Thursday 16 November 2017

Festival overload - Supercinephile Barrie Pattison tries to keep up with simultaneous Japanese, Polish, Jewish and Latin-American events

Well it had to happen. In the pre-Xmas peak we are being offered four simultaneous national movie manifestations - Japanese and Polish in the George Centre, Jewish at Cremorne and Bondi Junction and Latin-American at Paddington and Leichhardt. Each is packed with under documented new releases that might represent your one crack at something substantial - or might not.

Management seem to have given up on staggering these so that the audience can do justice to them all. They work on the principle that their native language speaker core audience won’t be bothered and stuff the poor film freak. Movie enthusiasts are notoriously lazy and inarticulate so the organisers are probably safe there.

So far it doesn’t seem to be working out too well though. I rocked up to the Verona to see Venezuela’s Oscar entry and was confronted with a no-show. The substitute was Felipe Barbosa’s Gabriel e a montanha, an Into the Wild replica in which young sustainable traveler student João Pedro Zappa works his way between cash dispensers in interchangeably scenic African countries, with the aid of interchangeably affable African locals. The fact that the lead is a plausibly non-movie star type is an asset. When he links up with his also appealingly unglamorous lady friend and they bicker about missing out on the elephant rides between romantic interludes, attention picks up for a while. This one is a very long 127 minutes though the photos of the real life traveler who lost his life on this excursion do add some impact.

I’ve also seen Manolo Caro’s Mexican La vida inmoral de la pareja ideal/Tales Of An Immoral Couple, a glossy would be raunchy romp with overtones of the Iranian Sperm Whale  (couple meet again after twenty five years) and dinner party films like Perfetti sconosciuti/Perfect Strangers  set among the well to do in Mexico City. This one is handsomely mounted with an assured, good looking cast (Paz Vega, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) so it passes the time agreeably though without really delivering on its nice exposition. Despite the attempts at daring (discreet nude scenes, threesomes, sperm donation) it's pretty bland.

So it’s back to the nineteen fifties and scurrying round the suburbs in search of rare screenings - though in those days you were rewarded with early Glenn Ford.
The young Glenn Ford

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