Frantz (2016)



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)


“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

The Swell Season (2011)


The delightful, tiny film Once thrust musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová into the spotlight when they won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2008 for Falling Slowly. The Swell Season is the name of the band they formed and toured around the world as well as this quiet and genuine B&W documentary that follows the ups and downs of their personal and professional relationship in the aftermath of their success. Continue reading

Fukushima, Mon Amour (Grüße aus Fukushima) (2016)


Screening as part of the German Film Festival (that finishes this week in Melbourne), Doris Dörrie writes and directs this homage to the Alain Resnais film Hiroshima Mon Amour and a love letter to the people of Fukushima. Shot in black and white, this begins as a slight tale of a German girl, Marie (Rosalie Thomass), trying to escape her memories amongst those cast adrift in the wastelands of Fukushima, two years after the earthquake and nuclear disaster. Continue reading

Embrace of the Serpent (El Abrazo de la Serpiente) (2015)


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I recommend seeing a film you know nothing about on a Sunday morning. I was the only person in one of Nova’s subterranean cinemas for this black and white Colombian journey into the Amazon and a history of cultural decimation. There are two overlapping stories, both of white scientists on a search for a rare healing plant, guided through the jungle by loner Karamakate and separated by 30 years. Continue reading

Sound and Fury (Khashm Va Hayahoo) (2016)


sound-and-furyI love film festivals. The weekend I chose to be in Melbourne, the Iranian Film festival just happened to be on. As my loyal readers will know, I have a penchant for Iranian films – Rhino Season, Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Crimson Gold, The Past, A Separation, Radio Dreams, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. And at festivals you end up seeing films you know nothing about, that will probably never get a release in Australia. A risk, yes, but a risk worth taking for this surprising film that I chose only because of its time slot and the beautiful B&W image above. Continue reading