films

Two new documentaries that screened at the recent Sydney Film Festival shine a light, in contrasting but powerful styles, on an important, yet often neglected story in the refugee narrative — why people seek asylum.

David Bradbury is an iconic left-wing filmmaker who has been at the forefront of telling the stories of people fighting against injustice and oppression for the past four decades.

In the Fade
Director Fatih Akin
Starring Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto & Johannes Krisch
Released in 2017
www.inthefadefilm.com

Between 2000 and 2011, Nazi terrorists murdered and bombed immigrants in Germany without the authorities even noticing. The police were convinced it was just rival ethnic gangs quarrelling.

This film is based on that period, though not drawn from a particular event. 

The filmmaker Taika Waititi said racism is very pronounced in New Zealand, explaining he faced blatant discrimination as a Te Whānau-ā-Apanui youth.

In a recent interview, "Thor: Ragnarok" director and sometimes actor says his native New Zealand is “racist as fuck.”

"People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Maori names properly. There’s still profiling when it comes to Polynesians. It’s not even a colour thing – like, ‘Oh, there’s a black person.’ It’s, ‘If you’re Poly then you’re getting profiled.’”

Golden Years
Directed by Andre Techine
Starring Pierre Deladonchamps, Celine Sallette, Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet & Michel Fau
Showing as part of the nation-wide Alliance Francaise Film Festival

This is a gender-bending true story of how a French man fled World War I trenches and — at the urging of his wife — survived in hiding by passing as a woman.

Margaret Atwood is blessed and/or cursed with the credit for this year’s go-to feminist analogy. Any time an old white man makes it clear that women are best kept silent and pregnant, someone says that it’s “just like The Handmaid’s Tale”.

The Sydney Latin American Film Festival (SLAFF) is on again for the 12th year running. Featuring a specially curated program of captivating contemporary Latin American cinema, the festival has several films that progressive filmgoers won’t want to miss.

An important feature of this year’s program is that 50% of the films feature female directors, festival programmer Lidia Luna said.

While Adriana’s Pact director Lissette Orozco reflects on the role her aunt, Adriana Rivas, played during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, Roberto Calzadilla's El Amparo focuses on one of a number of state-sponsored massacres of civilians that occurred during the 1980s in Venezuela as a prelude to the bloodbath that would occur in the February 1989 Caracazo uprising.

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger portrays British Marxist cultural commentator John Berger over a period of five years.

Berger was a well-known figure on 1960s British TV, explaining and democratising art theory. He rocketed to international fame with his early 1970s book Ways of Seeing. Combining it with an accompanying TV series, he articulated a dialectical and demystifying approach to art.

Martin Pieter Zandvliet’s multiple award-winning 2016 film Land of Mine is harrowing viewing. But it is not to be missed by anyone interested in issues of war and peace — or in fine films.

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