Lars Von Triers Antichrist and Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs are almost guaranteed mass walk outs but more chaos was caused when Chinese hackers crashed the website escalating tensions over a visit here by Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled leader of the Uighur minority, who was featured in the documentary Ten Conditions of Love. Online bookings for the Melbourne International Film Festival had to be shut down after the site was bombarded with phony purchases which resulted in the entire program being sold out. This was after Looking For Eric was pulled by director Ken Loach protesting over the festival support of Israeli cinema.
Luckily I was there for a jam packed few days that kicked off with an enthralling interview with Nicolas Winding Refn; the director of the Pusher series and the film that won the prize at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, Bronson.
Duncan Jones’ Moon provided the first viewing pleasure of the trip and what a trip it was. Starring Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey, this is a beautifully judged piece of modern science fiction taking in elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running. The story of lunar loneliness and the fragility of mankind is an amazing debut feature. The performances, the script, the subtle use of FX, Clint Mansell’s excellent score; Moon is bound for top ten lists at the end of the year.
Then it was off to see the newly restored print of Richard Lowenstein's Dogs in Space starring the late Michael Hutchence. From the opening queue for
The next day was Inglourious Basterds day starting with an interview with this year’s winner of best actor at the Cannes Film Festival, Christoph Waltz. After that I talked Bowie, pipes and Basterds with Tarantino himself and had a few words with Diane Kruger on the red carpet. The World War II epic, branded as Jewish revenge porn by one of the stars Eli Roth, is fantastic. Gun toting film critics, German propaganda cinema and double agent actresses don’t normally feature in your average war film but Tarantino works his script writing magic, in German and French, with his usual prowess. The opening scene and the now legendary bar meeting are perfectly judged examples of restraint as they ratchet up the tension. Waltz earned his best actor nod stealing the show as The Jew Hunter Col. Hans Landa and Brad Pitt has fun with Lt Aldo Raine, the head of the 'Basterds' on a mission to blow up a cinema frequented by the Führer and his Nazi cronies. How truthful it is to history you’ll have to see but as the director says, "My characters changed the outcome of the war, that didn't happen, because my characters didn't exist, but if they had existed, everything in the film is fairly plausible." Tarantino was interviewed on stage by comedian John Safran prior to the screening.
Finally we ended with the British ‘hoody’ horror
My last day in