Underground Film Festival
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to art-house fare in the Inner West, but it has to be said – some of it can be a bit polite and samey. No one could claim that of what’s on screen at this weekend’s Sydney Underground Film Festival though, whose organisers dutifully scour the planet for the most daring, exotic, ultra-violent, sexy and just plain disgusting fare. Some of the films do make it into our cinemas, – the opening night film, Todd Solondz’s Weiner-Dog will. But Sion Sono’s unruly Japanese sex comedy, The Virgin Psychics, which Variety likened “to having a dog hump your leg for the better part of two hours” probably won’t. But then they called it “sweet” and wished it had been made in 3D! One that caught our eye was Italian director Roberto Minervini’s tour through the dregs of Trump’s America, The Other Side. Not that his subjects, dirt-poor white trash, are much interested in politics, they’re too busy freebasing, fornicating and fighting. Though there is one scene of a woman wearing an Obama mask fellating a rubber penis. Best not try that in the polite Inner West…
* SUFF – This weekend only, Sept 16 –17th at The Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Rd, Marrickville. suff.com.au
Lavazza Italian Film Festival
It’s hard to pick just one film from this year’s LIFF. A personal fave is the sensitive Arianna, about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex, though if you can only go to one, the opening night’s whip-smart dramedy Perfect Strangers is an excellent choice. There are plenty more screenings ahead – check the website.
Perfect Strangers. Our lives are now ruled (and ruined) by our smart phones – but you knew that, didn’t you? Paulo Genovese’s acerbic and timely film stars Alba Rohrwacher (I Am Love) and Kasia Smutniak, and the story follows seven affluent 30-something best friends who, who as result of a stupid dinner party dare, decide to share all of their text messages, emails and calls with each other. A myriad of secrets and lies are revealed, and not only does the party end in disaster, their perfect first world lives fall apart. Appropriately, this comes just as everyone is everyone is getting into a lather because Apple has dropped its iconic white earbuds and cord. First world problems couldn’t possibly be more serious than that.
Sept 14 – Oct 9 at Palace Cinemas.
For more information on this year’s festival, a full programme of all the films screening at all venues, details of all special events and to buy tickets, head to www.italianfilmfestival.com.au
* Thanks to Palace Cinemas we have 5 double passes to festival films to give away.
The Man Who Knew Infinity
Dev Patel stars as a man with a very big brain in Matt Brown’s rousing biopic of the self-taught maths genius Srinivasa Ramaujuan. Born into poverty in India before WW1, he later dazzled British academia with his brilliance. But tragically, he died young from TB, caught in his chilly English digs where he had to cook his own vegetarian curries on the fireplace. That wasn’t the only problem of Cambridge life – apart from his mentor Professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) others were hostile and openly racist. For his part Ramaujuan refused to play by their rules, and bizarrely insisted that his solutions were “given to him by God”. It’s his relationship with Hardy that forms the backbone of this inspirational and well-told tale, and Irons is just fantastic as the stuffy prof who comes out of his shell as he gets to know his brainy young protégé. Just as that happens – time to get the tissues out! PG. On Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital now.
* Thanks to Icon Films, we have three Bu-ray discs to give away
Adelaide filmmaker Rosemary Myers must surely tire of being compared to Wes Anderson, but then her highly stylised debut is just as colourful and whimsical as The Royal Tenenbaums or Moonrise Kingdom. It’s also very clever, and (mostly) a whole lot of fun. Its 70s sets and costumes look just fabulous – clearly the designers had the most riotous fun of all. Bethany Whitmore plays Greta, an awkward teen whose confused sexual awakening takes a dark turn after she falls asleep during her 16th birthday party. Until then, it’s all delightfully up-beat. But one of the drooling predators of Greta’s dreams (monsters, dark woods, howling wolves) looks suspiciously like her father, who earlier was just a dag in too tight short shorts who made bad jokes. And all the good vibes just vanish.
M on now.
Reviews: Russell Edwards