My CIFF Diary – Day One

My passion for film has reignited since I arrived in Australia just over a year ago after spending the best part of 12 years living overseas with no access to a regular cinema.  I have spent the last year reacquainting myself with the cinema experience as well as introducing myself slowly into the online world of movie related geekery.  It was here that I read Ryan McNeil (from the always informative and insightful The Matinee)  account of attending the Toronto International Film Festival, as well numerous Australian bloggers who attended both the Sydney and Melbourne film festivals.

Their experiences sounded incredible, so it was fair to say that I was quite excited about attending the 16th Canberra International Film Festival (CIFF), which whilst not on the same scale as others, still boasted 60 films from 30 different countries.  Additionally, this was not only my first time attending CIFF but it was also my first ever festival.  There was lots to look forward to.

I skipped the opening gala evening and showing of Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share, as it was over $50 a ticket, which seemed a little extreme, so my CIFF kicked off on the second day with two screenings at the beautiful, yet contemporary, Arc Cinema at the National Film and Sound Archive.

CIFF Film One – Grabbers

Director – Jon Wright
Starring – Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley
Writer – Kevin Lehane
Year – 2012
Running Time – 94 mins
 
 

This was a great start to my festival, essentially a tale of Tremors in Tipperary.  Richard Coyle (of Coupling fame) stars as a Garda officer, who alongside Ruth Bradley is posted to a small island off the Irish coast, which is invaded by blood sucking aliens. As so many often do, the local community turn to drink in order to drown their sorrows only to discover that being drunk may actually be their salvation.

Horror comedy is such a hard genre to get right, but Grabbers is pitched perfectly in this regard.  The aliens look convincing, the story is ridiculous yet solid and the wide supporting cast put in entertaining performances whilst gently poking fun at their own stereotypical tendencies.

Highly recommended, Grabbers will grab you from the off and is a smart, intelligent and above all else funny horror comedy which succeeds where so many others have failed.

★★★★

CIFF Film Two – Berberian Sound Studio 

Director – Peter Strickland
Starring – Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Cosimo Fusco
Writer – Peter Strickland
Year – 2012
Running Time – 92 mins
 

Toby Jones stars as a British sound engineering sent to work on a Giallo Italian horror film in Rome.  Jones, more used to recording the sounds of the British countryside, sons finds himself at odds with not only his new employers but also with the dark nature of the film.

This was a real contrast to Grabbers and much more hard work.  The first half is interesting, especially looking at how a sound is mixed into a film, so much so that I will never look at vegetables and fruit in the same way again.  The second half however dives deeper into Jones’s consciousness and it is hard to tell at times what is real and what is reality.

This deeper second half brought a significant amount of walkouts in the screening I was in, and if I am honest, I did consider it as well.  However in the end I was glad that I stayed, but I am not sure I could really tell you what the last 20 minutes meant.

Worth watching for Toby Jone’s performance as well as a fascinating the opening half; however if you want to understand the second, then knowledge of 1970’s Italian horror films and especially Giallo would certainly help.

★★

New Films In The ACT

 

A big week ahead in the ACT as the Canberra International Film Festival kicks off with a plethora of great films across three different venues all screening over the next 10 days or so.  I have a pretty hectic festival schedule taking in 20 flicks and you can see the full details here.  If any bloggers are heading to Canberra and fancy meeting up then drop me a line.  Details in the contact section above.

If nothing takes your fancy at the festival then the following are all opening in the ACT this week:-

Bachelorette – Some say this is better than Bridesmaids, see what Sam over at An Online Universe thinks. Playing at Hoyts.

End Of Watch– David Ayer the writer of Training Day and Fast and Furious takes the helm of this gritty drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peria as two hotshot cops who go up against the local cartel. Playing at Hoyts.

Housos v Authority  – I am so sick of seeing this trailer which seems to be playing in in front of every film I sit down for.  Apparently this is a satirical look at residents of an Australian Housing Commission project.  Not sure I have been in Australia long enough to get this, even if that does make me un-Australian.  Playing at Hoyts (where else….)

You Will Be My Son – A French tale of family, friendship and conflict all wrapped in a vineyard.  Don’t know too much about this one, but the trailer looks interesting.  Not sure I will get round to it though.  Playing at Manuka.

Canberra International Film Festival

The programme for the 16th Canberra International Film Festival (CIFF) which runs from Wednesday 31 October to Sunday 11 November was published this morning.

This will be my first ever film festival and whilst it is not quite on the scale of either the Sydney, Melbourne and certainly not Toronto festivals, it is something I am really looking forward to. So in anticipation I have spent a bit of time today trying to narrow down the 60 selections to a more manageable 20 or so.  

Unfortunatley due to the wedding of a good friend I will miss the middle weekend but that sill leaves lots of good stuff on offer.  Here is a list of what I have so far.  I would be really grateful for any comments on potential missteps or suggestions for any films I may have missed.  You can check out the full programme at the CIFF website.:-

Opening Night:             Ken Loach’s ‘The Angels’ Share’

Closing Night:              Boyd Hickin’s ‘Save Yer Legs’

 

Other selections:-

The Hunt

Beyond The Hills

Sightseers

Turn Me On Goddammit

The Imposter

Chasing Ice

Room 237

The Shining

Grabbers

Berberian Sound Studio

The Loneliest Planet

American Mary

I, Anna

Sleepless Night

Like Someone In Love

No

Love Story

Children Of Sarajevo

Monsieur Lazhar

Rust and Bone