignancy. On the surface it seems conventional, not withstanding its artful and at first unnoticed shifts from black-and-white to colour. In a German village in 1919, families are freshly wounded from the recent war and anti-French emotions run high. Bereaved Anna (Paula Beer), whose fiance Frantz died on the front line, regularly visits his grave. One day she finds fresh flowers there and discovers that a French man, Adrien (Pierre Niney), is also marking his grief at the grave. Continue reading

The Bad Seed (1956)

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“What will you give me for a basket of kisses? A basket of kisses? Why I’ll give you a basket of hugs.” A discussion with two good friends lead to an afternoon where each brought along their favourite ‘bad movie’. Bad movies are the ones you love to watch, even though you know they fail to meet many standards of cinematic quality. I had never heard of the 1956 The Bad Seed; it is based on a successful Broadway play and from where Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds took its name. What a melodramatic gem it is; predating Hitchcock’s Psycho in its Freudian exploration of horror that comes from within a family. Continue reading

Women Who Kill (2016)

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The closing night Melbourne Queer Film Festival film had me the moment I saw it starred Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night). It is writer, director and star, Ingrid Jungermann, though who steals the show. This is a comedy, albeit a dark one. Morgan (Jungermann) and Jean (Ann Carr) host a regular podcast called ‘Women Who Kill’ about female serial killers. They are exes who seem like an old married couple; they bicker and banter until Morgan meets the mysterious Simone (Vand) at the food co-op she volunteers for.  Continue reading

Lovesong (2016)

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Image via MIFF

Lovesong is one of the films I missed at MIFF and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival has given me another chance to see it. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but I loved this sparse, quiet tale of the significant loves we have in our lives and what steers our choices. Continue reading

Fireworks Wednesday (2006)

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Written and directed in 2006 by Iranian Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Past, The Salesman) this story of a young, engaged, Tehrani woman as she becomes embroiled in a failing marriage has his signature style. We are immersed in the minutiae of an ordinary day with with one character, in this case Roohi (Taraneh Alidoosti – Elly in About Elly and Rana in The Salesman), who is a catalyst and the pivot point around which the story revolves. Continue reading

Sleeping Beauty (2011)

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Image via thevacantpage.com

Not the Disney film. Definitely not the Disney film. This surreal meditation on the fragility of one young woman is a mannered but metaphorically profound film by Australian director Julia Leigh. Don’t expect titillation, as many seem to from a superficial reading of the synopsis; university student Lucy begins work at an exclusive club where wealthy men can spend the night with her while she is drugged asleep. Continue reading