Monday, September 21, 2009

The Aussies Go Canuck, Part III

The Toronto International Film Festival may be finished, but there's still plenty of Aussie films to discuss. Since the end of the fest three Australian films have won awards. The Loved Ones, directed by Sean Byrne, which we previously took a look at won the audience choice award for the Midnight Madness sidebar. Daybreakers, directed by the Spierig Brothers, and also spoken of recently was the runner-up. Bruce Beresford's Mao's Last Dancer, discussed in the same piece as the others two(!) took first runner up of the general festival's audience award (the winner of that was Lee Daniel's Precious).

Rachel Ward's Beautiful Kate (aka Precious Egg to those in on the joke) has been a surprise hit here at home (and by "hit" I mean a hit in the way that Aussie films can be hits if they make more than $5) and has had some great word out of TIFF. It was the #2 film of the fest of @tomflem as well as saying "I don't speak or understand 'strine so there were times when I longed for subtitles", hahah, aw. "Thumbs up. This is a beautiful film" (@jungledrum), "Def worth going 2 c" (@gloriabox), "a beautiful film" (@aperturecinema),

Over at Tererick they think Ward "clinches it in the end," despite some flaws at the handling of the stereotypical film festival subject matter. The Hollywood Reporter says "Rachel Ward dares to go where many first-time filmmakers would fear to tread with her feature "Beautiful Kate," and "First-class performances from Mendelsohn and Brown bring nuance to deliberately off-putting characters". The Star says it is "brutally affecting" and ScreenDaily is enthusiastic, saying "a handsome and intense love story, a gothic tale ... delivered with relish by her cast."

Ana Kokkinos seems like a director tailor made to a film festival and it's worked a treat for many. "a powerful Aussie film directed by Ana Kokkinos - excellent" (@tednation), "amazing, raw, emotional film. Unbelievable performance by Frances O'Connor" (@brianbaker79), "blessed is just the kind of film i come to #TIFF09 for. sweet little indie from australia that will make you laugh & cry" (@Larry411) and "a very raw and powerful film" (@clsmale). Meanwhile, ScreenDaily calls it "Finely acted by a large cast led by a jagged, desperate Frances O’Connor".

Claire McCarthy's The Waiting City has been a film high on my radar since it was announced last year. For whatever reason, the Herald Sun was incredibly interested in the making of the film, constantly throwing news up about it in their "Confidential" section. ScreenDaily has a review, calling it "poignant" and that "(Radha) Mitchell and (Joel) Edgerton are so convincing". Meanwhile The Hollywood Reporter says "The journey looks like an overly familiar one as "The Waiting City" begins. Westerners confronting, then being rejuvenated by the mysterious East is by now a cliche. Yet Sydney-based writer-director Claire McCarthy proves too smart to fall into that trap."

Over on Twitter it is being called "moving, finely pitched & boasts ace perfs" (@mattriviera), "Brilliant movie" (@georgethemelis), "Beautifully filmed in Calcutta. The storyline touched me. Yup I cried..." (@T_DOTgirl), "heartfelt...An Australian film, shot in Calcutta....fine acting, beautifully shot, well worth seeing!!" (@bjessup4), . I personally found " 'The Waiting City' was brilliant. Everything Slumdog was, should have been and could have been..." (@connorjessup) quite hilarious though.

Director Claire McCarthy and co-star Samrat Chakrabarti at the TIFF premiere for The Waiting City, via

I might do one more of these, but don't hold you breath.


Farnoosh Brock said...

I really wanted to see that movie, but didn't get it. Must have to wait for it on DVD I guess. TIFF09 rocked though. My first time, but surely not the last!

Glenn Dunks said...

Which one?