Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Award Ceremony 36th Wellington Film Festival

Actually my personal assessment of the 36th Wellington Film Festival. Overall I thought that there were fewer outstanding films but lots of good films, and I seemed to be better at avoiding the clunkers this year. There seemed to a theme running through the festival of family problems (or "intergenerational nastiness" as Annie puts it).

Like most festivals most of the films will never be seen again. This is especially true of documentaries and all but the most popular foreign language films. It could be argued that there is little point in writing about most of these films. That said, here is my pick of the good, the bad and the ugly in the 2007 Film Festival.

Best Documentary
There are no duds here. The winner is The Devil Came on Horseback by a nose over These Girls.

I saw eleven comedies (or films with a strong comedy element). The top 3 were:
And the "must see winner" is Death at a Funeral

Winner: Retribution - the only one to make my hair stand on end

Winner: Black Book

Of the dozen or so films I saw in this category the best three (all focused on women) are:
Winner: Vanaja
Note: while I loved this movie, Anne didn't like it, so it is a controversial choice

Oddest Movie
Since the wonderful Incredibly Strange Film Festival merged with the Wellington Film Festival our annual "fix" of odd films has to be fitted into 2 weeks along with everything else.

Winner: The Bothersome Man

Worst Film
I try not to see bad films but sometimes the festival blurb fools me or I take a punt and get it wrong.
  • Times and Winds - intergenerational nastiness with few redeeming features
  • Wolfsbergen - a film about people who don't talk to each other with dull camera work
  • Kissy Kissy - an embarrassing local offering
Winner: Kissy Kissy

Best Actor / Actress
Winner: Peter O'Toole

Worst Family
As I have mentioned before there seemed to be a theme of family problems running through this festival. I saw seven films centred around family problems and another eight or so where family problems played a part!
The Home Song Stories - the filmmaker's troubled childhood
After the Wedding - who's the daddy?
The Matsugane Potshot Affair - has anyone got a nice word to say about anyone else?
Wolfsbergen - will anyone talk to anyone else?
Times and Winds - fathers take it out on their sons
Death at a Funeral - family skeletons belong in the closet or coffin or somewhere, don't they?
Children - mothers and sons behaving badly
Winner: Wolfsbergen is long slow motion family train wreck
Second: Children more violent but also more watchable

Coming Back
Each year I try to predict which films will come back on general release. I get the feeling that more come back each year, though sometimes it takes almost a whole year for the return to happen. Here are my guesses for this year.

No Brainers
Death at a Funeral
Black Book
A Mighty Heart (I didn't see this one)

Art House
Lady Chatterly
The Home Song Stories
My Best Friend
The Secret Life of Words
Conversations with my Gardener
I Served the King of England (not my cup of tea!)
Romulus, My Father (I didn't see this one)
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (I didn't see this one)

NZ Connection
Perfect Creature
Eagle vs Shark (already on in London)

Might come back
Death of a President
Day Watch (sequel to Night Watch)

Would come back if I had my way
No Mercy for the Rude
Any of the documentaries I saw

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