Sunday, June 12, 2011
Rainy Day Sydney
Sydney is meant to be a sunshiny city. Rainy, windy days somehow don't suit it. In an abstract kind of way I feel sorry for people who planned to spend this long weekend doing outdoor things, but much more selfishly I just feel this is perfect weather for film-going.
Even Sydney Harbour and the Bridge seemed less attractive today as I queued at the nearby cinema to see 'The Good Life'. This is a Danish documentary that has the characteristics I like in a documentary; the film-maker has chosen an engaging subject and interesting characters and has then let them tell the story in a straight-forward way (with the possible exception of a few too many scenes of portentous waves crashing on rocks). The central characters are an aging mother and her fifties-ish daughter who, though Danish, live in a cramped flat in Portugal. They used to be rich, but now live on the mother's small pension. The daughter blames her mother for her current predicament - accusing her of bringing her up to be rich and then not providing the income to live the life she desires. The mother is torn between guilt at her daughter's upbringing, a sad but realistic acceptance of her daughter's narcissism, and distress at her daughter's future without her small pension. The depiction was both moving and funny - and definitely worth a 4 out of 5.
I also saw 'Target', a very long Russian film that screened, rather appropriately, in the grandeur of the State Theatre, freed from the noise of building for the weekend. I dithered about going to see this film, but remembered that last year one of the films I'd like best was a long Russian film, 'How I Ended This Summer', and so decided I would try this one. However, this turned out to be a very different kind of movie - momentous in its scale and themes, with lavish cinematography and a wardrobe to die for. What would you do if you had the opportunity to grow no older than you currently are? How would you live the rest of your life? This is the situation the five central characters of this film enter into rather cavalierly - and then discover its impact. There are also themes of the power of money and possession, petty corruption, lust, and the mindlessness of 'reality' television. But the film is just too much; altogether too excessive for my liking. A 3 out of 5.