Human Right Arts & Film Festival
The Zookeeper's Wife
A Dog's Purpose
This week brings a film festival that has something really important to say, a World War 2 film based upon a true story, a very funny New Zealand road comedy, and and a story about furry friends.
Melbourne 4-18 May at ACMI
With all the festivals sprouting up left, right and centre, it's easy to say "oh here's another!" and not give this important festival the attention it deserves. The salient tagline for HRAFF is "Stories That Matter", and I doubt you'll find a finer selection of docos, films and events that have something important to say about human rights in today's world. I've caught up with quite a few and I urge you all to make time to go along to some of these fine films:
© HRAFF - a refugee story
with a difference
Do Not Resist: this most disturbing doco tracks the progressive militarisation of the US police force. As well as showcasing some of the paranoia that seems to be entrenching in small-town USA, it also highlights racism and bigotry experienced at the hands of the police.
Happyland: Aussie street artist Kaff-eine heads to Manila to make enormous paintings of people who live on dumpsite slums, eat the leftovers others throw out, and make their living from garbage. Despite the ghastly conditions, there is a lot of joy to be found by the locals in Kaff-eine's work.
Fed Square will feature a Happyland exhibition where you can see Kaff-eine's work, and learn about the daily lives of the slum-dwellers.
Cafe Waldluft: Flora Kurz is kindness personified. The owner of a once thriving tourist hotel in southern Germany now welcomes refugees to live with her there. This compassionate film casts light on the plight of refugees in Europe, and those locals with hearts big enough to take them in.
Les Chevaliers Blanc: This Belgian feature film deals with a fictional humanitarian organisation who purport to do good deeds for local orphans in African villages. The underlying agenda is something more sinister, and the story highlights some of the grey moral areas faced by aid workers. Featuring a stunning performance by Vincent Lindon, this is a gripping and morally challenging film.
The Settlers: One of the world's most vexed issues is that of Israel and Palestine. This in-depth doco looks at both sides of the story of the Israeli settlers who are progressively moving into territory owned by Palestinians Again, unsettling, and thought-provoking film-making.
Tanna: Don't miss a chance to catch Australia's fist nominee for Best Foreign Film. This beautiful story, set in Vanuatu, looks at the rights of young people to marry the one they love, not the one chosen by their tribal elders.
Dheepan: Palme d'Or winner in Cannes in 2015, Dheepan deals with the immigrant experience of Sri Lankan refugees in Paris. I saw this a couple of years back and it's a moving, strong film.
Pearl of Africa: Fascinating documentary about transgender woman Cleo and her loving partner Nelson, who live in fear of oppression and hatred in Uganda. The doco traces their trip to Thailand for Cleo's gender reassignation surgery.
Spear: film and event: An afternoon of music (Saturday May 13, Footscray Community Centre 2pm) is followed by a screening of the excellent Australian film Spear, which is a dance interpretation of a young man's life, caught between Indigenous tradition and the life in the city.
Other events include a gala screening of HRAFF shorts, and a series of talks, along with many, many more fine feature films and docos. Check the website for details.
4.5 - HRAFF is wholeheartedly recommended!
Director: Matt Murphy
Length: 105 min
|© Studio Canal - Dean O'Gorman is Jon, failed novelist,|
failed fiance, soon to be local hero.
3.5 - highly recommended!
The Zookeepers Wife
Director: Niki Caro
Length: 127 min
© Roadshow - a Holocaust story with a difference.
3 - recommended!
A Dog's Purpose
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Length: 100 min
|© EOne - "man's best friend" tells the tale|
from his own point of view
2.5 - maybe - but for sentimental types and dog fanatics possibly recommended!