Category Archives: Perth Film Festival 2014-15

Reviews of PFF movies for season 2014-15

Mommy movie review

Featuring: Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clément, Antoine Olivier Pilon
Screenwriter/Director: Xavier Dolan
Movie Website:

2014-15 Lotterywest Perth Film Festival season dates:
Somerville: 6-12 April, 7.30pm

Reviewer: rolanstein
Verdict: Startlingly original, discordant and confronting, this is a brilliantly performed and crafted pressure-cooker of a movie with real edge.

Many filmmakers strive for originality and edge, but few truly break new ground or push into confronting territory without resorting to try-hard or obvious shock tactics. Part of the problem is the striving. Being effortfully “different” for the sake of it is a wank, serving the artist’s ego rather than the work itself. The only originality that is worth its name is that which is inevitable, that emerges as a natural expression from the mysterious wanderings of the creative process, and is then honed and shaped through disciplined and judicious crafting to fit the work and present it in optimal form.

In these terms, Mommy is truly original, and genuinely edgy. The 1:1 aspect ratio in which most of the film is shot is unusual and appropriate, cramming the characters (and audience) into a confined space that amplifies the already noisy, almost unrelenting and often confronting intensity of the drama. In rare moments of relief, when the characters escape the pressure cooker confines of their troubled domestic setting, either physically (eg: when skateboarding) or through flights of imagination (eg: rose-coloured dreaming of a longed-for but impossible future), the aspect widens and the screen opens up. The relief is short-lived: reversion to the 1:1 aspect feels like a vice closing. Continue reading Mommy movie review

Phoenix movie review

Featuring: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Kunzendorf
Director: Christian Petzold
Screenwriters: Christian Petzold, Harun Farocki; adapted from Hubert Monteilhet’s novel Le Retour des Cendres
Movie Website:

2014-15 Lotterywest Perth Film Festival season dates:
Somerville: 30 March-5 April, 7.30pm
Joondalup Pines: 7-12 April, 7.30pm

Reviewer: rolanstein
Verdict: Some obvious credibility issues, but the film amounts to much more than the narrative, culminating in an emotional and dramatic powerhouse of a conclusion.

Phoenix director Christian Petzold’s previous film Barbara, set in pre-unification East Germany, was one of the best movies of the 2013-14 Perth International Film Festival. Phoenix is atmospherically and thematically similar, featuring a grim setting – in this case, a decimated post-war Berlin – and a female lead character (again played by the superb Nina Hoss) who finds a way to transcend her bleak circumstances by reclaiming her dignity and humanity against oppressive odds. Continue reading Phoenix movie review

The Mafia Kills Only In Summer movie review

Featuring: Cristiana Capotondi, Pif, Alex Bisconti, Ginevra Antona
Director: Pierfrancesco ‘Pif’ Diliberto
Screenwriters: Michele Astori, Pif, Marco Martani
Movie Website:

2014-15 Lotterywest Perth Film Festival season dates:
Somerville: 23-29 March, 7.30pm
Joondalup Pines: 31 March-5 April, 7.30pm

Reviewer: rolanstein
Verdict: An unremarkable coming-of-age/love story distracts from the true concern of the film – the reign of terror of the Sicilian mafia from the 1970s to 1990s, and its impact on the people of Palermo.

This is Italian journalist, TV satirist and director Pierfrancesco “Pif” Diliberto’s first feature film, and it shows, playing out like an early draft in which the writer is discovering his true purpose as he goes along. Symptomatic of this directional uncertainty is a shifting tone, which is unsettling and perturbing. Continue reading The Mafia Kills Only In Summer movie review