Tag Archives: miff 2015

MIFF 2015 – Head (1968)

Director: Bob Rafelson
Starring: Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Victor Mature, Frank Zappa, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, plus many more

Hey, hey, we are The Monkees
You know we love to please
A manufactured image
With no philosophies.

There is not really a plot for this movie so it really defies a conventional review. As a cultural artefact it is an interesting example of what happens when someone tries to tap into a popular movement and fails.

Unfortunately for the Monkees it meant the end of them as a group due to problems with the production and the movie being rejected by their core audience and the older audience they were trying to attract. The film bombing so hard meant it was not seen that widely and cost the studio a lot of money.

There are quite a few examples of this sort of movie, even the Beatles had a go at one point. Some of the more obscure movies have only recently been released on the “manufacture on demand” catalogues from studios such as the Warner Archive.
The songs were really good in this and it was a pity the album that was released at the same time as the movie did not do too well either.

Even before I watched the movie people were telling me their favourite scenes, so it has a big impact on the people who get to see it.

While I don’t know if I like the same things other people like about it, I do like certain things and not others such as the execution of the Viet Cong prisoner being used as a punchline several times. It was obnoxious to even consider. It does feel like a lot of things were either included in the movie by someone deliberately trying to sabotage it or trying to see what they could get away with.

Some films to watch if you liked this movie (courtesy of the Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema Facebook group and my own research)
The Phynx
I Love You, Alice B. Tolkas
The Groove Tube
The Pink Angels
Everything You Know Is Wrong
Kentucky Fried Movie
Amazon Women on the Moon
The Holy Mountain
The Magic Christian
Hollywood Boulevard

MIFF 2015 – The Look of Silence (2014) with Q & A

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer

In this companion documentary to the Act of Killing, Adi, whose brother was killed in the Communist purges in Indonesia during 1965 confronts the killers responsible for his brother’s death in an effort to get them to apologise or at least admit their guilt.

How Adi manages to keep it together in the face of such shocking admissions from the killers is nothing short of extraordinary and he is also threatened at times as his questions are seen as too deep and probing.
I would recommend watching this if you have seen the Act of Killing or even if you have not but be warned there are some brutal descriptions of the killings by the people who carried them out and the behaviour of some of the killers is even worse.

From the Q&A Joshua Oppenheimer said they started filming with Adi and the survivors first, but after three weeks the army threatened them and they had to shut down.
It was the survivors who suggested that they film with the perpetrators of the killings as they were open to talking about it.

As it turned out this was a good idea as the perpetrators boasted of the killings and after filming interviews with 40 people, Anwar Congo was the 41st person filmed and turned out to be the main protagonist of the first film.
Joshua thinks that the boasting and guilt are related and the killers are putting on a performance when they describe the killings as they do not merely recount what happened.

Adi watched all the footage that Joshua sent him over the seven years while making the first movie.

Joshua gave Adi a camcorder to record a video diary, one thing that Adi filmed ended up in the Look of Silence.

It was decided by Joshua to make two movies way back in 2004, one with the perpetrators and the other with the victims.

It was Adi’s idea to meet his brother’s killers, Joshua was against it as he did not think it would be safe.

Adi said he wanted to do it as he did not want his children to live in a “prison of fear” as his parents had done. The footage he shot that appears in the movie shows the day his father was too far gone to be able to conquer his fears as his mind was gone.

The film was shot in the months before the Act of Killing premiered in 2012. While the first movie covers Indonesia-wide killings, the second movie focusses on one village in Northern Sumatra.
Joshua did not think they would get to finish filming after the first film came out and he was waiting for them to be shut down.

Q – What happened to Adi?

A – The Act of Killing led to a change of attitudes in Indonesia so the killings are now regarded as a genocide and not covered up. Although Joshua cannot return to Indonesia, Adi and his family remained but moved to another part of the country. He has since opened an Optometrist and there are people monitoring his safety. He has not received any death threats but Joshua continues to.

There is still too much corruption in Indonesia and it is a democracy in name only according to Joshua Oppenheimer.

Q – Is there a truth and reconciliation commission? What is the role of other countries?
A – The International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot try the cases as they happened before it was set up.
There could be a special tribunal set up by the UN Security Council but several countries that supported Indonesia in the killings have veto power and would not agree to it.
A senator saw the film and is moving a resolution to get the files in the USA involving the support of Indonesia at the time declassified. There is a petition to support this resolution.
Major corporations used slave labour from people detained around the time of the killings.
The USA provided the radios used to organise the killings and a list of names.

Q – What about West Papua and the involvement of corporations?
A – The film takes place in Northern Sumatra. There was no need for other massacres in other parts of the country as people were scared into silence. Atrocities are still being committed by the militias and supported by the Army.

MIFF 2015 – Battles Without Honour and Humanity (1973)

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku
Starring: Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsukat, Nobuo Kaneko, Tatsuo Umemiya, Kunie Tanaka

When a movie starts with a nuclear explosion you know it not screwing around. Starting in 1946 in the Hiroshima prefecture, men fight each other like dogs for whatever scraps they can find and become the top dog.

There is no real “good guy” in this movie but Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) is the least bad and ends up involved with the Yakuza after standing up for a friend and ending up in prison. There he meets a Yakuza who he becomes friends with who explains it is more a matter of circumstance people end up in crime.

Upon his release he ends up joining the one crime family with his friends and things take off from there. It is kind of pointless to try and talk about all the characters and plot developments as there are so many of them. The box set of the five movies actually came with a chart so you could track where people were in the various families.

The movie also helpfully tells you when a main character dies, which is quite a lot as it turns out. A lot of the time it is for the stupidest reason or so one boss can gain a momentary advantage. This movie does not glamourize Yakuza life as much as try and show you how it really would be. One example would be the finger chopping scene. Nobody knows how to do it and when they present the finger the other boss says “you didn’t need to go to all that trouble!”

A lot of the characters do not act in ways you would expect from this sort of film, such as the crying Yakuza boss or the ex-friend Shozo’s who cries like a little girl when he finds out he is going to be killed. Shozo is pretty much sick of the whole thing by the end and could go either way.

I watched this on the big screen in a festival environment and could not understand why people were laughing at some scenes. I enjoyed it and did not need to laugh at it and it explains a lot of things I have seen in other movies about the Yakuza and even western crime movies.

Even though the other movies in the series are hard to get I would like to try and see them now and see how the rest of the story plays out. Also there is a sequel to the series set years later.

MIFF 2015 – Shortlist

First run through the program. Will probably get a E-mini pass plus extras and one of the forums.

The Forbidden Room
Tehran Taxi
Under Electric Clouds
Tyke Elephant Outlaw
Stories I want to tell you in person
Snow Monkey
Only the Dead
The Last Wave
Storm Boy
Gulpilil Shorts
Another Country
Charlie’s Country
Dark Age
Wonderful World End
Spmg of the Sea
Robot Overlords
The Assassin
Chasuke’s Journey
Ryuzo and his seven henchmen
Ruined heart: Another love story between a criminal and a whore
Racing extinction
Fresh Dressed
Finders Keepers
The Look of Silence
Exotica, Erotica, Etc
Tea Time
Storm Children – Book One
The Russian Woodpecker
Thank you for playing
In the basement
Steve Jobs: The Man in the machine
Graceful girls
Speed sisters
Red Army
Being Evel
Cartel Land
Deep Web
Yellow Submarine
Battles without honour and humanity
Grey gardens
Mr Dynamite: The rise of James Brown
Colin Ray – Waiting for my real life
Human Highway: Director’s Cut
He Never Died
Turbo Kid
Drunked Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon
Yakuza Apocolypse: The Great War of the Underworld
City of Gold
Animation Shorts Program
WTF Shorts

David Gulpilil in Conversation with Margaret Pomeranz

Director’s Chair:
In Conversation with Joshua Oppenheimer

In Focus:
Clickbait Criticism!
Uneasy Laughs
Guilty Pleasures
Foodie-ism: Are we full up?