Wednesday, 2 May 2018

May 3
One more for Spanish FF - Mist and the Maiden

I've seen two stunning new Aussie releases, both coming up with a big wholehearted recommendation from me. And don't forget, you can still catch a few more days of top Spanish film at the Festival.  

Director: Simon Baker
Length: 128 min
© Roadshow - Tim Winton's book has been
adapted to a hauntingly beautiful film
Pikelet (Samson Coulter) and Loonie (Ben Spence) are two teenage boys growing up in a remote corner of the West Australian coast in the mid 1970s. When, by chance, they meet mysterious former professional surfer Sando (Simon Baker), he takes them under his wing and introduces them to surfing. They hang out at Sando's home where his mysterious wife Eva (Elizabeth Debicki) captures the attention of Pikelet. This haunting adaptation of Tim Winton's book is thematically rich, visually magnificent, and a tour de force of film-making. The two lead boys, chosen first for their surfing ability, and then taught to act, are impressive in their roles as boys on the cusp of early manhoood. Loonie comes from an unstable background, reflected in his incessant flirting with danger. Pikelet's household, headed up by Richard Roxburgh and Rachael Blake as Mum and Dad Pike, reflects an earlier, more innocent age of solid family values that their gentle son is just starting to pull away from. Sando and his exotic wife are totally unfamiliar and enticing to the boys. Baker and Debicki maintain the sense of mystery and allure that surround them. A combination of surfing spectacle, homage to the ocean, coming-of-age story, reflections upon what it means to be a man, the film is made all the more powerful by a magnificent musical score and thrilling ocean and underwater cinematography. 
4.5 - wholeheartedly recommended!

Director: Paul Williams
Length: 96 min
© Madman - a documentary all Australians
should see. 
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu died in July 2017. He was Australia's first internationally acclaimed solo Indigenous singer, and was blind from birth. This extraordinarily insightful and beautiful doco traces Gurrumul's life and tribal origins, his rise to fame along with the incredible dedication of his musical collaborator Michael Hohnen in supporting the artist in both his musical career and personal life. Because the singer straddled two worlds, the filmmaker thought it critical that he also give audiences a deep insight into the world from which Gurrumul came - the Yolgnu people living up on Elcho Island north of Darwin. So the film moves, seamlessly, between scenes of the life, the traditions, the music and chants that the singer grew up with, and a chronology of his musical rise to world fame. We get a true sense of the complexity and intense talent of Gurrumul, as well as an understanding of the depth of culture and the ancient history of  his people, their music and language, which of course informed the artists work. The depth of emotion the film generates is surprising, and even those who are unfamiliar with Gurrumul's work should be enchanted and maybe even transformed by his inspiring story. 
4.5 - wholeheartedly recommended!

Spanish Film Festival
Sunday May 6 sees the close of the Spanish Film Festival in Melbourne. I've manged to shoehorn one more film into my crazy viewing schedule and for fans of thrillers, this could be a worthwhile watch. (Screening Westgarth and Como on Sunday May 6). 
Mist and the Maiden: This taut thriller is set on the Canary Islands (something different!) and features a complex plot involving a body, a politician who is exonerated for the murder, an underage sexual relationship caught on video, and a bunch of earnest cops. The film features great scenery, moves along at a cracking pace, and fortunately avoids the sort of cliches common in so many mainstream films. For me the convolutions became a bit intense at the end (remembering I'm a thriller plot-klutz!), nevertheless I found myself suitably impressed and entertained. 

For more details of the last few nights of the Festival:
Melbourne: April 19th to May 6th 
Palace Como, Westgarth, Brighton Bay, Kino and Astor
See website for other states
For more information, and times visit

No comments:

Post a Comment