Jun 162015
 

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The 2015 Sydney Film Festival is all over and done with. I’ve spent most of the day catching up on sleep, and now here is the final installment of my diary as a daytime subscriber. I’ll review the final batch of subscriber films, and offer my thoughts on the festival overall.

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Jun 142015
 

WILLIAM BUCKLEY;GORE VIDAL

There’s just one day to go now. Daytime subscribers saw three films today, and we’ll be seeing three more tomorrow. Today was a bit of a rollercoaster, with some small films really impressing me and some major films really letting me down. It’s pretty much all competition films from here until the end of the festival, but we had time for one last documentary this morning.

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Jun 132015
 

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Exhaustion got the better of me again today, with the day’s second film suffering the most from my occasional nodding. Just two days to go, now. I have ten sessions left to attend, and I’ll be reviewing six of those here. (And three of those are the same movie. I’m still not sure how I’ll be handling ARABIAN NIGHTS here.) Daytime subscribers saw four more films today, including one competition entrant and one documentary.

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Jun 122015
 

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“We all have dark places” says journalist Michael Ware as he narrates Only the Dead, a film compiled of his footage from several years as a war correspondent in Iraq. In this documentary we are given an uncensored view of the horrors of war and the psychological impact it had on him. Only the Dead is reviewed after the jump.

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Jun 112015
 

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It was two years ago almost to the day that Joshua Oppenheimer’s harrowing and unshakable The Act of Killing, a brave and vital piece of revelatory political cinema, screened at the Sydney Film Festival. In the film Oppenheimer interviews gangsters responsible for killing thousands of communists in the mid 1960’s and challenges them to discuss and artistically recreate the killings, which forces them to come to accept the severity of what they did. The focus of the study is a man named Anwar Congo who gloats about the methods he use to kill these people without remorse, and he and many others still hold down positions of power and influence in their villages decades later. They live amongst younger generations of descendants of people they killed. What is perhaps most fascinating is how these men were influenced by gangsters in the cinema – how they dressed, and how their self-esteem was raised by powerful responsibility – and how cinema ultimately serves as a medium to recreate and convey their personal liberation.

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Jun 112015
 

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An Online Universe’s Andrew Buckle joins Blake Howard of Graffiti with Punctuation, on episode 80 of Pod Save Our Screen. The pair check in at the halfway mark of the 2015 Sydney Film Festival, and talk about their highlights thus far. Listen/get the download link here.

Jun 112015
 

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It’s day seven, and the exhaustion is finally starting to hit me. I was nodding heavily during the first three films I saw today, though I’d estimate I saw around 95% of each of them. Nonetheless, that’s a disorienting way to watch a movie, so my thoughts on those films will be a little more scattershot than usual. This is one of the major hazards of watching this many movies in such a short period of time. It’s surprisingly draining. There are just four days to go now, but my schedule is crazy from here until the end of the festival, so I’ll need to push through and get rest when I can.

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