Tuesday, June 30, 2009
And I desperately, desperately want it. I'm not much of an art critic, (mostly because I'm under60. In my experience its people who are post60 that know everything about art, including (and especially) that any opinion you have about art is wrong.) but this, is lovely. The colours are fantastic, and if I could convince my hair to sit like hers, I'd be one happy monkey.
And the tattoos! I was fantasizing over my coffee this morning about what I'd like to get next- I think that it's going to have to be something colourful and beautiful and I want it nooooowwwwwww. Just like I want this print. Gah.
I've always been attracted to tattoos. I like the signposting of them, as well as the complete idiocy of them. I remember going to The Illustrated Man with Emma to get her first tattoo, then back again two years later to get my first one, a lightning bolt that hovers over my wrist. At the time it meant my devotion to BRMC's request that I rip back my rock and roll. It was an underpinning of the dirty basslines that run through me everyday. To everyone else, it was Harry Potter. Now, its there and a part of me, and I think that has more meaning that I could put into words. And then six months later I had a crossword within a jigsaw piece added to my elbow to remind me that the words don't have to be there to matter. And then in Iceland last year an ex criminal wrote some words on my left foot to help me find my way home and "to increase your popularity by 17%!". Now, I think I want something a little less serious, a little more fun and vibrant.
People are strangely rude about my tattoos, particularly people who I would expect to behave a little better. I think they're so disparaging because they're scared of self expression, they're scared of wearing themselves on their sleeves, as such. For someone so intensely private, I don't have a problem with it - but I want you to work it out yourself instead of me telling you. It might read like I've told you everything in the above paragraph, but its the gaps that tell you more, promise.I like the idea of road maps, of stories. On a train trip from Geneva to Zurich I talked with a couple about their tattoos and mine. The girl had a beautiful peony stretching across her shoulders and the boy a dragon flying up his calf. They were lovely and we shared our dinner together. I probably wouldn't have talked to them if it hadn't been to say "I really like your tattoo" in halting French. See, people with tattoos aren't scary! Most of us aren't criminals!
The only thing that's really stopping me from getting a sleeve tattoo (apart from the financial aspect) is the fact that when I'm old, I'm going to be all droopy in the arm. And that's not going to please me. So for now, I think I'll buy this print and stick to little signposts along my skin.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Stand Out Tracks: Smokers, An End Has A Start, Escape The Nest
Sounds Like: Shakespearean indie rock with a dark disco edge
Best for: Intellectual Shy Types
Shakespearean? I hope that means we see Tom, Chris, Ed & Russel in hose and doublets. Tom would probably be an awesome Hamlet, albeit the only one to ever say "um" and try to hide behind a piano.
They're so wonderful :)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I've been putting this entry off for about three weeks. People have started to hassle me about it. I really really don't want to write it. Well. It's more that I don't want to have to put picture of a certain someone on my blog, but I know that it's kind of inevitable if I'm going to explain myself.
....I just realised that in order to put the pictures on my blog, I'm going to have to actually look at this person. Christ. Fetch me a neat whiskey. No, I don't want ice. Make sure it's at least 30 years old and smells like formaldehyde. I want to be able to wipe the next hour out of my brain. There's probably only one person who is going to be able to help me cope with this. King Ridiculous, otherwise known as Brandon Flowers. Quick, put Day & Age on. It might help. Sigh. I'm ranting, sorry. I should just come out and admit it.
I own a dress named after a member of Panic at the Disco.
This guy, in fact. Ryan Ross.
Yeah, I know, right? You're thinking, why would Maddie, who regularly complains that these protégées of Pete Wentz are out to cause her maximum damage and death, name a dress, let alone willingly wear said dress if it was named after a member of the aforementioned band? It must be a pretty ugly dress, right?
Um. It's actually my favourite dress.(See? It's adorable, even if I do look embarrassed about the name of it.)
Clearly the universe has chucked a shit fit, right? I know. Which is why when Georges christened my dress "The Ryan Ross Dress” I scowled so much that I actually did look like Ryan Ross. I got better though.
Ryan Ross Scowling (pouting, wtf. with minion, Brendon Urie who looks like someone I went to school with) (jeremy and i just discovered that RRoss may actually have been HSelicks inspiration for Coraline)
and look, i can do pouty too!!!
It couldn't continue. I had to rename the dress. And also, Georges had some serious explaining to do. He's French. They're supposed to be masters of seduction and subtlety. Coming out and saying “that dress looks like something Ryan Ross would wear” doesn't exactly cut it. He then tried to explain why the dress held special Ryan Ross repelling powers. I was a little more receptive to this idea, which is why the dress was renamed (Except by the Fail-tastic Frenchman, who still asks how RRD is. Every day.). The new name was designed to be a slight crack at the enmity between me and Ross. Which has been going on for nearly three years now, and seriously, Ryan, if you're reading this, could you cease trying to kill me? Please?
Oh. The name. Right. It's taken from the bridge to what wikipedia informs me was the bands third single, “Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off”. (One of the many songs that has a title almost as long as the song itself). The bridge runs as follows：
“I've got more wit
a better kiss
a hotter touch
a better fuck than any boy you'll ever meet,
sweetie you had me
girl i was it look past the sweat, a better love
deserving of exchanging body heat in the passenger seat
no no no you know it will always be me”
and the rest of the lyrics are here
Really, the thing that strikes me here is not the vindictiveness of the vocab, but total desperation and the absolute campness of the word “sweetie”, I hate being called sweetie by anyone except old gay male hairdressers. The last boy to call me sweetie got read a riot act. It's demeaning. But I'm tangent-ing in my own special fashion again. Aha. Fashion. Clever segue back to what I was originally talking about. The renaming of the Ryan Ross Dress.
It's now known as the “More Wit, Better Kiss”Dress. Because sweetiehoneydarlingryan, I guarantee my wit's more clever, better integrated, has hotter aim and leaves a better scar than you could ever hope to. See what I did there? Yeah, very fucking subtle. I must be French.
At this point, you've got a few queries, yeah?
Firstly, you want to know why I'm convinced that four people I've never met would want me dead.
Secondly, you want to know why the dress reminded someone of Ryan Ross.
Thirdly, you want to know how the dress has magic powers.
The first one is the easy one.
In 2006, I started at Mac Uni. And didn't like it. So I smoked a lot of dope, drank a lot of booze and listened to a lot of bad music, for reasons unknown (I blame Brandon Flowers for not living next door and putting on a gig for me every day). And then one morning I woke up to a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song that slapped my hangover away and threw me across the room. I slipped on a copy of NME that turned out to have the scowling faces of Panic at the Disco on it.
And then I started noticing them. EVERYWHERE. on the radio. on the teev. in the newspaper, on the internet. I saw people wearing their shirts, I saw people who looked like them. I began to have nightmares about them trying to kill me. I then took some illegal substances and had a horrid hallucination in which they actually did kill me and I couldn't convince myself I was alive even though I was. That was a pretty fucking horrible night.
So I wrote something about how I wanted my rock and roll back, and it got published in a small zine in America. I don't know if they've read it, I don't want to know. But Panic at the Disco are still everywhere. I dare not go into a JB HIFI alone. Or Dangerfield. They even got me at the Opera House once.
The second query basically, it comes down to Georges rather bizarre interpretation of paisley. Ryan Ross seems to favour paisley.
Georges thinks the More Wit Better Kiss Dress is paisleyprinted . Therefore, in his small brain, the two are linked. Which lead to much scowling on my part. And incidental mirror posing.
However. I don't really think my dress is paisley. Paisley is defined as “intricate interlocking curvilinear pattern originating in India” And I think that my dress is more angular. I don't know, any takers???
Third query – magic powers of protection. Yes. I have to say Yes, this is true. The dress is magic. I feel fantastic in it. Everyone loves it, and everyone (except, we can assume, members of Panic at the Disco) loves me in it. It's my most complimented dress. And there are few greater weapons than a piece of clothing that makes you feel superb. Add some red lipstick and danger heels, and you're invincible.
Also, I have recently noticed that when I wear this dress out, the number of Panic at the Disco-panics decreases. Perhaps I just don't notice them because I'm too busy feeling good? I don't know. I don't want to question it too deeply.
So. There you go. An explaination of my favourite dress' name. And an insight into why French boys can be bizarre. And also an insight into my small mind. Make of it what you will. I'm off to bleach my brain by staring at this:
this is the most manly i've seen him look without the tache. more manly than a burst sausage, as Jeremy Clarkson once said.
i just don't understand how Apple has managed to confuse the concept of "streamlined" for "completely devoid of any help whatsoever"
my ipod is pretty much permanently attached to my ears. i consider this an act of social altruism; if i can't hear what people are saying then i'm much less likely to get irate. i'll be quiet and they can keep talking rubbish and everyone will be a lot happier. so when i can't have that luxury of listening to say, Maximo Park's rather intelligent music and instead have to hear about what a slut Linda is (poor Linda) i tend to get crabby.
yes, i get that the more you use something, the more likely it is to go kaputski on you. but surely Apple should have a better policy than "oops. buy a new one?" because for me, buying a new one isn't a feasible option. i haven't got $339 to pay for a new one. i don't want to pay that much for something that, going on past experience, is only going to last a year. i've paid less for shoes that have lasted three years. this ipod has been through some heavy stuff, i know. it's been on glacier in Iceland. it was subjected to much playing of The Smiths during the Belgian Experience. Spike once snuffled it.
i thought this ipod (my third in 5 years) might be the one to go the distance. it's a year and a half now. it was doing so well. i was proud of it. until tonight when it suddenly went "i dun wanna" and the buttons stopped working. just stopped.
so i've trolled the internet, and very helpfully the Apple discussion board is down. presumably because Apple is embarrassed by everyone going "WHAT? WHAT? I WAS PROMISED PERFECTION IN STREAMLINED FORM!" and so on. i've noticed that there is growing discontent with Apple.
i probably could have left this post until the morning, when i've had some sleep and some perspective thanks to the morning newspaper, but the problem is that i can't sleep when i'm angry, and i can't help being angry when i'm furious and i can't help being furious when i'm frustrated at technology.
maybe i should just hire someone to sing all my favourite songs. and live in my bag.
and what's even more frustrating?
i have nothing to read. nothing. nothing to read, and nothing i want to read. please don't give me anything more by obama or angela carter or toni morrison or amy tan. i'll be violent at you if you do.
i guess the only thing to do now is lie upside down until something interesting happens.
Monday, June 15, 2009
My Festival Of Me began on Friday June 5th, when I careened into my final tutorials for International Relations and English. Being the last day of semester, we were doing something 'relaxed' and 'fun.' Trivia competitions. I gave the 'relaxed' and the 'fun' the stink eye by winning both and going home to far more chocolate than should be humanly possible to digest. I passed out into a chocolate induced coma for a few hours before dragging my mother into the city to see Disgrace (detailed in my previous blog entry). We had a nice time out, my mother admitting that I looked 'nice'. High praise indeed. And we had no arguments, which is akin to Israel and Palestine suddenly having a giant party together. Most mother daughter relations are like that.
Saturday began with the instigation of what may become a new tradition. Oh, who am I kidding? Clearly what I did Saturday morning is a habit of mine every time I'm hungry but don't feel like eating in the city. I went to Max Brenner and had a large Italian. um. Large Italian Thick Dark Hot Chocolate. That's possibly better than a Large Italian, to be honest. Then I saw Overlord (again, see previous blog entry), which was in the freeeeeezing Art Gallery of NSW Theatre. I defrosted myself by charging through the sun drenched Domain and into Myer where I solved a sartorial challenge that had been plaguing my mother and brother in less than 5 minutes. My mother was in a tizzy as my brother owns no 'smart clothing'. They had been traipsing through the Sydney shops trying to find a coat that "wasn't expensive, but warm, but not overly la-dee-dah", because Jeremy has a tendency to 'lose' things (ie put them down and never pick them up but instead continue on his merry way until someone points out that he's missing something, by which time its too late to go back) They had been at this for a good hour before I showed up and produced a nifty peacoat off a rack that they had missed. Not expensive, not la-dee-dah (whatever that means, my mother has her own language). Done. Over. Shopping for me time. Which meant going to KIT, my absolute favourite make up store ever. The lovely Amber covered my face in stuff, I don't know what, possibly Spackle, glitter and concrete. I looked awesome. And then I went to see YovankAH, my hairdresser, who tutted at my fringe, which came to my top lip "this stopped being a fringe along time ago, darling". She chopped, dyed and spruced my hair. Then she spent half an hour shouting at my hair to make it stay in Victory Curls. One can of hairspray later, with instructions to spray more hairspray as soon as possible. There was no way my hair was going to change for about three years. There might be a new hole in the ozone layer because of my vanity.
But I looked AWESOME. And once I got home, got some red lippy on, my fantastic Glasgow Dress, I was ready for a night on the town.
This is me, having a good night out. After several drinks and several drinks (hence the shiny). Note my total awesomeness, which would lead you to think that I know how to swing dance, right? Well, I don't. I made an idiot of myself. But everyone at the Roxbury was very lovely, and Libby Bre Lizzle and I were asked to dance by many lovely boys, including this guy
Dead serious, Roux from Chocolat was there. And woah. He totally didn't mind how rubbish I was, mostly because Bre Libby and Lizzle all have some semblance of coordination (which gets suspiciously better as they get drunker). So we danced alllllllll night. And drank. The music was fantastic old big band swing music, which is my new favourite dancing music. Libby and I discussed the merits of building a time machine in order to go back in time, learn how to swing dance, come back and wow Roux, as well as the guy who sort of looked like the one Jonas Bother who isn't totally creepy. Eventually we danced our way out of the Roxbury, heartsandheads buzzing, feet a flutter and grins on our faces.
I staggered home, couldn't be bothered to attempt dismantling my hair. I went to sleep, fully expecting to awaken to a giant frizzball in the morning.
Instead, I awoke to my hair looking exactly the same. Not a hair out of place. Which was slightly creepy, really. So I spent Sunday, the 7th of June, my last day of being 20, terrified that moving would mean my hair would fall apart and be an irreversible mess. The thought of washing it never even entered my little hungover head.
Sunday Night, I descended upon the Shakespeare with Lizzle, her boyfriend The Beard, Libby, Kathryn, Kirstin and Danny. I wanted a quiet boozy night full of laughter and adoration for me. Which I got, mostly by dint of bringing my own cake.
Thats Libby and I, along with my Victory Curls. And my cake
And there we are again! How lovely!
I demanded they all sing Happy Birthday to me, which they did. I don't think I could have grinned much more.
We had a splendid time, so much better than being in some seedy bar with people I haven't seen in years who I don't really like, with speeches about drunken things I've done. Instead, everyone shared stories of their favourite Maddie Moments, the best being Kirstin's tale of our school camping adventures, when we cried over tent pegs which wouldn't go in the frozen ground.
Then when we did get the pegs in, the tent blew over in the night.
I was very lucky in the presents given to me by my friends.
Libby gave me a sonic screwdriver pen:
Kathryn gave me 21 pairs of stockings:
Bre gave me a screenpainting, which I think is an interpretation of me:
and Lizzle gave me much swag:
a Bartons Almond Kisses Tin
(which has inspired me to make some Almond Kisses)
(made by Lizzle)
I can't wait to put these on something...
I'm thinking a skirt and cardigan set?
A MUSTACHE NECKLACE
presumably given to try to get me to stop
whinging about Brandon Flowers lack of facial hair.
Sorry Lizzle, I'm still distraught.
A bag that she MADE.
GAH. When I opened this, I was gobsmacked that someone
would go to that much effort. For me?
A new ipod case. It looks like it has a face! And is cuddly!
Lizzle also made me a beautiful swing skirt, but I haven't got photos of it yet. But suffice to say, I was completely blown away by the effort she went to.
She's truly wonderful, and I'd be saying that regardless of what she gave me.
(I just wish she'd let me take a photo of her and me!!!)
So after that giftage orgy (although Lizzle gave me presents on tuesday) I once again staggered home, having drunk much more than I thought I had. I did however manage to dismantle my victory curls. I am determined to master them and wear them at least once a week.
On the morning of my 21st birthday, my mother woke me up.
By jumping on me, and squealing in her own brand of crazy-mum-talk.
I responded by burping in her face.
She told me that I hadn't been born yet.
Faced with that existential crisis ( I was born at 6.30 am in the UK, which is like, 7pm in Sydney, so when do I get to celebrate my birthday?) I went to see Sunshine Barry and The Disco Worms. A toddler pulled my hair. See previous post for details. Then I went back to bed for a bit. In the evening my family took me, my new dress and my new shoes out to dinner. I wish I had better photos, but they're all on my dad's camera, and we sent him to Vienna this week (what else can you do with a dad, I wonder?) so you'll have to wait. All the photos on my camera make me look like Wednesday Adams being attacked by a parrot.
Dinner was lovely, the food grand, the wine even more grand. My family were all in fantastic moods, which is rare for us. There was much laughing, toasting of drinks to me, drinking of drinks by me. Oh, and the gift orgy continued, with money from my Grandma, itunes cards from Lisa and Daniel, a new tartan skirt from Granny & Phil (no photos as the size was a bit off, sadly), and this from the Wicked Step Aunt:
her name is Maria, and she used to be a pillowcase. She fits like a dreamyglove, and everyone is jealous of her :)
But the best present of all came from my parents.
A Limited Edition Sailor "Creatures of The Deep" Octopus Fountain Pen
no 65 of 88
I know, right?
My lust and longing for this pen began in Geneva, nearly a year ago. You can't really see how beautiful it is from these photos but it's divine.When Dad and I saw this pen, I announced that I would have it for my 21st birthday, he informed me that I'd "be lucky to get a kick up the backside".
Best thing about this pen is that (and this will sound trite) but I feel like having something so lovely to write with has given me a bit of confidence back, so my writing has been happening!
All in all, I had a brilliant birthday weekend; spending it with people who I love and care for, and who love and care for me. There was much laughter, much dancing, much nostalgia of the "remember when she did this....?" type.
I'm not one for big parties, but this? This was pretty awesome.
And I won't apologise if it looks like I'm showing off, so there.
gah. i promise i'll blog more with shakespeare's 'brevity is the soul of wit' in mind.
also, i hate photobucket and html and technology in general
Glamorous, Croydon is not.
I've had a bit of glamour in my life recently. What with my Festival Of Me, the Sydney Film Festival and the Vivid Festival. Although I'm still confused as to what Vivid actually was, apart from Brian Eno doing lots of talking and the Opera House being very prettily decorated with lights.
As for the Festival Of Me, you'll have to wait a few more hours because I need my brothers help with photographs. But I can tell you it was the absolute best birthday I've had in years.
Sadly though, the Sydney Film Festival? Not so fabulous.
I love film, adore it. I'll probably grow up into one of those women who wears all black and a red pashmina across her expansive bosom (or in my case, pillow that I'll shove up my cashmere jumper). There'll be an asymmetrical hairdo and I'll wave a Birkin bag around. I'll be fabulous and I'll use words like Bourgeois and Dilettante. I'm thoroughly looking forward to it, because then I'll be able to enjoy the Sydney Film Festival a bit more than I did this year. I'll tell you all the annoying stuff first, so that you can think badly of me, then I'll redeem myself. That's a rarity with me.
The most annoying thing (after the grand ticketing debacle and the website monstrosity) was the Knowing Laughs. The people who sit behind you (usually behind, so that you can't throw anything at them) and make these "ah" and "a-HA!" noises at ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. One feels like turning around and going "What? What am I possibly missing in this leaky Soviet drama about mud? Really? Please tell me, maybe then the two of us can annoy everyone else with our shared guffawing." The most aggravating of these incidents occurred when my mother and I went to see Disgrace, which is heart wrenching. This woman sat in front of us and tittered to herself during the introduction of the film. Then she apparently knew everything about Lord Byron and wanted us all to know she understood the complexities of him. Lady, I've studied Byron twice, both times resulting in HDs. But the worst bit was when she turned and tutted at my mother. My mother had a cold, and was crying, so therefore may have sniffed. It's not like other people weren't doing it. But this lady turned around and went "TUT" as if she pitied my mother for being moved by John Malkovich, South Africa and the utter futility of the movie. I think my mother's reaction was probably more what the film maker was going for, really.
So that was the most annoying thing about the Film Festival. Perhaps because I was one of the younger people there, and I'm so painfully insecure that you could mistake me for song by The Smiths some days. Or perhaps because its when the North Shore-ites all venture to the CBD and start ranting. That's probably it. Not me at all. Nope.
Annoying thing number two: The Red Carpet. There were several films that were premieres, and alot of them were Australian, which was fantastic. But there was one film, which I enjoyed immensely, but nearly didn't make it too, thanks to Teri Hatcher. Ms Hatcher seems lovely. But she's also teenytiny and really doesn't need a red carpet that's three metres wide and takes up the entire entrance to the cinema, so that all us regular people have to try to negotiate a space about two feet wide. And of course everyone stops and tries to get their phones out to take photos so that they can say they were there. Whatever that means. I elbowed my way up and bolted into the cinema. And then the film didn't start for another 20 minutes, because Ms Hatcher couldn't get up her 3m wide red carpet for some reason. Traffic, maybe? I think the cult of the camera phone is what I'm railing against, because I really do think it's nice to see artists get some recognition.
There were other things that annoyed me, but I'm aware that most of them stem from my painfully ridiculous tendency to over think and be over paranoid. It's something I'm working on, because if I don't, they'll probably have to start medicating me with something other than Pimms and Smarties.
So. Films That I Saw. In Order. With Links. And Ratings Out Of 5. Hurrah!
1. Bluebeard (France).
I was expecting something much raunchier from this movie, but the four girls who played the two pairs of sisters (one set in Medieval/Mythical France, the other in 1930s France, I think) were so mesmerising, so natural that I didn't mind. It was a much more sympathetic take on the traditional Bluebeard story, so much so that when Bluebeard's crime is revealed, it's difficult to understand his motivation. I think this is because the focus is on sisterhood, and the way familial relationships haven't really changed. The mis-en-scene is cold, chilling French woodland that feels mystical yet hollow. However there are some frustratingly amateur shots (that set off the Knowing Laughs). On the whole though, this is a quintessential French film that will leave you thinking about sisterhood, more than anything else. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Lola Creton and Daphine Baiwar, who played the Medieval set of sisters. 3/5
2. Four Nights With Anna (Czech) + Us (no link)(France)
Us is a short film based on a Dictaphone recording made by a French Policeman as he investigates an apartment. He discovers a body that appears to have been there for quite sometime. The audio is juxtaposed with images of a family having a day at the beach, which creates a contrast much more moving when viewed. 4/5
Four Nights with Anna was frustrating, frustrating. I should have known it would be when the two men sitting behind me began ranting about Claire Stewart's (SFF director) wardrobe choices, before diverging to recent Czech films they had enjoyed. That aside, what was frustrating (and this turned out to be a characteristic of a few other films I saw) was the deliberate distance between the audience and the film. I enjoy a bit of mystery, I enjoy having to work to understand a film, but what seems typical of Eastern Bloc films is the way they just refuse to let you in, refuse to let you understand. In this film we see a Crematorium worker, who appears to have intellectual difficulties, repeatedly break into a woman's room to paint her toenails. It's kind of creepily sweet, the way he falls in love with her and cleans up for her. But at the same time, the thought of anyone ever doing that to me sends me into a terrified rage. This film would have been better had it been tightened in the editing room. The jumps between the past and present weren't really necessary. And the ending was just trite. 1.5/5
3. Disgrace (South Africa/Australia)
(This film was produced in NSW, so apparently it counts as Australian. I dunno, ask Premier Rees.) This film is based on a book by J.M. Coetzee. I've always meant to read it, even though I gathered its a fairly harrowing read. The film. Oh my. I can't say Ｉenjoyed this film, even though it's one of the best films I saw. John Malkovich is just perfectly clinical and composed, to the point where he stops being Malkovich and is David Lurie. All the actors in this film are fantastic, and every time I think about this movie, my heart cracks. This is what a good movie should do, it should leave you thinking about the world, it should leave you with an emotion, regardless of what emotion it is. Although I wouldn't/couldn't see this movie again, nor read the book, I would suggest that you see it because it is brilliant. Just make sure you have tissues, something to cuddle and something positive to do afterwards. 4/5 (I'm deducting a point for the ruination of my makeup, which was supposed to be waterproof but failed miserably)
4. Overlord (UK)
This black and white film came out in 1975. It's a fantastic documentation of the D-Day Landings at Normandy, June 6th 1944, which means I saw it on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. The film uses archival footage of the preparations for D-Day, which was codenamed Overlord. The director, Stuart Cooper (who was at the screening) used footage from the Imperial War Museum archives, and interspersed it with new footage based on the training that a reluctant solider, Tom, goes through. This lends the film a more personal edge, as well as some wonderful comic moments. It's impossible to tell which footage is which, really, and the whole thing manages to capture the horror of war and the black humor of it all. There's horrifying footage of London being bombed, and there's sweet imagery of Tom trying to make sense of it all. If you can get hold of it, do so. 4.5/5
5. Sunshine Barry & The Disco Worms (Denmark) + Little Dinosaurs (Scotland)
I love dinosaurs. So a short film about little dinosaurs who get beaten up by a big dinosaur, then take their revenge? I was so there. So were many many squawking children. But dinosaurs. Awesome. And then the narration had wee children with Scottish accents. 5/5 for cute, but it so could have been longer.
Sunshine Barry is twee, and there's no Panic at the Disco, so small mercies. What there is, however, is the very unlikeable Barry. He's a worm, he's full of himself and he doesn't listen. His worm mother is overbearing and reminded me of Mrs Q, the mother of a girl I went to school with. But despite that, this is a nice little film - Barry does get his comeuppance in the form of a bitchy office worm, the gay worm comes out of the closet to the Village Worms, Barry redeems himself, it's a nice lesson in how winning isn't everything and the soundtrack is fantastically cheesy disco. The animations are snappy, clear and the physicality of the worms is hysterical. It doesn't have the cleverness of Shrek or Toy Story, but kids will love it. 3.5/5
6. Paper Soldier (Russia)
Oh gods. I saw this film the day after my birthday, which meant that I was running on a three day hangover, not enough coffee or sleep. And it was so very cold. So of course going to see a film set in Soviet Russia/Kazakhstan was a good idea. Ugh. This film was cold cold cold and tried too hard to be absurd, put too much distance (like, the distance between the moon and me) between the characters and the audience, not to mention the length of the film. I wanted to shake the main character, who was so stereotypically soviet that my James Bond complex kicked in and I wanted an explosion just so things would warm up. And the women, ugh. So much whinging and moaning and pouting and fake hair. Seriously Russia, get over the cold and start making crazy college road trip films. Please. I know you can do it. Make something funny, something that doesn't mention bloody Chekhov. 1/5
7. The Beaches of Agnes (France)
Oh Agnes Varda, I'd forgotten how totally mad and awesome you are. Varda made The Gleaners, which is one of my favourite documentaries. Now she's made a doco about herself, and all the wonderful people she's known and the wonderful things she's done. She's so wonderfully creative, and at 83 shows no signs of slowing down. Her film is a celebration of life, of art and love. If I say anymore, it'll turn into mush 5/5
8. Coraline (US)
Oooh, spooky. Henry Selick, who did Nightmare Before Christmas, has outdone himself here. This film is magically scary, beautifully animated. The voices are done by an almost unrecognisable (andthereforeunannoying) Daktota Fanning, and Teri Hatcher, who outdoes herself on the scary. The 3-D effects are used subtly, which enhances the tension. You'll probably read alot about this film in coming weeks/months, so I wont blather - this is a film that will spook everyone, and probably make you reconsider your relationship with your mother. I am however, deducting a point for the red carpet fiasco (see above) 4/5
9. Humpday (USA)
One of the best films I've seen in a while. This film is dialogue driven, which appeals to a wordy talky person like me. I loved the way in which two best friends, Ben and Andrew describe their relationship, how real it all seemed. Humpday is advertised about two guys who make a non gay male on male porno, but its more about how two male best friends evaluate their changing friendship, and the ways in which their lives are different to what they expected. This is unexpectedly sweet. I wanted to be friends with these people, even if Ben was a bit of an arse, and Andrew one of those drifty people (although actor Joshua Leonard has the best laugh ever). Anna, wife of Ben is just brilliant, not over the top, not dolllike, just the sort of real woman you want to see in film. The movie as a whole is beautifully filmed and one that I'll be adding to my DVD collection. 5/5
10. Daisies (Czech)
This was a cute, artsy film from 1966. I could see how in the 60s it would have been cutting edge, and it did make me laugh alot. But after a while the lack of point begins to grate - this is probably the intent of the filmmakers. The flim centres around two sisters, who have decided to go bad because the worldd is going bad. So they eat and waste food, tease men and generally behave like Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse and Paris Hilton rolled up and spilt into two. Its kind of fun. After a while though, I got sick of the stylised way the girls spoke, which was in a very slow ditzy Czech way. They sounded like blow up dolls would sound if they could speak. The chandelier scene though, was great. Another selling point is that it's only an hour long. 3/5
11. Cold Souls (USA/Russia) + We Who Stayed Behind (Denmark)
Wicked Step Aunt and I missed the beginning of We Who Stayed Behind, as we were queuing for a ticket for WSA. But I think I got the jist of it - something went wrong, peoples blood turned grey and they left the children alone. Then the girl's blood went grey and the boy saved her. It was kind of nice, in a hopeful apocalyptic way. I think mostly I was glad it didn't turn into a zombie film. 2.5/5
Cold Souls was cold. And I didn't appreciate that, because Sydney is very very cold at the moment. So when faced with freezing New York, then freezing St Petersburg, I was a little unimpressed. However, two of my favourite actors, Paul Giamatti and David Strathairn are in this film. I did enjoy this film, although it wasn't quite as complex as it had been advertised as. Giamatti plays a version of himself, trying to prep for a performance of Uncle Vanya (ugh). He's feeling twisted, so he goes to Strathairn and has his soul extracted. Wackyness and soul searching (ha) ensue. It's an attempt at a sort of Being John Malkovich type movie, but it falls short, I think because of the limitations of the idea of the soul. That said, Giamatti is fantastic as himself - neurotic, angry and bedecked in a fur hat with pompoms. The most beautiful part of the film is when he looks "inside" at his soul. The Russian part of the film is much better than Paper Soldiers, as the character Nina is wonderful and her clothes are to die for. I'd watch this again on DVD, on a really hot day. 3.5/5
12. An Education (UK)
Lizzle, WSA and I got into the cinema (after a near debacle with our dinner) at 7.30pm. we knew there'd be speeches and shizz, it was closing night. However, Lizzle pointed out that the movie started out at 8.30, which meant that there was an hour of talking in order to present 5 awards. What I remember is NSW Premier Nathan Rees tried to redeem himself by hiring people to cheer every time he mentioned things that the NSW Government is doing (although as far as I can make out, all our state government is doing is trying to talk about things that it might, maybe, possibly do. One day. If the Sydney Morning Herald stops exposing them, dangit). Miranda Otto was there too, clearly having left the house in her dressing gown instead of her winter coat. Someone let Nell Schofield wear a floor length leather coat. Bronson won best film. And then An Education started. And it was fantastic.
Set in the 1960s, in Twickenham, An Education is about Jenny, a precocious French loving schoolgirl studying to go to Oxford. Her parents are pushy, the boy who likes her is a geek (but adorable and I'd date him). Then she meets Dashing David, who is older, experienced and things get a lot better. From there on its parties with Danny (Dominic Cooper, looking sexy and predatory as ever) and Helen (the amazing Rosamund Pike in what might be her best role yet). They bound about the place, drinking dancing laughing wearing great clothes. It's magical and filmed in such a way that its not a montage, but a definite narrative progression. We see Jenny grow, see her and her parents become entranced with David. Jenny's English Teacher and Headmistress (the infallible Emma Thompson) try to intervene, but Jenny raises the question "Why do we have to be educated?". Although her teachers can't answer this, Jenny eventually figures it out herself. An Education is one of the best coming of age films I have ever seen, up there with C.R.A.Z.Y. and Mysterious Skin. It's a fantastic period piece, and the first screenplay written by Nick Hornby since High Fidelity that's not been childishly twee, but genuinely funny. The acting is first rate. Don't you dare miss this one. 5/5
So that was my Sydney Film Festival Experience. I didn't see as many films as usual, owing to the silly ticketing system. But on the whole, I did have a good time. I've tried to be lenient with my ratings, which is why there are a lot of 5s...well. Four. Next year though, I'd like to see a better ticketing system and more Australian films - not that there weren't any, but the timetable was so skewed.
Right. Now onto the birthday post.
ps. this post took me three hours to write because my keyboard keeps having attacks of the crazies.thats my excuse for not blogging recently, my desktop is kaput, and EEEPC's aren't really long term options.