Unmade Beds **
Dir: Alexis Dos Santos (seemed like a lovely chap).
Shit. Shallow as fuck and too cool for school. Filled with dull self indulgent alcoholic mopers, and a love story that could make you want to punch things. I think it was supposed to be fun, cute and beguiling, but I found it irritating and contrived. I left this film with no idea of what the point was. I honestly tried to like this film, and though there are one or two funny moments, after the first 20 minutes I just gave up and waited for it to end. The atmosphere is the only convincing part of this film so it may be interesting in 20 years or so as a document of a time and place, but I sincerely doubt the film will last in people minds long enough for that to happen.
The Loved Ones (2009) ***
After a weak and melodramatic beginning, it’s the second half where this film really takes off. First time feature director Sean Byrne shows a real talent for timing managing to combine comedy and horror in the same moment. Though this work has many faults, it is clear that Byrne is one to watch closely as a possible future Australian cult film identity. Despite not being a fan of horror movies, I was happlily taken on the ride with this one (though peeking through my fingers for many parts), and so was the audience who were simultaniously laughing, gasping, and slipping out the occasional profanity. I think this film could be particularly succesful with a teen audience.
Hansel and Gretel (2007) *****
Fairy tales more than many other forms of story telling have always illuminated the darkest abysses of our moral subconscious. Hansel and Gretel plumbs those depths.
A young man Eun-Soo is in a car accident. He is found by a young girl and taken to her house in the clearing of a dark forest “The house of happy children.” In the house he finds a family, the picture of a kind of childhood utopia; it seams to be Christmas all the time and the house is filled with saccharin nostalgia, toys and cakes. His attempts to leave the house through the thick and winding forest seem to always lead him back to the house. The story line takes the kind of dark twisted and unexpected turns as the forest itself.
This film is richly layered in European folk law, but with a distinctly south Korean creepiness. We follow Eun-Soo closly as he unravels the dark secrets behind the lives of the house and its inhabitants, feeling his confusion, fear and distrust he becomes the trully endearing hero of the story. This film taps into the psychology of the Grimm fairy tale demonstrating that this story is as affecting and frightening as it was as a child. Incredible production design and a sound track reminiscent of Danny Elfmans early work this film is an astoundingly imaginative and impressive achievement from young film maker Yim Phil-Sung. Truly unforgettable.
—> OTHER MIFF REVIEWS: