Thursday, 31 March 2016

Variety is the key word. From clever animation, to in-depth historical drama, and a fabulous film festival, there is, as always, something for everyone. And every one of them comes highly recommended. No duds this week.

Labyrinth of Lies  
Director: Giulio Ricciarelli
Length: 124 mins

© Madman
Another compelling Holocaust film, this time post-WW2. Young Frankfurt prosecutor, Johann Radmann, devotes himself to bringing to justice those "ordinary Germans" who had been involved in Auschwitz concentration camp, and are now trying to claim they had only been following orders. Radmann becomes so obsessed with his mission he nearly destroys himself and his relationships. Deftly blending historical fact with a personal story, this tense and moving film is an important examination of the guilt of a nation, and a reminder that complacency or duty are no excuses for being party to horrific crimes. 

4 - Wholeheartedly recommended!

For my full review:

Directors: Lots of 'em! 

Length: 108 mins

Surprise!! Here's an animation that is possibly one of the most delightful films I've seen so far this year. Kids and adults can equally enjoy this brilliantly scripted story of a young rabbit, Judy Hopps, who wants something more of her life than simply to be a carrot farmer. She heads to the metropolis of Zootopia, where predators and prey live in relative harmony. She trains as a police officer, only to be relegated to giving out parking tickets. But when she meets scam-artist, fox Nick Wiles, things take a turn for the better. The genius of this film is the way it gets its oh-so-relevant messages across. Gender discrimination, terrorism, racism, stereotyping, along with family values and life goals are all woven into the fabric of this funny, moving and ultimately uplifting story. The number of clever puns, visual gags, and references to other films will have you endlessly entertained, while the inventive blending of human traits into all the vibrantly animated  animals is nothing short of inspired
4 - Wholeheartedly recommended!

MQFF  - Melbourne Queer Film Festival
March 31 - April 11

This iconic Melbourne Festival has been running for 25 years, and showcases a fabulous collection of feature films, docos and shorts  from Australia and the world. In celebrating the LGBTIQ community, the festival entertains, educates, and reminds us that underneath any apparent differences we are all remarkably similar, and embracing difference is the only way to bring us closer. I've been lucky to preview a number of these exceptional films, so here are a few recommendations. 
Remembering the Man
If you loved Holding the Man (which I did) you mustn't miss this one, the Centrepiece film of the Festival. It's the real lives of Tim Conigrave and John Caleo, the young boys who fell in love in the homophobic 1970s, then had their lives destroyed by the AIDS virus. With precious archival video footage, insightful commentary by friends, this is a moving and poignant documentary. 

Deep Run
Impressive doco about young Jasmine, who knows from age 3 she is a man in a woman's body. Now living as a transgender man, Cole, he finds the prejudice of the local church in deeply religious North Carolina almost too much to cope with.

A deeply disturbing portrait of recreational drug use among gay men in today's London. Young men talk about loneliness, fear, alienation, HIV, and the terrible effect drugs are having on their lives, while health workers discuss what can be done to help. This is a confronting documentary.  

Mala Mala
Puerto Ricans live in a land where being a Latino macho male is revered. The nine people in this affectionate and fascinating doco all identify themselves as trans-gender.  They discuss their fears and hopes in a funny, moving insightful way, which can only lead to greater understanding of a complex issue. 

Portrait of a Serial Monogamist
A lightweight amusing lesbian comedy about Elise, who always leaves her lovers first, to avoid a broken heart. The Canadian film has all the hallmarks of  a typical rom-com, including an especially annoying Jewish mother. It's fun and witty, and something I'm sure everyone, whether straight or queer,  can relate to in their lives

The Festival: 4 - Wholeheartedly recommended!
Check out the program at

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