The House That Eye Live In (2014) MIFF Review


Australia 52 Mins

Dirk de Bruyn has been making experimental films for over forty years, documenting his life, moving to Australia as a small child from Holland and finding his place in the world.

Experimental film can be pretty nuts – jerky, strange, and some can be really annoying. I feel about experiemental film very much as I feel about contemporary art in general – a lot I don’t get and some I don’t like, but when it works for me, I can be really moved. The work of de Bruyn which is featured within this film is no exeception – some I didn’t get, but there was a lot that I absolutely loved.

What was wonderful was seeing how he works, physically with the film. Why he made certain choices, how he took ideas and brought these to film.

I think it is a film that anyone wanted to make films should see. These days, making film like this is extremely cost prohibitive as film is so rarely used now. However, I think it is important that there is so much that can be learnt from this film.


The House That Eye Live In is screening at 6:30pm on Tuesday August 12 at ACMI. Book tickets at MIFF or call 9662 3722

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Rear Window (1954) Film Review


LB ‘Jeff’Jefferies (James Stewart) is a photography with a broken leg who is confined to his flat overlooking the back garden and windows of his neighbours. It is hot and he is terribly bored, despite daily massages from the wonderful Stella (Thelma Ritter) and visits from his stunning rich lady friend Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly). Then he sees something that leads him to believe that one of his neighbours has committed murder and it is all on.

What a fabulous story, with stunning performances. Even though I know the story so well from being retold throughout popular culture, I was still on the edge of my seat. And the dresses – oh Grace Kelly, I can see why you are a creature of legend – those dresses, and the way you wear those dresses. Amazing.

Rear Window was nominated for Oscars for Best Director (Alfred Hitchcock), Best Writing, Screenplay (John Michael Hayes), Best Cinematography, Color and Best Sound, Recording.


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La Belle Vie (2013) MIFF Review


France (93 min)

Sylvain (Zacharie Chasseriaud) lives a nomadic existence with his father Yves (Nicolas Bouchaud) and brother, Pierre (Jules Pelissier). But Pierre has enough and leaves them, and the others must hit the road again, assuming a new identity and hiding. After meeting and falling in love with Gilda, Sylvain is drawn to a different life, with stability and consistency.

La Belle Vie has beautiful pacing, very slowly revealing the story. Gradually we learn that they are on the run because Yves did not want to give up custody after a divorce, and it raises some very interesting questions; is a life of hiding, regardless of the joyful experiences that can be had in places such as the beautiful French countryside, be better than life at home? Was the father right in taking the children? What about the mother?

The end of this film is one of my favourite final scenes ever – so totally and utterly open-ended.

La Belle Vie is part of the Next Gen program and has screenings on Tuesday, August 5 at 11am and Thursday August 14 at 1:30pm at ACMI. Book through ATOM

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Doll & Em (2013) MIFF Review


UK   85 Mins

Emily Mortimer is a well-known and respected English actress, known for the HBO series The Newsroom as well as films such as Shutter Island, Hugo and Lars and the Real Girl. In this television series, shown as part of the Big Screen-Small Screen program of the festival, a fictionalised version of Mortimer is paired up with a fictionalised version of her best mate, Dolly. Dolly has broken up with her boyfriend and, in an attempt to get her back on track, Emily flies her to LA to be her assistant.

It’s a fun series; the set-up is immediately fraught as a power structure is introduced to their relationship. Neither seem to be at all aware of the effect that they are having, and both are too polite to consider saying anything directly to each other. Plus, not only do we get to enjoy Emily Mortimer, who I always enjoy, we get cameo appearances from Susan Sarandon, Chloe Sevigny, Andy Garcia, John Cusack.

Five episodes of Doll & Em screen in each session. The sessions are at 6:15pm on Friday August 1 at Hoyts and at 6:30pm on Monday August 4 at Kino. Book tickets at MIFF or call 9662 3722

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Babylon (2013) MIFF Review


UK   90 Mins

I wonder how people feel about the Big Screen Small Screen category at MIFF – the part of the program that brings television to the festival. It may be television that is groundbreaking, but I think some people would be annoyed as it is not Film with a capital F. Me? I don’t mind it. As long as it is good.

Babylon is a British production that shows the workings of the PR department for London’s Metropolitan Police. The pilot, which is being screened at MIFF, sees an American, Liz (Brit Marling) coming in to the office to change the way it is being run. She has been brought in by Police Commissioner Miller (James Nesbitt) on the back of her Ted talk. But when a series of sniper attacks occur, they are all thinking (or not) on their feet.

I look forward to the series and hope it gets a run on ABC. The working of the personalities with and against each other in the office is interesting, but it is also interesting to see the sub-plots of the various grunts on the street who have to deal with the results of the decisions made by those above.

Babylon screens at 9pm on Friday August 3 at ACMI and at 9pm on Sunday August 9 at ACMI. Book tickets at MIFF or call 9662 3722

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Advanced Style (2014) MIFF Review


US 72 Mins

Over the last six years or so, Ari Seth Cohen has taking photographs of older, stylish women in New York for his blog Advanced Style. It has led to a book, television appearances, and now, a documentary.

The women are delightful – so much joie de vivre and passion about fashion. It was absolutely not something I was excited about watching, but I couldn’t help letting it warm my heart. True, some of the fashion is totally insane and ridiculous, but at no time does it feel as if fun is being poked at these women; they are respected and even revered.

I’m not about to rush off and make square hats or dress like a stylish clown, or make fake eyelashes from my own hair, but perhaps I will occasionally wear something ridiculously insane and give a nod to the ladies of New York.


Advanced Style screens at 6:45pm on Saturday August 2 at Hoyts, at 9pm on Monday August 4 at ACMI and at 4pm Wednesday August 6 at Kino. Book tickets at MIFF or call 9662 3722

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We Are The Best! (2013) MIFF Review


Sweden   102 Mins

It’s the eighties in Stockholm. Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin) are misfits; while all the other girls have long hair and listen to pop music, these two have homemade punk haircuts and want to rebel. When they start their own punk band, they enlist Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a Christian classical guitarist to teach them music and an unlikely friendship is born.

We Are The Best! comes very close to being one of those film festival films where nothing much happens and drives me insane, but it is the personality of the girls that drew me in and kept me interested. Yes, they are annoying and self-centred, but they are feisty and trying to find their place in the world, and I really liked them.

We Are The Best! screens at 4pm on Sunday August 3 at ACMI and at 6:45pm on Thursday August 7 at ACMI. Book tickets at MIFF or call 9662 3722

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