REVELATION PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
July 5 - 18
This year’s Revelation Perth International Film Festival, the 21st, certainly promises to live up to its title. For two weeks in the middle of winter film-lovers can revel in dramas, documentaries and shorts from around the globe, including a retrospective of some of Hal Ashby’s classics, The Last Detail, Shampoo and Being There, augmented by Amy Scott’s documentary about the great director, Hal. Opening night features the hilarious New Zealand film, The Breaker Upperers, directed, written by and starring Jackie Van Beek and Madeleine Sami. It also opened the Sydney Film Festival last month, where it was a huge success, and both film-makers will be in attendance for the Perth screening. It’s a ‘laugh out-loud’ comedy and it’s followed by the opening night party at the Blue Flamingo - definitely a night not to be missed!
Revelation’s Program Director, Jack Sargeant, acknowledges the changing way we experience films and rightly declares, “To watch films on the big screen by arthouse auteurs or by emergent talents, films that explore more unusual themes, that offer a cinematic voice less often heard and that defy ready categorisation, this all seems more important than ever”. Indeed it is.
The Festival will showcase a plethora of films, over 60 features and documentaries, many having their Australian premieres. Of course, what you get out of the Festival depends on your personal taste but there are some titles that should not be missed. These include: Terror Nullius, directed by Soda_Jerk, an Aussie brother and sister collective currently based in New York. Their film is a mash-up of Australian history through cinema, reworking national ideas surrounding Indigenous rights, LGBTQI relationships and asylum seekers, plus many more. It is a thoroughly original work which was considered so provocative by its funders that they refused to have their name attached to it; Nico, 1988, directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli, is an authentic portrayal of two years in the life of the cult German vocalist who not only had a successful solo career but also collaborated with The Velvet Underground back in the ‘70s. Danish actress Trine Dyrholm is amazing as this talented woman who was misinterpreted by many and who refused to compromise her artistic vision in a male-dominated music industry; The Gospel According To André is a portrait of the African-American influencer André Leon Tally described as “knowing more about fashion than most”. He was employed by Vogue, Interview and Women’s Wear Daily over the course of his extraordinary career. This is a must for anyone interested in fashion, as is McQueen, a documentary that utilises archive footage and interviews with friends and associates to tell the story of the brilliant British couturier. To round-off this selection you could consider Studio 54, a doco that promises to transport you into a world of “disco, dancing, decadence and… inevitable decline” in its depiction of the famous New York club that reached its zenith in the 1970s.
The documentaries selected for the Festival are many and varied. In addition to the aforementioned titles, others cover the lives of tennis champion John McEnroe, celebrated actor Sir Ian McKellen, fascinating Sri Lankan/English singer Maya aka M.I.A., jazz pianist Bill Evans, controversial artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Yayoi Kusama, and more. Subjects canvassed include censorship in the USA (Sickies Making Films), Australia ([Censored]) and The Phillipines (The Cleaners), obsessed music fans (I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story and Stooge), politics and political cover-ups (Alex Gibney’s new film No Stone Unturned and Our New President) and music (Desolation Center, Narcissister Organ Player, Parallel Planes and Rockabul), among others.
A diverse array of dramas are on offer. Australian tiles are BUGS, a debut feature focussing on a group of high school teens that’s been compared to the work of Harmony Corrine (Spring Breakers, Kids), Lost Gully Road, an atmospheric story about a woman alone in an isolated bush cottage that seems to have something odd going on within its walls, Razorback, Russell Mulcahey’s ‘Ozploitation’ classic tale of a huge feral pig, and Strange Colours, an enigmatic story about a young woman arriving in the outback town of Lightning Ridge to visit her sick father. In addition there are movies from the USA, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Russia, Japan, Italy, France, Belgium, Poland, Denmark and South Africa.
It’s good to see that the Festival has a strong emphasis on short films, particularly shorts from Australian film-makers. This is how young creatives get their start. A case in point is the recent release Cargo, which grew from a short film submitted to Tropfest. The shorts are screened with the films and docos so look out for them.
The Revelation Perth International Film Festival is 14 days of cinematic delights and the selection is wide and varied. It’s tempting to try and see the entire program but that, of course, is impossible for most people. You can start the enviable but difficult process of making your choices here. Enjoy!