Friday, April 1, 2011

Meet the Filmmakers

Another month another Cinema Nova Meet the Filmmaker, this month (being April) will see the hubba hubba Dan Sultan grace us with his presence. Cinema Nova will host an advanced screening of Murundak: Songs of Freedom followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Natasha Gadd and Rhys Graham, Dan Sultan will also play a live acoustic set. This event has the potential to be fabulous. 

Murundak: Songs of Freedom invites us into the heart of Aboriginal protest music following The Black Arm Band, as they take to the road with their songs of resistance and freedom. The Black Arm Band was formed by some of Australia's finest musicians including Archie Roach, Shane Howard, Dan Sultan and the late Ruby Hunter. 

A while ago I blogged about two upcoming Meet the Filmmaker events, one for 127 Hours and the other The Way Back. Although I did attend, I never managed to blog about them. Oops!

So here they are, my opinions.

In February I headed to my local cinema for an advanced screening of Danny Boyles new film 127 Hours, followed by a Q&A with adventurer Aron Ralston.

The film follows the true story of adventurer Ralston and the events that led him to amputate his own arm in order to survive. James Franco stars as Ralston and gives a surprisingly powerful performance.

I found Ralston to be very funny, personable and a wonderful storyteller. He spoke of how this experience has changed his life for the better and if he had his time again he wouldn't change a thing. I was interested to learn that Ralston had had a large part in the production of 127 Hours, he originally declined Boyle's request to make this film, as he wanted to create a documentary similar to Touching the Void, he reconsidered once Boyle explained his vision.

Ralston was not afraid to share the painful elements of the story, he wanted the film to capture the days he endured with as much realism as possible. Ralston even allowed the personal and emotional footage, he had shot for his family during the fateful days, to be viewed by Boyle and Franco.

Ralston stated how he had maintained contact with the danish family who had found him walking the canyon after amputating his arm. And as fate would have it, the now 18 year old boy who had witnessed a man clinging to life in the Utah canyon was now picking fruit outside melbourne and was sitting in the audience. Very cool!

The Way Back is the new film from Australian filmmaker extraordinaire Peter Weir. About a group of prisoners who escape from a Siberian Gulag during World War II and walk the 4000 miles to freedom in India, the film stars Ed Harris and Jim Sturgess.

It is a mesmerising film with an incredible attention to detail. The film was shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India and the cinematography takes advantage of the impressive surroundings, bringing the viewer into the journey. This is a very powerful film, exploring human strength and kindness.

I was very excited to hear from Peter Weir, I've seen The Truman Show a few too many times and studied Picnic at Hanging Rock last year at uni. The Way Back is his first film since 2003.

The Way Back is based on true events, however Weir commented on how there had been controversy over the accuracy and ownership of the walk. It is now known that the walk and similar walks took place, however the people involved are debated. Weir decided to create fictional characters and concentrate on the events and the spirit of the journey, similar to his film Gallipoli. He simply wanted to capture a moral truth.

A number of detainees and survivors from the Siberian Gulags were present in the audience. They all spoke of their gratitude to Weir for shedding light on a little known element of WWII and with such grace and compassion.

Mr Weir

Thank you for The Way Back, however please don't leave us waiting another 8 years for your next film.

Your sincerely,


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