Film, Immersive Experience, News, Perth Festival, Reviews, Theatre

A star is born

Perth Festival review: The Last Great Hunt, Lé Nør   ·
PICA, February 13 ·
Review by David Zampatti ·

Lé Nør  (The Rain) is the most ambitious work yet by The Last Great Hunt. It’s also the first time that all six members of the West Australian company have combined their talents as devisers, operators and performers in one production.

The result is awe-inspiring.

Here’s the bare bones: Lé Nør is set on the imagined North Atlantic island city-state of Sólset (from now on I’m going to dispense with the accents and umlauts; more on them later) that has endured a terrible seven-year drought that has reduced its inhabitants to water-hoarding, water-blackmailing obsessives. When the rains finally come, they keep coming. Before long the little island faces an even more existential threat.

We follow the lives of the inhabitants of one apartment block, Inez (Gita Bezard), a pregnant recue helicopter pilot, and her husband Leal (Jeffrey Jay Fowler), Petri (Chris Isaacs) and his inseparable mate Tobe (also Fowler), and two single women drawn to each other, Eliza (Arielle Gray) and Soren (Adrianne Daff). Another woman, Suzette (Jo Morris, the only non-Hunter in the cast) pines for her fled boyfriend in her lonely flat, endlessly playing and replaying Phil Collins’s Against All Odds.

All of their shenanigans are overseen with mild menace by the narrator, TLGH’s gamester-in-chief, Tim Watts.

That’s the last you need bother about the plot. It’s the how, not the what, that this thing is about.

As well as the Collins dirge, there’s I’m Not in Love, White Wing Dove, Head over Heels, How Do I Get You Alone, steak knives and more in the exquisitely hideous 1980s soundtrack ­– is there a word for nostalgia for a time you didn’t have to endure yourself?

That’s only part of the referential delight of the work. It’s a deep dive into a world transformed by the lens of a camera, a stage show that becomes, more completely than anything I can remember, the Grand Illusion, the making of cinema.

Effectively the set is a screen that dominates the PICA stage, designed, along with its attendant gadgetry, by the “seventh Hunter”, Anthony Watts. All the show’s action, all its effects, are created for, and live on, that screen. Around it bustle the Hunters and stage manager Clare Testoni, setting scenes, setting up camera shots, striking poses, delivering lines, all to be distilled into images on it.

It’s a phenomenally intense ride – if anything a little too dizzying to actively engage in for 90 minutes – wildly funny and sexy. It’s a technical achievement, with a personality and charisma, like nothing we’ve seen from a West Australian company.

The title, the Hunters say, means “The Rain” in the hilarious gibberish-language they have concocted for the show (there are English surtitles), but we know better.

It really means film noir (although some of the shots, of Gray and Daff in particular, owe as much to flicks like David Hamilton’s soft focus, gauzy 1977 Bilitis as anything grittier) but film theory is probably as unimportant here as narrative. Nothing is important (when nothing is real, there’s nothing to get hung about).

So just sit back and watch Jo Morris in a phone box climbing up the walls and across the ceiling while you see how it’s done; watch two fight superstars (Gray and Daff as goodie and baddie respectively) suddenly come to life on their billboard; watch Bezard’s matchbox helicopter swoop down to rescue our heroes from Solset’s last unsubmerged rooftop (the one with the billboard) like eagles on the slopes of Mt Doom.

With Lé Nør the Last Great Hunt have confirmed their individual and collective stardom and their mastery of their craft. Now it’s time for the real fun to begin.

“Lé Nør” is playing at PICA until February 24, and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre February 28 – March 2.

Pictured top: Visual marvel – Jo Morris and The Last Great Hunt soar. Photo: Daniel Grant.

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WASO Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back
Calendar, Film, Music, Performing arts, September 19

Music: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – In Concert

6 & 7 September @ Riverside Theatre,
Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre ·
Presented by West Australian Symphony Orchestra ·

‘No. I am your father.’
Experience the complete Star Wars film on the giant screen with John Williams’ epic score played live by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

As Imperial Forces launch an all-out attack on the Rebel Alliance, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) flee to Cloud City where they are captured by Darth Vader. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) journeys to the mysterious, marshy planet of Dagobah, where the wise Jedi Master Yoda teaches the young hero the ways of the Force. Little does Luke know that all his Jedi training will be called upon so soon. A stunning revelation – and a seeming life-or-death duel with Darth Vader – await.

Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts in association with 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm, and Warner/Chappell Music. © 2018 & TM LUCASFILM LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Friday 6 September at 7.30pm
Saturday 7 September at 1.30pm & 7.30pm

More info
W: www.waso.com.au/concerts-tickets/whats-on/concert/star-wars-the-empire-strikes-back
E:  waso@waso.com.au

Pictured: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – In Concert

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The Oscars
Calendar, February 19, Film

Film: 2019 Oscars Party

25 February @ The Backlot Perth ·
Presented by Revelation Perth International Film Festival ·

Where better to watch The Academy Awards then with a bunch of film fanatics in Perth’s best private cinema. Come to the Backlot Perth and hang out with The Revelation Film Festival to watch the 2019 Academy Awards in style and comfort.

Full bar open
Red carpet from 8.30am
Prizes and lively debate in spades
Wear your Oscars best!

More info
W: www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2019-oscars-tickets-54277853521
E:  marketing@revelationfilmfest.org

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Y Tu Mama Tambien
Calendar, December 18, Film

Film: Y Tu Mamá También / Cine Latino Film Festival Closing Night

16 December @ Cinema Paradiso ·
Presented by Palace Cinemas ·

To close the festival on Sunday 16th December, Alfonso Cuarón’s funny,
hot-blooded, and moving road comedy Y Tu Mamá También will screen in a
2K restoration. Enjoy the night with a drink on arrival.

Academy Award winner Alfonso Cuarón (Roma, Gravity, Children of Men)
had his breakout hit with the perfectly balanced road comedy, Y tu mamá
también starring Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna. The film tells the
story of Julio and Tenoch, seventeen-year-olds who have had a long
friendship despite their different backgrounds. With their respective
girlfriends away in Europe, Julio (Bernal) and his upper-class friend
Tenoch (Luna) are looking forward to a summer full of fun and foolishness.
During a wedding, they meet Luisa (Maribel Verdú) — the 28-year-old wife
of Tenoch’s scholarly cousin — and try to convince her to go on a road
trip to a made-up beach paradise the two claim is on the Oaxacan coast.
To their surprise, Luisa — who is looking to escape her troubled life
for a spell — agrees to go along. Two days into the trip, tension starts
to build between the two friends, who are not-so-quietly vying for her
affection. Soon simmering jealousies boil over into savage arguments,
threatening to completely destroy their friendship.

Shot beautifully by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and interspersed with
small visual reminders of political unrest juxtaposed with the natural
beauty of the country; this is a film not to be missed.

Watch the Y Tu Mamá También trailer here:  youtu.be/3Qg6n7V3kO4

Event Details:
Sunday 16 December
6:30pm Drink on Arrival
6:45 pm Screening of Y Tu Mamá También

Tickets: Palace Movie Club $23 / General Admission $27

To purchase tickets go to: www.cinelatinofilmfestival.com.au/
or www.palacecinemas.com.au

Tickets on sale now

More info:
www.cinelatinofilmfestival.com.au/

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Ten Days without Mum
Calendar, December 18, Film

Film: Ten Days Without Mum – Cine Latino Film Festival Special Event

12 December @ Cinema Paradiso ·
Presented by Palace Cinema ·

Join us on Wednesday 12th December for an Argentinian Special Event
for the 2018 Cine Latino Film Festival Perth with a screening of
Ten Days Without Mum, plus Argentinian food, drinks & entertainment.
What happens when mum decides to take a vacation from her family?
In Ten Days Without Mom, a suburban mother of four sets out on
vacation after her husband complains that her life is too easy.
This screening will be preceded by Argentinian drinks, canapés
thanks to El Asador Argentinian Grill & live entertainment by
Argentinian musician; Jere Sosa.

Watch the Ten Days without Mum trailer here:  vimeo.com/295520697

Event Details:
Wednesday 12 December
6:30pm Drinks and Canapés on arrival at Cinema Paradiso / Live music
7:00pm Screening of Ten Days without Mum

Tickets: Palace Movie Club $30 / General Admission $35

To purchase tickets go to: www.cinelatinofilmfestival.com.au/
or  www.palacecinemas.com.au

Tickets on sale now

More info: www.cinelatinofilmfestival.com.au/

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At Eternity's Gate
Calendar, December 18, February 19, Film, January 19, March 19, November 18, Perth Festival

Film: Lotterywest Films

26 Nov – Sun 7 Apr @ UWA Somerville & ECU Joondalup Pines ·
Presented by Perth Festival ·

What better way to spend a beautiful evening than enjoying a picnic with
friends before sitting back as the silver screen lights up the Festival’s
two beautiful outdoor cinemas at UWA Somerville and ECU Joondalup Pines.

One crowd-pleaser will be Sink or Swim, the quirky Cannes Film Festival hit
comedy about a group of middle-aged Frenchmen who form a synchronized swimming
team to ease their stress-filled lives. Other highlights include include South
Korean thriller Burning, which is an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story
‘Barn Burning’; Woman at War, a comedic Icelandic film about a middle-aged
eco-warrior; Cold War, Polish Oscar-winner Pawel Palikowski’s stylish mid-century
romantic saga; and Japanese drama Shoplifters, the winner of this year’s
Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival.

 

More info:
https://www.perthfestival.com.au/experience/lotterywest-films

Pictured: At Eternity’s Gate

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Latino Film Festival
Calendar, December 18, Film

Film: Roma: Cine Latino Film Festival Opening Night

6 December @ Cinema Paradiso ·
Presented by Palace Cinemas ·

Join us on Thursday 6th December for the opening night of the
2018 Cine Latino Film Festival Perth with a screening of ROMA,
plus Mexican street food, drinks & entertainment.

From Alfonso Cuarón, the Academy-Award nominated director of Gravity
and Children of Men, come along to the Opening Night of the 2018 Cine
Latino Film festival and be a part of this rare opportunity to see his
new film Roma, on the big screen. His most personal project to date,
this richly textured masterpiece chronicles a turbulent year in the lives
of a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City. After the film, the
festivities will continue in the Cinema Paradiso foyer with
drinks, Mexican Street food, thanks to El Mexicano and live
entertainment from Jere Sosa & band De Cuba Son. The WA SAMBA will
be in attendance before the film for a pre-show street performance.

6:45pm arrivals at Cinema Paradis , Street performance by WA SAMBA,
Screening of ROMA
9:00pm Afterparty in the Cinema Paradiso foyer

Watch the ROMA trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKVYRtE-kXI

More info:
https://cinelatinofilmfestival.com.au/

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Three people lie on their backs on the floor. They look like a mother, toddler daughter and feather. They are making shapes with their hands.
Features, Film, News

Bite-sized Festival film samples

While it’s still a few months until the bulk of the Perth Festival kicks off, the Lotterywest Film season is about to commence. Wondering what to see? For your convenience, Mark Naglazas has put together a tasting plate of some of the morsels on offer in the first half of the Festival’s film program.

The Perth Festival outdoor film season has always been a balancing act. On the one hand there is the commitment to bringing local audiences a sampling of the best of international cinema (often hot off the European or North American festival circuit); on the other there’s the demand to fill the coffers, the necessity of supporting the summertime arts bonanza’s less lucrative offerings by padding the program with crowd-pleasers.

The first half of the 2018/19 line-up is no exception. There are new works from celebrated auteurs – such as Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed post-Holocaust drama Ida, and Iranian master Asghar Farhadi’s first Spanish foray with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem – leavened with enough feel-good flicks to make you forget you’re sitting in chairs that every summer keep chiropractors across the Western suburbs busy.

A woman and man look at each other against a soft focus cityscape.
Qualities from both sides of the ledger: ‘An Unexpected Love’ is the first cab off the rank for the Perth Festival film line-up.

Astutely, Perth Festival film programmer Tom Vincent is kicking off this year’s event with a comedy-romance from Argentina, An Unexpected Love, that boasts qualities drawn from both sides of the ledger.

It is about a pair of empty nesters (played by Mercedes Moran and Ricardo Darin) who, out of fear of impending boredom (as opposed to present-tense misery), mutually agree to dissolve their union.

Ana, the more restless of the two, immediately hooks up with an old flame before moving on to a creepy perfume salesman (getting comfortable, for this oddball Salvador Dali lookalike, means slipping out of his clothes while Ana is in the bathroom) and ultimately a work colleague; while her somewhat shy ex, Marcos, has an ill-fated first date with a sexually voracious alpha female dentist… that ends in an ambulance ride to the hospital.

The middle portion of An Unexpected Love is as breezy as you might expect from such a set-up – and, of course, it’s in keeping with the long Lotterywest Films tradition of beginning the season with something easy to digest, along with the wine and cheese.

However, it is bookended by several extended dialogue scenes that dig deep into the lows and highs of long-term relationships that push it out of familiar rom-com territory into a more challenging space, with Moran and Darin (well-known to local audiences for the classy 2009 romantic thriller The Secret in Their Eyes) giving lovely performances, infusing their characters with world-weariness and romantic and sexual yearning.

A line-up of middle aged men in bathers and swimming caps, at the edge of a swimming pool.
Refloating their soggy lives: men in various states of disarray take up synchronised swimming in ‘Sink or Swim’.

Also on the lighter side of the ledger is Gilles Lellouche’s star-laden French hit Sink or Swim, a Full Monty-ish comedy about a group of men in various states of disarray and despair, who set about refloating their soggy lives through the unlikeliest of means – synchronised swimming. The cast is headed by the wonderful Matthew Almaric and the pool is filled with some of France’s finest actors, so a few ripples of laughter, if not waves, are guaranteed.

Curiously, Sink or Swim is screening just months after an English-language version of the same story played during the recently ended British Film Festival (both, it seems, were inspired by the 2010 Swedish documentary Men Who Swim). Where next for the burgeoning sub-genre in which men in crisis pick themselves up through off-beat activities. Form a sewing circle? Catwalk modelling? The wackier the better.

A woman carries a painting under one arm, against a soft focus garden setting. She looks soulful.
‘One Last Deal’. Photo: Cata Portin.

Indeed, men in crisis is one of the major themes of the first half of this year’s program (Vincent will announce the rest of the line-up in coming months). In Arctic, by Brazilian video auteur Joe Penna, Mads Mikkelsen plays a researcher-explorer who fights for survival in a frozen wilderness; in One Last Deal (from Finland) an elderly art dealer on the verge or retirement makes one last attempt at making real money, and reconnecting with his estranged family, by selling what he believes to be a masterpiece; and in At Eternity’s Gate the American artist-turned-filmmaker Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) brings us his portrait of tortured Dutch genius Vincent van Gogh (Venice Film Festival winner Willem Dafoe heads a splendid cast that also includes Mikkelsen, as well as Oscar Isaac).

While these Euro-American dramas are centred on the struggles of men, Shoplifters, from Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-Eda, is about an impoverished family who supplement their modest income by stealing stuff, diddling social security and, in the case of father Osamu’s sister-in-law, dressing up as a schoolgirl for sex shop voyeurs.

After a decade or more of celebrated films (several of which have played at Perth Festival) Kore-Eda won the Palm d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Make no mistake: Shoplifters will be slow and understated, as was his last film, After the Storm (2016), which rarely rose above the level of a whisper. But few filmmakers in any culture manage to so deftly tease out the delicate tissue that holds families together.

Black and white photo of two men in suits. One has his arms folded. Both gaze into the distance, not at the camera.
Pawel Pawlikowski’s ‘Cold War’ is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed post-Holocaust drama ‘Ida’.

Family is also the subject of the films of Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi. In films such as A Separation (2011) and The Salesman (2016), both of which played at previous Perth Festivals, Farhadi digs beneath the secrets and lies of the Iranian middle-classes, revealing that when it comes to marriage, family obligations and career, those living under an Islamic regime are not as far removed from us as you might imagine.

Set in a village on the outskirts of Madrid, Everybody Knows is about a woman named Laura (Penelope Cruz) who returns to native Spain with her two children and reconnects with her old flame, a winemaker played by Cruz’s real-life partner Javier Bardem. When Laura’s teenaged daughter goes missing it cracks open up a fissure in the extended family, exposing the long-suppressed history between the former lovers.

While Cruz gives the flashiest performance as the distraught mother, reviews suggest that it’s Bardem and, once again, Ricardo Darin (star of the opening film) who bare their souls in astonishing ways, sealing the male-centric first half of this year’s Lotterywest Films. Guys are in the spotlight this year but, in a world where male power is being challenged everywhere, nobody is making it easy for them.

Mark Naglazas

Lotterywest Films begins at UWA Somerville on November 26 and ECU Joondalup Pines on December 5. 

Pictured top is a still from Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s ‘Shoplifters’.

Mark Naglazas is the former film editor, chief film critic and an arts writer for The West Australian. He interviewed many of the world’s major stars and most significant filmmakers, covered international film festivals and hosted numerous movie and and arts events. He was also a long-time contributor to ABC radio. Mark now reviews films for 6PR, writes features for STM and is attempting his own screenplays. Mark loves nothing more than an old-school screwball comedy so his playground favourite activity is hanging upside down on the monkey bars.

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Rooftop Movies
Calendar, December 18, February 19, Film, January 19, March 19, November 18

Film: Rooftop Movies

3 Nov – 31 Mar @ Rooftop Movies ·
Presented by Artrage ·

Rooftop Movies – Perth’s most spectacular urban outdoor cinema at 68 Roe Street, Northbridge – is back with a crowd-pleasing line-up of blockbusters, new releases and throwback favourites and a brand-new look that will take a night at the movies to a whole new level.

The pop-up movie destination, perched six floors up above the hustle and bustle of Northbridge, boasts enviable city sunset views and, with its comfy beanbags and delicious food and beverage offerings, is the perfect date night location or place to catch up with your mates.  Nightly from 3 November to 31 March, except Mondays.

Get you tickets today @ http://www.rooftopmovies.com.au

More info:
www.rooftopmovies.com.au

Pictured: Rooftop movies photographed by Jarrad Seng

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Latino Film Festival
Calendar, December 18, Festivals, Film

Film: 2018 Cine Latino Film Festival Perth

6 – 16 December @ Cinema Paradiso ·
Presented by Palace Cinemas ·

The Cine Latino Film Festival, Australia’s largest festival of Latin American cinema arrives in Perth for the first time this December, exclusively at Palace Cinema Paradiso.

The festival brings together the most exciting new films from across Latin America and we are thrilled to announce that the 2018 festival will open with one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA. Beginning in Mexico, this year’s Cine Latino Film Festival features films from across the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Paraguay.

Watch the festival trailer here:  youtu.be/MmTRTxkzrfA

The festival will take place at exclusively at Cinema Paradiso from Thursday 6th – Sunday 16th December.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW.

More info:
cinelatinofilmfestival.com.au
www.palacecinemas.com.au

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