MIFF review: Unmade Beds; The Loved Ones; Hansel and Gretel

2 Aug

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) *****

hansel and gretel

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.

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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.

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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.

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Jemila MacEwan


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19 Responses to “MIFF review: Unmade Beds; The Loved Ones; Hansel and Gretel”

  1. Jemila August 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    had a conversation with my house mates about H&G which brought to light some things in retrospect that I think I overlooked in the first watching because I was emerged in different elements. One thing that really could have been much better in this film is the editing. Often the pace, tension and atmosphere suffer because of this. Also the films ending feels a little tacked on, it kind of undermines what could have been a more mysterious and poignant ending by taking us too far. It feels a bit like a ‘producers’ ending. Re-edited I think this film could be great. Directors cut please.

  2. Jemila August 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Is it ok to add after thoughts to a review?

  3. Ronan Macewan August 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    I think its ok to do that.

    I think Jim Schembri should be made to do so, he seems to hand out a lot of ‘dogs’ and ‘5’s’

  4. Jemila August 4, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    Saw ‘Exploding Girl’ and really liked it. probably won’t review it but i would recommend it. I found it quite personally affecting. Quite beautiful.

  5. dell August 6, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    o hai kid sister, I wanna see

  6. olen August 7, 2009 at 2:13 am #

    Umm…I think Unmade Beds is very good, but I thought Dos Santos’ first film, “Glue,” is better – check it out. They both have fantastic soundtracks. He’s exploring ideas about sexuality, identity, youth, and searching – which I guess isn’t something you’re looking for film to do for you.

    • Ronan Macewan August 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

      I think it’s like Amelie, if you’re in the mood for it’s themes, then you will absolutely love it.

      If you’re feeling a bit more cynical, the whole thing is completely transparent and mawkish.

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  1. MIFF review: We Live in Public (2009) « Australian Film Review - August 3, 2009

    […] Unmade Beds + The Loved Ones + Hansel and Gretel […]

  2. Film Review: The Good the Bad and The Weird (2008) « Australian Film Review - October 2, 2009

    […] Yim’s take on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale Hansel & Gretel and were impressed beyond measure. The wide range of films emanating from just south of the axis of evil have utilised an informed […]

  3. MIFF review: We Live in Public (2009) - November 4, 2010

    […] Unmade Beds + The Loved Ones + Hansel and Gretel […]

  4. Film Review from Japan: Unmade Beds « Australian Film Review - March 18, 2011

    […] 18 Mar As a lover of many things Japanese, and with a deep respect for their culture, it is both sad and terrifying to see what they’re going through at the moment. AFR’s thoughts are with them, and we hope they pull through this with the resilience they are famous for. This seemed like a good time as any to publish a review by one of Gram Morris’s students from his teaching days in Japan. Aya Nator’s take on the film makes a nice counterpoint to the panning Jemila gave it a while back. […]

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