Australia 90 mins
Jeremy Oxley was the frontman of The Sunnyboys, an awesome pub rock band of the early 80s that had some success in the Australian charts and then disappeared. What many didn’t know was that Oxley was living with schizophrenia and gradually became more focused on his artwork.
The documentary covers Oxley’s life from early childhood through falling in love with his beautiful and supportive wife Mary and his relationship with her two young sons and ends with a reunion of the band.
The Sunnyboy screens at the Forum Theatre on Friday, August 9 at 6:30pm and at ACMI on Sunday, August 11 at 4pm. To book tickets, visit http://miff.com.au/
Australia 86 mins
Surely, everyone in Melbourne has heard of On The Beach – if only because the film of the book was made here back in the day. If you don’t know about it, On The Beach was a book written by Nevil Chute in 1957 about the dire consequences of a nuclear war. It was made into a film in 1959 starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins.
Fallout is a documentary that takes a look into the life of Nevil Chute and the influences that inspired On The Beach and other of his works. It also looks at the way the film was adapted and what it meant to have such a film made in Melbourne in the 1950s. It is totally fascinating, inspiring me to both read the book and watch the film. Luckily, On The Beach is also a part of the festival.
Fallout screens at ACMI on Saturday, July 27 at 6:30pm and at Greater Union on Monday, July 29 at 6:30pm.
On The Beach screens at ACMI on Sunday, July 28 at 6:15pm. To book tickets, visit http://miff.com.au/
Indigenous police detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) returns the small rural Queensland town of his past to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. He no longer fits the place he held in this society, but is unsure on how to establish himself in his new role. The town is rife with alcoholism and drugs with a small police force that can barely hold their own.
I really don’t enjoy being harsh on Australian films. I like to think that I am loyal to the local industry, although I know I do not support it nearly as much as I always intend to. But I’m not going to pretend I like a film just because it is Australian. For me, Mystery Road was underwritten, so that I felt that it was a clichéd Australian small-town cop story for the first three-quarters of the film, and then suddenly a whole lot of stuff happened that I couldn’t follow. I think I have most of the plot straight in my head after contemplating it for a long time, but am not totally sure. It had a strong sense of the mini-series or even television series. I certainly would like to see more of the character of Jay Swan, despite having not really enjoyed the film.
Both Aaron Pedersen and Hugo Weaving are fantastic in their roles (surely Weaving is one of the few actors who could make such an oddly written character work in such a successful way) but many of the rest of the cast seem to be poorly directed. I hope other people love this film a lot, but I just didn’t.
Mystery Road screens at the Forum Theatre on Friday, July 26 at 6:15pm. To book tickets, visit http://miff.com.au/
The Rocket is a beautiful story of a small boy, Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe), and his family in Laos, displaced due to a dam building project. Ahlo’s grandmother believes he is bad luck, and when tragedy strikes, it seems the bad luck is coming true. But with the help of his new friend, Kia (Loungnam Kaosainam) and her uncle (Thep Phongam), a James Brown impersonator, Ahlo wants to win a rocket contest to save his family.
There was a very long set-up to the final showdown, however when you are being entertained by such delightful characters in such beautiful settings. Plus, it is not afraid to show the darker side to life in Laos – leftover bombs and landmines, industry taking land from the poor but not coming through with the promises.
The Rocket screens at AMCI on Thursday, August 8th at 6:30pm and at Greater Union on Saturday, August 10th at 1:30pm