James Clayden – Hamlet X (2004)


James Clayden, described by Adrian Martin at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival as ‘one of Australia’s best kept artistic secrets’, returns to MIFF following the screening of his highly acclaimed Ghost Paintings series in 2003. His latest audiovisual collage is a meditation in image and sound on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Employing a symphonic structure, this latest UFO (Unidentified Filmed Object) from Clayden is a haunting and atmospheric work. Continue reading James Clayden – Hamlet X (2004)

R. Maslyn Williams – Mike and Stefani (1952)


Fascinating artifact from the period of peak European migration into Australia, which can be instructively set alongside the films of Giorgio Mangiamele (one of whose films seems a direct response to Mike & Stefani) and films like Popov’s fascinating “Australia, Australia”. Continue reading R. Maslyn Williams – Mike and Stefani (1952)

Dan Castle – Newcastle (2008)


Newcastle’ is a coming-of-age/family drama/surfing movie. 17-year old Jesse lives in the shadow of his older brother Victor’s failure to become surfing’s Next Big Thing. Even when he’s in his natural habitat of magnificent surf breaks, his blue-collar future is brought home by the coal barges that constantly line his horizon. Jesse has the natural skills to surf his way out of this reality and onto the international circuit but can he overcome his equally natural ability to sabotage himself? A momentous weekend away with his mates that includes first love and tragedy leads him to discover what’s really important, and also to the performance of a lifetime. Written by Anonymous Continue reading Dan Castle – Newcastle (2008)

Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (2014)


THE BABADOOK was the breakout horror hit of Sundance 2014, and has been terrorising audiences around the world ever since. This creepy, expertly crafted feature has been a critical and audience scary favourite, winning a slew of awards for best film, best actress, best director etc. Which suits Mister Babadook just fine because he is a conceited asshole and loves people heaping praise on his film. Continue reading Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (2014)

Ray Lawrence – Lantana (2001)

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Synopsis: The intertwined lives of four couples living in and around Sydney, Australia, form the structure for this drama masquerading as a whodunit. Andrew Bovell freely adapted his play, Speaking in Tongues, opening up the action, as the geography and topography of Sydney and its suburbs become major characters as well. The film opens with a shot of what looks like a corpse entangled in a thick stand of branches — the title plant, which grows in profusion in Australia. Bovell and director Ray Lawrence take their time in explaining whose body that is and then slowly reveal, with no help from a number of red herrings, how it happened to be there. The principal players are Valerie Somers (Barbara Hershey), a psychiatrist with issues over her child, a murder victim; her husband, John Knox (Geoffrey Rush), an aloof professor whom she suspects of infidelity; Leon Zat (Anthony LaPaglia), a police detective cheating on his wife, Sonja (Kerry Armstrong), who is a patient of Valerie’s. Zat’s mistress, Jane O’May (Rachael Blake), is someone he met at a dancing class his wife dragged him to; she is estranged from her husband, Pete (Glenn L. Robbins). Continue reading Ray Lawrence – Lantana (2001)

Sandra Sciberras – The Caterpillar Wish (2006)

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A sleepy seaside town, in winter. 
Emily (Victoria Thaine), a seventeen-year-old girl, lives with her mother Susan (Susie Porter). Emily never knew her father. According to her mother, he was a “tom cat” – a tourist who wandered into town one summer and was never seen again. 
Susan is struggling to forget the past. She hasn’t spoken to her parents for years, not since she shamed the family by falling pregnant at fifteen. 
Emily actively pursues a friendship with father-figure Stephen (Robert Mammone), who spends his days fixing boats at the harbour. But Stephen has his own troubles, constantly haunted by the past. 
Stephen’s sister Elizabeth (Wendy Hughes) is married to the town policeman Carl (Philip Quast). Elizabeth suspects Carl is being unfaithful but is afraid to uncover the truth. Her son Joel (Khan Chittenden) has a secret love of his own. 
When a bible turns up with an intriguing inscription, Emily is the first to realise that hoping for change is not enough. Continue reading Sandra Sciberras – The Caterpillar Wish (2006)