2013-14 Lotterywest Perth Film Festival season dates: Somerville: 31 March–6 April, 7.30pm Joondalup Pines: 8–13 April, 7.30pm
Reviewer: rolanstein Verdict: A gentle, superbly written and extremely moving family drama from a master of the form.
Story: Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama) is an ambitious and driven Tokyo architect whose work demands leave him little quality time for his wife Midori (Machiko Ono) and 6-year-old son Keita (Keita Ninomiya). Out of the blue comes the shocking news that Keita is not theirs, having been switched at birth. They meet up with the Saikis, the family who received their true son, Ryusei (Shogen Hwang). The parents (Yoko Maki and Rirî Furankî) are an unaffected couple of modest means with several other children. The families agree to take back their genetic sons, and Ryota insists that there be no further interaction between them. However, the child swap does not go smoothly, and he is forced to re-assess his priorities and parenting approach.
Review: Director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s previous films include the heart-rending Nobody Knows and the thoroughly charming I Wish. Disappointment so often follows high expectations, but not here. In Like Father, Like Son Kore-eda has yet again delivered a gentle, masterfully written and extremely moving family drama. Continue reading Like Father, Like Son Movie Review→
2013-14 Lotterywest Perth Film Festival season dates: Joondalup Pines: 1–6 April, 7.30pm
Reviewer: rolanstein Verdict: A gripping off-axis contemporary Iraqi western (eastern?), intriguing for its enigmatic tone, and exotic cultural and geographical setting in remote Kurdistan.
Story: Post-Saddam, Kurdish ex-resistance fighter Baran (Korkmaz Arslan) is in search of a meaningful peacetime challenge. A transfer request lands him a position as sheriff in a remote village in Kurdistan near the Turkish border, bringing him into conflict with the local warlord, Aziz Aga (Tarik Akreyi), and his badass gun-totin’ crew. Aziz and co resent any encroachment on their territory by agents of change, and there are a few of them other than Baran. There is educated and independent-minded schoolteacher Govand (Golshifteh Farahani), who shares Baran’s lodgings (and, it is suspected, his bed) and defiantly persists in her mission to provide local children with an education. Then there is a female band of anti-Turk resistance fighters holed up in the surrounding hill country. With power, control and illegal business interests in jeopardy, a showdown between Aziz’ crew and opposing forces is inevitable.
Review: This is a classic western narrative setup: a tough new sheriff arrives in a far-flung town to clean up the lawless elements and impose law and order. There are pictures of his predecessors on the wall, all of whom have left defeated or been killed by the bad guys. There’s a beautiful feisty single woman, like the lawman a tough-minded idealist from the big smoke, except that her civilising mission is to educate the local kids despite the ‘discouragement’ of the bad guys. Needless to say, the town ain’t near big enough for the lot of them.
Featuring: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr, Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield, Kevin Hernandez Director: Destin Daniel Cretton Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton Movie website:shortterm12.com/
2013-14 Lotterywest Perth Film Festival season dates: Somerville: 17–23 March, 7.30pm Joondalup Pines: 25–30 March, 7.30pm
Reviewer: rolanstein Verdict: An auspicious feature debut from director Cretton, tough-minded and tender, emotion-charged yet unsentimental, and built around some striking performances.
Story: Grace (Brie Larson) and her boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr) work at a centre for disturbed and at-risk teenagers. Coming from difficult backgrounds themselves, they empathise with and understand the young people in their care, and are devoted to doing the best they can for them. Sometimes that involves tough love. When sharp but troubled Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) arrives at the facility, Grace is drawn to her, recognising that they have some personal issues in common. With her own life in sudden and dramatic flux she is confronted with inner obstacles similar to Jayden’s, and the relationship becomes one of mutual support.
Review: The film opens with a group of twenty-somethings standing about as one of them relates an amusing anecdote. The scene comes across like an amateurish hidden camera doco until a boy in a singlet and underpants belts past shouting maniacally, and the group gives chase. A handheld camera follows the action, jerking around like the captured boy, wrestled to the ground now, and restrained until he calms down.