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Celluloid Fun - An eclectic blog of arthouse and independent films with some mainstream movies.
September 23rd 2014 03:25
2014 Korean Film Festival in Australia poster artwork.
South Australia is the festival state, so it’s long overdue that Adelaide finally gets to screen its first Korean Film Festival, following screenings in the eastern states. In its fifth year, the Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) again delivers some of the best and popular contemporary Korean films from some of the most prolific directors. In 2014, Adelaide may only have a four-day long schedule, but the selection is diverse and appeals to a broad audience.
Only seven films will be screened in Adelaide for the KOFFIA with some cinematic gems amongst them. The genres range from action and comedy to romance and true crime dramas. Some highlights include director Lee Joon-ik’s film Hope which is based on a real crime called the Na Yeong case from 2008 where an eight-year old girl was bashed and raped, with the offender receiving a light sentence which created public outrage; director Kim Byeong-woo’s The Terror, Live is an intense drama set almost exclusively inside a radio station. Yoon Young-hwa, a disgraced television news anchor turned radio host, receives a call from someone threatening to blow up Seoul’s Mapo Bridge. After a bomb explodes on the bridge and innocent people are taken hostage, Hwa must negotiate with the caller to stop a second bomb being detonated; Jang Cheol-soo’s Secretly, Greatly begins as a slapstick comedy and ends as a tragic drama, about three young highly trained North Korean secret agents sent to South Korea by the government with one posing as a village idiot, another as an aspiring singer and the third as a high school student. After a while, the trio settle into their small town until the North Korean government sends them a message to commit suicide, and the spies’ instructor is sent across the border to ensure all the spies comply.
Hopefully, KOFFIA’s debut is Adelaide is well-supported so there may be more Korean films returning in the coming years.
The Korean Film Festival in Australia screens at Greater Union Cinemas, Arndale.
*Adelaide Schedule 23 - 26 September 2014
6:30pm Cold Eyes
6:15pm Hot Young Bloods
8:45pm The Terror, Live
6:15pm Secretly, Greatly
8:45pm The Suspect
6:15pm Very Ordinary Couple
*Screening times are correct at the time of publication.
Single Ticket cost: $16 Adult, $12.50 Concession (pensioner,student), $11 Cinebuzz Member
All films in Korean language feature English Subtitles
Screen Scandinavia by Linh
Norwegian poster artwork for the film Pioneer/Pionér.
Norwegian director and writer Erik Skjoldbjaerg’s (Insomnia, Prozac Nation) most recent film Pioneer is in the early development stages for an American re-make with George Clooney attached as a producer. Skjoldbjaerg’s original Norwegian version has hit and miss aspects yet is still a compelling drama thriller. The film is inspired by true events where the discovery of large oil and gas resources at the bottom of the North Sea in the 1970s, sparked a collaborative effort between Norway and America to establish underwater pipelines to transport the oil ashore.
Pioneer/Pionér is set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, opening with archival footage of oil being discovered off the Norwegian coast. As Norway do not have experienced deep-sea divers and technicians to do the task of testing the seabed for underwater pipeline construction, an American team are brought over to train the Norwegians. US deep-sea divers Mike (Wes Bentley), Ronald (Jonathan LaPaglia) and supervisor Ferris (Stephen Lang) arrive to train the Norwegian team which includes brothers Petter (Aksel Hennie) and Knut (Andreas Eriksen). After the teams undergo a series of tests and exercises, an actual dive into the North Sea is organised. Unfortunately, Knut loses oxygen during the dive and Petter is unable to resuscitate him. Petter is determined to seek the truth behind his brother’s death, which leads him on a dangerous path involving distrust between Norway and the United States, corrupt oil company executives and government cover-ups.
Pioneer has a brilliant first half which creates a claustrophobic feel for the underwater scenes and adds some humour to the training and testing sessions. The second half moves the action away from the sea to land where Petter, a solid performance from Aksel Hennie, is using old style methods (no Internet or any twenty-first century technology) like breaking and entering, to investigate why nobody took responsibility for his brother’s death and no safety measures were in place for the diving team. Overall, this film is akin to an old-style 1970s conspiracy thriller with many questions left unanswered, which might frustrate audiences accustomed to more fast-paced and spoon-fed action thrillers that Hollywood serves up. Hopefully, George Clooney produces something equally good or better for the American re-make.
Norwegian poster artwork for the film Ballet Boys/Ballettguttene.
Norwegian director and producer Kenneth Elvebakk (Den hemmelige klubben/The Secret Club, Et positivt liv/ A Positive Life) is primarily known as a documentary film-maker but has also produced work for radio and television. Elvebakk’s latest documentary feature is Ballet Boys/Ballettguttene, which follows three teenage boys over a period of four years as they train, study and audition to fulfill their dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer on the international stage. Audiences may be familiar with Stephen Daldry’s successful film Billy Elliot, about a British boy who became a ballet dancer, yet this documentary takes ballet dancing and the artistry and technique of dance performance to greater extremes and higher intensities.
The teenagers in the seventy-five minute film are Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, Syvert Lorenz Garcia and Torgeir Lund. The three teenage boys’ experiences, anxieties and struggles are on display as they enter the competitive world of ballet. Their friendships and alliances change, become fragmented or strengthen as they each enter various stages of success or failure in their pursuit of a dance career. Lukas, Syvert and Torgeir train together at the Norwegian Ballet School and they are aware that ballet is frequently associated with “girls in pointed shoes and pink tutus” yet they see masculine aspects to ballet dancing. The three boys make sacrifices in their young lives such as not hanging out with their friends, not having girlfriends and spending almost every spare moment training and performing. All three boys compete with and against each other in front of panels of judges for the chance to enter the National Academy of Arts in Oslo. One day, Lukas unexpectedly receives an offer to audition for the Royal Ballet School in London and it could be the ultimate opportunity for his ballet career.
This documentary may appear to be like a reality television show without the commercial breaks, yet there is more depth and substance in this film that covers issues of identity, gender, family and friendships. It also has a coming-of-age aspect where audiences can see how the three young teenagers become young men who juggle their personal lives with intense dance training for a career that may not eventuate.
Screen Scandinavia by Linh
Icelandic poster artwork for the film Metalhead/Málmhaus.
Metalhead/Málmhaus is written and directed by acclaimed Icelandic film-maker Ragnar Bragason and is a film about youth, identity, grief, family and community which are all tied together with the pulsating beats of heavy metal music. The film begins on a farm in rural Iceland, where a twelve year old girl named Hera (Diljá Valsdóttir) witnesses the accidental death of her older brother Baldur. Hera blames herself and deals with her grief by turning away from religion and towards heavy metal music. Hera adopts her brother’s love of heavy metal music and even wears his black leather jacket as a way for her to remember him. When Hera is in her early twenties (Thorbjörg Helga Thorgilsdóttir), she is still grieving and has become obsessed with heavy metal. Hera’s bedroom wall is covered with posters of 1970s heavy metal bands, heavy metal is continuously blasting from her cassette player and she is often seen walking around listening to heavy metal on her Walkman. She wears only black and dreams of forming her own heavy metal band. Hera taught herself to play heavy metal music on her brother’s guitar and her behaviour gradually becomes more erratic. Her parents Karl (Ingvar Eggert Sigurössen) and Droplaug (Halldóra Geirharösdóttir) are still grief-stricken and coping in silence as the farming community attempt to help them overcome Baldur’s death to move on with their lives. The arrival of a new priest named Janus (Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson) is not as one expects and Hera’s childhood friend Knútur (Hannes Óli Ágústsson), who still has a crush on her, returns with intentions to marry her. Metalhead is beautifully filmed, capturing the glorious beauty of rural Iceland from its snow-topped mountains to the misty-aired atmosphere of Iceland’s weather. The cast, particularly Thorbjörg Helga Thorgilsdóttir as Hera, is fantastic and the story’s universal themes will resonate with all audiences.
Icelandic poster artwork for the film Spooks and Spirits/Ófeigur Gengur Aftur.
There are not too many comedies in the schedule for the Scandinavian Film Festival, but Spooks and Spirits/Ófeigur Gengur Aftur is a ghost-haunting supernatural comedy film about a spirit who refuses to have his home sold and his relationship issues with a family member left unresolved. In the film, thirty-something actress Anna (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) has recently buried her father Ófeigur (Laddi) and has inherited his house. She and her boyfriend Ingi (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) plan to sell the house to move into a bigger and newer house in the suburbs. However, Ófeigur returns as a spirit and continues with his womanising and drinking while he scares away potential buyers. Ingi suggests an exorcism, but it goes awry and awakens Ófeigur’s jealous former lover (Elva Ósk Ólafsdóttir). The former lovers’ incessant bickering and quarrelling become unbearable for Anna and Ingi, but the situation gets worse when Ófeigur goes too far with his womanising ways. This film is written, directed and co-stars Ágúst Guðmundsson and was a box-office success in Iceland. The film bears all the trademarks of 1980s supernatural comedies in the vein of Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice and High Spirits, yet this film has many references to Icelandic culture and the special effects are simplistically effective.
Photo-bombing Favourites by Linh
Forget planking or twerking because photo-bombing at random is the latest trend and fun way to get attention on social media. During the Oscars red carpet arrivals, backstage and in the Green Room, the glamourous and the well-groomed let out their quirky side and were captured photo-bombing unsuspecting celebrities. It is all done in jest and nobody gets physically or emotionally hurt, but there is guaranteed laughter after discovering one has been photo-bombed. The two most prominent photo-bombers during this year’s Oscars are Benedict Cumberbatch and Jared Leto. Benedict’s photo-bombing was so popular that it became a social media meme featuring The Beatles and a bookmark. Below are a few of the funniest and best photo-bombing moments during the 2014 Oscars
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VICTORS: Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong'o and Jared Leto backstage in the press room during the Oscars at Loews Hollywood Hotel on Sunday 2 March 2014 in Hollywood, California. Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
Versatile Victors by Linh
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Stellar Supporters by Linh
I think this year’s list of potential winners for Best Actor in a Supporting Role is the most open field out of all the categories this year, where none of the nominees are past winners, and all five actors appear in five different films which are nominated for Best Picture. Therefore, the potential first-timers section is long and the only section of my list. I enjoyed all the actors’ performances, but I think only two of them are most likely to win the Oscar in this category. I have created a list of the recently announced Oscar nominations for the acting categories and which performers I think will be likely to take away the little golden statuette this year
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84 Posts dating from May 2008
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