Funan (2018)

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Image via miff.com.au

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The Killing Fields (1984) was an influential movie for me. I was 19 when it came out and it was my first experience of the atrocities of Pol Pot in Cambodia and the eradication of 2 million people. Funan covers the same story, focusing on one family who are forced to flee Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge (or Angkar). Continue reading

Chris the Swiss (2018)

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Image via miff.com.au

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Although unalike in style and purpose, this inventive blend of animation, interviews and live footage reminds me of Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog in its approach to subjective documentary. Filmmaker and animator Anja Kofmel creates a story around her cousin Christian Würtenberg, who was a journalist and sometime mercenary, killed under mysterious circumstances in Croatia in the early 90s. Continue reading

Loving Vincent (2017)

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Like an episode of Midsomer Murders but painted, this misguided commodification of the art of Vincent Van Gogh is devoid of any real exploration of the artist or his art. Proudly stating upfront that each frame has been hand painted, the gimmick is at first intriguing but soon becomes a distraction. It can’t hide the insubstantial plot, dodgy accents and lack of drama. Continue reading

Ancien and the Magic Tablet

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Image via japanesefilmfestival.net

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It was a feelgood Sunday for me at the Japanese Film Festival with two charmers – My Uncle and this animation that also showed at MIFF this year. Aimed at kids, it is a two-layered story about Kokone (voiced by Mitsuki Takahata), whose father Momo (Yôsuke Eguchi) repairs cars, and Princess Ancien, whose magic tablet allows her to give life to objects in the beleaguered kingdom of Heartland. Continue reading