Archives For Independent Cinema

Raw (2016)

September 3, 2017 — Leave a comment

After being force-fed meat during a hazing ritual, veterinarian student and hardcore vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) begins to develop an unhealthy interest in cannibalism in this surprisingly beautiful feature from French director Julie Ducournau. Surprisingly beautiful because when one hears the term ‘cannibal’ they’d be forgiven for conjuring up images from the works of Ruggero Deodato. What they probably won’t imagine is something like Raw, which goes outside the norm of what we would consider body horror.

Justine’s parents expect her to be a vet, and make the lifestyle choice of vegetarianism more akin to an indoctrination. At school, she reluctantly partakes in hazing so that she doesn’t stand out too much and embarrass her older sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), who attends the same school. Justine’s growing appetite for flesh may be highly unusual, but it serves as just another thing in her life that has been forced upon her. Yet as Raw progresses, we do see her try to embrace it and from doing so, she begins to develop and grow from a young girl into a grown woman who craves her own mind. When sister dearest admits to having the same predilections and invites her to her own carnivorous world, Justine chooses that moment to be her own person. Raw is as much a coming of age drama as it is a horror.

Read the rest of the review here.

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Since the age of 19, with his accomplished documentary about his aunt, Chasing Buddha, Amiel Courtin-Wilson has been swimming through a sea of never-ending work (“I just really love what I do, so I try to do as much as I can.”) When FilmInk catches up with him in Paris, he is working with composer and sound designer Nicholas Becker (Batman Begins), about to board a plane to return to hometown Melbourne as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) for a screening of his new film The Silent Eye, as well as a 10th anniversary screening of his documentary Bastardy.

Running just over an hour, The Silent Eye is a contemplative performance piece that sees Japanese dancer, 72-year-old Min Tanaka collaborating with free jazz pioneer, 88-year-old Cecil Taylor; the pair having known each other for over 30 years. It’s a stripped back affair that contrasts with Amiel’s previous narrative work.

“I’ve been doing these shoots that take years and years, I wanted to do something that was discreet and very contained,” he explains. “I was really interested to see if I could shoot a feature in a few days, in a single room and setting those kind of creative constraints.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

Bastardy (2008)

August 31, 2017 — Leave a comment

Amiel Courtin-Wilson pretty much sets up the tone of 2008’s Bastardy within its opening moments. “If I were to hide any of this,” says indigenous actor ‘Uncle’ Jack Charles as he lays out his drug paraphilia. “I don’t think this would be a true depiction of my lifestyle.” It’s a powerful image and not the last time we see Charles this open and frank.

Courtin-Wilson shoots Charles from a distance as he wanders around the streets of Melbourne leaving the larger than life character to seem tiny and insignificant in the world around him. In the best possible way, Bastardy shows the mass of contradictions that make up the then-homeless actor. As he waxes lyrical about his addiction, his lost love and his criminal record, Charles can leave his audience humble by his cheerfulness. He is happy to share his tales and is good for a philosophical thought or two. And yet, with the demons that run rife in Charles’ life, this kind of optimism doesn’t continue all the way through Bastardy.

Read the rest of the review here.

Sky (2016)

August 30, 2017 — Leave a comment

Having fled from her abusive boyfriend during a US road trip, Parisian Romy (Diane Kruger) continues her travels across Nevada in this drama about reawakening and restarting your life from director Fabienne Berthaud (Lily Sometimes). At least, that’s the idea behind Sky, what it provides is instead something of a headscratcher.

Films of this type usually have a particular DNA to them: the hero throws off the shackles of oppression – boyfriend, bad job etc. – before embarking on a journey of self-discovery and ultimately shedding the skin of her previous life. With Sky, it’s unclear whether we should be cheering Romy on or encouraging her to fly back to Paris for her own safety.

Read the rest of the review here.

Perhaps all of us at some time have wanted to reinvent ourselves; to be reborn a new person. For former housewife Morgana Muses, the desire came when she was at her absolute worst. Recently divorced and feeling isolated from her conservative community, Morgana, sadly, wanted to end her life. Before doing so, she hired a male escort for one last stab of intimacy. It was from this point onwards her life took on a whole new meaning. Seizing a later opportunity to make an erotic film about her experience, Morgana lit the touchpaper to a new life as a feminist adult actress.

The documentary, Morgana, follows the titular subject as she takes ownership of her sexuality and identity and is directed by Melbourne filmmakers, Josie Hess and Isabel Peppard. Isabel is an award-winning animator whose short Butterflies won great acclaim on the festival circuit. Josie, along with writing and producing the short film Sunroom, has worked on numerous indie erotica projects including Morgana’s Permission4Pleasure label.

“Josie had approached me to direct Morgana’s 50th birthday present to herself, which was to be suspended in a giant bondage installation,” Isabel explains. “It wasn’t something I would have directed, because I only direct my own visions and the stories I write. However, Josie told me about Morgana’s story, that three years ago she was a housewife from rural Australia and now she’s a pornographer and I thought ‘wow, that’s an incredible story’.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

The Space Between is the feature length debut from director Ruth Borgobello and the first to come out of the Italian/Australian co-production treaty signed way back in the ‘90s. A potent blend of second chances, love and stunning scenery, the film is likely to resonate with the Europhiles of Australia.

Filmmaker Ruth Borgobello hadn’t always wanted to be a director. Growing up she had her heart set on being an actress or a writer. Discovering films like A Clockwork Orange and The Graduate in her teens, led her to wanting to study film at VCA. A word from her careers guidance counselor led her down a different path however.

“He gave me a disapproving look,” Ruth explains “and said, ‘if you want to study arts, then at least do Arts/Commerce so you have a back-up.’ I took his advice to heart and ended up at Melbourne Uni studying Commerce, sneaking in a few cinema subjects and getting involved in theatre. Marketing was the most creative of the majors on offer so I did that.”

Read the rest of the interview here.