November for movie lovers

Cine Latino Film Festival

Sadly, there’s no German Film Festival this year – bad new for fans of dour and uncompromising European cinema! But into its vacate November spot on Palaces Cinema’s ever growing list of festivals comes the now expanded Cine Latino – easily Australia’s largest celebration of Latin American film with a program of 26 titles representing the best films from Central and South America. This year its partnership with the Hola Mexico Film Festival continues, with the opening film being the Mexican box office comic hit You’re Killing Me Susana. It’s one fans of the irrepressible Gael García Bernal won’t want to miss, though from all reports – as the cheating macho husband of the wife he pursues to the US after she ditches him, he’s considerably less appealing than as maestro of Stan’s gorgeous Mozart in the Jungle. Mind you, even on a bad day this man could charm the skin off a snake, so it will be on our list. As will Cannes Camera d’Or winner Pablo Giorgelli’s Invisible, an intimate and stylistic coming-of-age drama from Argentina and Kingdom, a gritty and sexy R18+ rated Chilean romance. There’s heaps more too!

Cine Latino is at Palace Cinemas Norton St and Verona from Nov 14 to 29. Check the entire line up at their website, and you can book tickets there too.

Meanwhile, Palace have slipped one of the quiet hits of the 2017 Sydney Film Festival into this month’s line up. The Teacher is so good, we’ve given it 5 stars, AND we have five double passes to give away. It’s on at Norton St and Verona later this month, but here’s a chance to check out Palace’s swish new outlet at Central Park on Broadway too. It’s true what they say, it’s… oh wow! Is this the future of cinema-going?

The Teacher

Cameron Diaz played a “bad teacher” a few years ago in a movie of the same name – a typically limp US comedy. She smoked doobies, terrorized her class with cleavage, got drunk on the job, had a potty mouth and was an all round horrible employee. And since Hollywood is convinced only nine-year-old delinquents go to the cinema, she was the movie’s “hero.” Thankfully, the equally appalling subject of Jan Hřebejk’s needle-sharp satire, like the infinitely better movie itself, is a completely different creature. Set in the 80s in the former Communist Czech republic, Maria Drazděchová (Slovak actress Zuzana Mauréry – just astonishing) is a teacher of history and language. At first she seems dour and hardworking, zealous even and on the first day of class, she has each pupil stand up and tell her what their parents do for a living. The purpose is soon chillingly clear. She’s a manipulative monster and wants to know what they can do for her. She also serves as the local Communist party chair so most of the parents and students figure they have no choice but comply. Unfortunately, her favouritism and abuse of power causes a tragedy and a couple of the students rebel. That leads a farcical and hilariously awkward parent-teacher meeting – the outcome of which is whole point of Petr Jarchovsky’s pitch black and cannily clever screenplay. The Teacher, which screened to great acclaim at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival, is itself pitched as a universal exploration of the dynamics of power and human frailty, and it’s a whole lot more fun than its thorny subject matter suggests. And gives us a fantastically sardonic ending, one that points to some uncomfortable home-truths to us here in the present-day west. M at Palace Cinema Norton St, Central and Verona from Nov 23. ★★★★★

Another we liked a lot (yep, 5 stars too) was The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Greek provocateur Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest outrage. Then unpreviewed, but worth checking out due to its great US reviews: Brad’s Status, a new US indie exclusive to Dendy Newtown from the writer of Beatrix at Dinner.  We’ve got some double passes to that to give away too. And some to the special preview of The Man Who Invented Christmas at Dendy Newtown on Nov 15.

And for those who like their cinema tough and challenging (“guilty as charged, m’lord”), there’s Kathryn Bigelow‘s Detroit, also on at Palace Cinemas and Dendy Newtown.

Crikey’s film critic damned it, calling it a film” made by and for white people.” Is that the worst thing anyone can say (and be) now? In certain circles, it is. Pack your ideological baggage where it belongs (in a musty old cupboard unopened since 1980) and see for yourself. I certainly will…

Russell Edwards