The 48th Sydney Film Festival
8-22 June 2001

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Friday 8 June

The Dendy Awards for Short Films

1. Documentary

Remembering Country
(dir: Kate Gillick)
Gillick's film has the advantage of a moving story and a great narrator. It also has excellent archival material, especially the slides which show the story of Furber's time on Croker Island. Moving and well made.

The Secret Safari (dir: Tom Zubrycki)
A slickly made film on a fascinating topic: how Australians helped defeat the South African Aparteidt system by drinking beer! Good use of humour, music and interviews. An interesting film about the way that "ordinary people can be involved in armed struggle. The audience seemed to find it amusing that a middle-class woman in a cashmere wrap might have been organising gun-running. It makes you think

Steel City (dir: Catherine Marciniak)
A look at politics and change from the personal, emotional side. Very good exposition of certain aspecyts of the shut down of BHP Steel in Newcastle, but it left you wanting more. What happened to the peoiple we followed during the last weeks of the steelworks? Will there be a follow-up?

2. The CRC Award

Ah Hu's Retreat
(dir: John Janson-Moore)
A samll personal story about looking for a grandmother that a grandson never knew. But the search isn't very thorough and the story is obliquely tols so that we don't really connect. Still, it was fascinating to seeYiu Ming Temple at Alexandria (which I have seen from my sister's window) and the people who go there. And why the Nicholas Hope narration?

The Last Peschniuk (dir: Ness Alexandra)
Another conflicted Aussie kid trying to come to terms with heritage & the mysteries of the past. Who am I, they are all asking? A bit more coherently told, this one - or at least more detail is give, but still it confuses. And this one is very self-centred.

Nameday (dir: Eleni Arbus)
The same issues again! All these missing aunties and grannies! but this film was the most oblique of all.

3 . Fiction over 15 mins

The Big House
(dir: Rachel Ward)
This film really nailed the relationship of the central characters in a short time. Great actors and a reasonable budget would have helped, as well as a good story (based in truth, I understand). I loved the homage to Sunday Too Far Away, too!

Days of Being (dir: Chi Yen Ooi)
An ernest film, but basically a melodrama. The characters were not really established. It looked good, but the story was not coherently told. And it was not realy short film material - it should have been made as a feature.

Inja (dir: Steve Pasvolsky)
Inja means "dog" in Xhosa. This film was very strong, the story was well and economically told. And there was great music. It shows promise for bigger things.

Sparky D Comes to Town (dir: Maciek Wszelaki)
A wonderfullly accomplished, well observed, well written, well executed short film. Lots os fun and very funny. It must have been inspired by the coked-uo scene Ray Liotta played in Goodfellas combined with the whole of the recent feature Go. A winner, which could easily have won the CRC award too if it had been entered there.

3 . Fiction over 15 mins

(dir: Tuula Roppols, Ian Moorhead)
An arresting film with good use of the medium, but just fell short of communicating what it was aiming for. A great try, but, well, I just hate the use of dictionary definitions in art. It's so advertising!

In Search of Mike (dir: Andrew Carbee)
By far the best of all the short films. Very funny, with a great script. Wonderful use of images: this is what short film is all about. Must win!
(In fact, it did - both its category and the Rouben Mamoulian award).

Sunrise at Midnight (dir: Sean o'Brien)
Beautiful & strange but what does it say?

Opening Night 8 June

(Australia - dir: Ray Lawrence) Score: 2/5
Lantana: an Ordinary Weed.
Magnolia this ain't. At least that film prepared us for the premise of outrageous co-incidence. This tries to be Short Cuts or Three Colours - but it just lame.

I realise that Sydney is a small town and that people are likely to cross each others' paths, but can things really be that incestuous? How on earth did the writer (Andrew Bovell) resist the temptation to tie all the characters together? Couldn't Anthony La Paglia's son be getting his dope from Nik? Couldn't Russelll Dykstra's character (how wasted was he!) be the builder doing La Paglia's renovations. Actually, that was a nice touch, the renovations in the background. That rang true.

A bunch of middle-aged people having sex or not having sex, and when not having sex, dancing salsa. Who could care less? It serves them right for living in Castlecrag.

I began to be disappointed after the first scene. The camera pans across a patch of Lantana. It is lush. The soundtrack is full of the sounds of summer: cicadas evoke past days at the northern beaches. But the film never lives up to the promise. It goes on for too long, dwelling on relationships and people we never get to care about. What was Geoffrey Rush thinking? And what was Barbara Hershey doing? Had she wandered onto Lawrence's set, mistaking it for the set of a remake of George Romero's Day of the Dead? (See The American Nightmare below).

Towards the end I kept looking at my watch thinking:how long can this go on? There were endless scenes of "denouement" but nothing seemed to click. The cinematography was unremarkable. Even the music (by the usually wonderful Paul Kelly) was ordinary. And , by the way, are there monkeys in Castlecrag? I'm sure I heard some on the overloud and distracting soundtrack.

Just ordinary.

Saturday 9 June

Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story
(USA - dir: Vincent Fremont & Shelly Dunn). Score: 4/5
Well, here's a coincidence. In Lantana, the last film I saw at the festival, there's a significant shop called Pie in the Sky. Huh!

This was a nicely-made, intimate doicumentary about an extraordinary woman. It was great to see so many of the people from Andy Warhol's Factory looking old and a bit frail but still getting giggly about what they used to get up to. John Waters is a qreat stirrer. Bob Colacello is a very good commentator. At one stage there's a great use of split screen. The camera work is very intimate. The crew is often visible in shot or in mirror, but Berlin was clearly comfortable with them, and the shaky cinema verité style matched well with Berlin on film - both the home movies & Andy's Factory films. The final song says it all - Debra Harry sings 'All the Way'. This woman went - and is still going - all the way.

The American Nightmare (USA - dir: Adam Simon). Score: 4/5
Notes only: Tom Gunning from the University of Chicago talks about cinema being received as immortality when it was first seen, but really it only involves endless repetition. George Romero says he loved the idea of a new society devouring the old. And you can't help thinking of the civil rights movement & lynching. Compare these horror moveies with Goya's horrific pictures of the napoleonic Wars. It's revelatory to think of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the context of both the Vietnam War and the 70s oil crisis. Tobe Hooper says it relates to its time more than we remember now. Tom Savini says George's intention was to numb you to the violence (as he was numbed in Vietnam - and, incidentally, as Peckinpah tried to do in his films). One of the great quotes it from Romero: "We all know were going to die - so we are the living dead". And from David
Cronenberg: "If you don't think about it you have no control". A particularly important film in the context of the resurgence of censorship. But not a comprehensive film: only scant mention of feminism and the woman's role.

My Generation (USA/ Italy/ Germany - dir: Barbara Kopple). Score: 2/5
What sort of film calls itself this and then doesn't play the song? This was more series of clips in search of a theme. Even the music was wasted. There are no answers here, and not really too much in the way of questions. Was it really impossible to find out anything about Michael Lang and the profits made (or not made) by the producers? Come on, what about some investigatory journalism?

Sunday 10 June

(Japan - dir: Junji Sakamoto). Score: 3.5/5
Notes only: I really liked this film. There's a brilliant central performance by ......and a series of transformations that is quite miraculous. All that happens to her and then she says she fell of a bike & her face & body got swollen up. They laugh & she says 'that's enough'.-Then: "Youre off beat". "Who cares?" I finally got it . Its about rebirth! Earlier when she.s trying to ride a bike the love hotel owner says "Stop babbling- just practise.'

The Big Animal (Poland - dir: Jerzy Stuhr). Score 4.5/5
A delight from start to finish. One of those films I go to the Festival hoping to see. Here is a parable about an outsider and the various reactions people can have to it. You can embrace it, reject it, or try to exploit it. So many ideas are explored cleverly within this simple plot. There are so many beautiful (black and white) images that stay in the mind: Jerzy Stuhr's character (the director played the lead) leading the camel for a walk - both had equally stately walks. And the scene with the bureaucrats dealing with the petition against Zygmunt and his camel: "This is the voice of the people'" says the head bureaucrat, "this is public opinion. We must do something about it. That is, you must do somthing about it." And there's a particularly lovely use of the orchestra to punctuate scenes. A beauty!

Gimme Shelter (USA- dir David & Albert Mayles, 1969). Score 4.5/5
Barbara Kopple could learn a thing or two about music-related documentary making from this film. It comes up beautifully after 32 years. Problematic, but always intelligent, and well cut to tell a tale, it is honest enough to foreground the editing process itself. The Stones performance is as eletrifying as I remember it. And get that Melvin Belli! And there's Michael Lang again, making (or not making) another buck. At this point, the theme of the fesatival is emerging for me as "Exploitation."

Monday 11 June

A One and a Two
(Taiwan/ Japan - dir: Edward Yang). Score 4.5/5
This film was everything that opening night film Lantana was not. It is a film about how complicated life can be, and yet how simple. Throughout the film, the little boy Yang Yang sees the clearest. He tries to help people, by making simple observations of what is in front of him. For example, he observes that we can only see in front of us, but not what's behind, and concludes that this means we can only know half of the truth. We see that this is true when we see that the teacher mistakes balloons for condoms.

In this film, the people have great difficulty talking to each other, even though they almost live in each others' pockets. The daughter, Ting Ting, her uncle and her father all talk to the Grandma, but only when she's in a coma. The father talks into his lost love's answering machine, saying "I'm glad it's the machine, otherwise I'd be tongue tied," he says.

In a way, this is a Taiwanese Woody Allen movie. The relationships between the characters wotk the same way. But of course there is no Taiwanese Woody. There is, however, a portrait of a clinically depressed woman - the mother, who turns to a religious cult for the answers).

The film starts with a wedding, ends with a funeral. Along the way we laugh a lot and learn several important lessons. For example, the mother tells us: "Suddenly I realised that things aren't so complicated. How did they ever seem so?" And the strange Japanese potential business-partner reminds us that it is od for us to be afraid to try a new venture. After all, we aren't ever afraid to start a new day. And we never have the same day twice.

This is a film that constantly surprises. There's even a nod to Bladerunner towards the end (the origami).

The Lost World (USA- dir: Harry O Hoyt, 1925). Score 5/5!
Another delightful film in a restored print. I'd seen it before in a film studies course, but it was just so good to see it again with a live score (piano, bass sax, clarinet and guitar). Funny and frightening, and the Festival audience really seemed to respect the film for once!

The Circle (Iran/ Italy - dir: Jafah Panahi). Score 4.5/5
From the stunning opening sequence of a screaming woman being comforted by other women to the bleak conclusion, this film stunned, shocked, moved and fascinated. It is a much more polished product than I have seen from Panahi before this, and the structure is superb. I was struck by similarities with Max Ophul's masterpiece La Ronde (the name of which film is uncomfortably close to The Circle . Both films deal with a sexually related circle of fate. This is such an important film!

Tuesday 12 June

(China - dir: Jia Zhang-ke) Score 2.5/5
This is quite a monumental film in terms of the amount of time and the physical ground it covers. But unfortunately because of this breadth it is very hard to connect with, care about, or even follow the progress of the characters. Still there is plenty to think about in terms of the difficulty of the Chinese people adjusting to change in the years of the film (1979-90).It seems that those who stayed with the theatre troupe stayed caught in permanent adolescence while, paradoxically, those who left the troupe seemed to move on.

The Night the Prowler (Australia - dir: Jim Sharman) Score 2.5/5
Jim Sharman introduced the film by saying that his film went against the grain of the films being made at the time - that it was a tough little film, and most unlike the self-important self -pitying films of the time "and, I venture to say, still being made." (This made me think of Lantana). He also quoted Patrick White in The Solid Mandala (quoting someone else): "There is another world - but it is in this world."

Two of the lines that I particularly liked were: the old man asks for only "no rats & an easy pee," and Kerry Walker's character says . "I knew him as I know myself". Kerry Walker is amazing in her debut film performance.

This is not a fabulous film, but it is intelligent, funny, ambitious, touching and has a great script. Are we still making films in Australia with these qualities? Are we?

Before Night Falls (USA - dir: Julian Schnabel) Score 3/5
This movie seduced me, but on reflection I realise that its charms are limited.

It's a problematic film. There's much to like visually, and in the words of the poems and writings themselves. It is interesting when it discusses the role of the artist: "All artists are counter-revolutionary," says the older writer. "A dictator cannot govern the territory called beauty -so he must extinguish it." And there are a few fabulous sequences (in the prison, the balloon inside the Church, all the scenes with Johnny Depp, the upside-down landscape seen from the balloon , and the snow in NYC. But the personal relationships weren't there. Who did Reinaldo love? Who loved him? I think the problem stemmed from the early scenes. Did he love his mother? Did she love him? Who knows? Who was everybody? There was just too much to tell, so the director achieved no depth of feeling. So finally, I was only moved by the poetry, and not the film.

And then there's Sean Penn's accent (too good) & teeth (too bad)! If only Johnny Depp had played Reinaldo.

Wednesday 13 June

The Confusion of Genders (France - dir: Ilan Duran Cohen) Score 3.5/5
The director, Duran Cohen said in his introduction that in French the title reads as a pun: The Confusion of Genres as well as Genders. And so he asks: is it a comedy or drama?

This film has a great black comedy script deals very directly with sex. I like particularly the scene where Alain's boss, Laurence, is shot nude from the legs up. It is frank, not prurient, and mostly it is the men who are nude. There's also lots of lovely male kissing (quite rare in mainstream film, I think. The Director also said in his intro that he thought it was important to show the sex scenes & nudity.

These people are as confused a bunch as you'd ever find. 'Love is a prison ' says Laurence. 'Doubt is death.' I had to laugh when Alain, a lawyer, said "Curse this job. There's no time for love." But actually he spends nearly all his time making or chasing love. He's not a very good lawyer!

"You can have everything," says Christophe. 'You can't have everything" says Laurence. "Pretty or practical - you have to choose," says the older prisoner. (He's talking about Babette's machine washable skirt, but we know what he means). What is authentic? What is good? Is it the baby? Do we have to choose? Can we control everything? Is what we want good for us? These people don't want to choose, and the director seems to be saying that they may not have to, if they are very, very careful.

Pascal Greggory as Alain, the lead character, is great as a man in a state confusion. So is the actress who played Babette. The director said that the hard thing was to find the tone of the acting. "I always had them acting on the edge - it was neither comedy nor drama," he said. "When you make a movie about confusion, you must be very clear about what you want." However I do think that the scenes in the gaol were not successful. There it seemed he was going for drama, and it didn't ring true. It was too serious a situation to laugh around.

In July (Germany - dir: Fatih Akin). Score 4/5
This is a fun comedy: trying for screwball, but not trying too hard. It is well-balanced, well-written and directed with a light touch. When the end-credits came up, I realised how much I cared about each person. This film nods in the direction of the great screwball comedies like Bringing up Baby, and even shares a plot device with the romances Love Affair and An Affair to Remember, but is prepared to be itself. Moritz Bleibtreu is quite charming as Daniel, a lovable nerd. And Christiane Paul is luminous as Juli. They go well together. Sample dialogue: Juli: "We could steal a car." Daniel: "But were the good guys, we don't steal cars." Juli: "We could steal a bad guy's car." Nicely judged romantic comedy

(USA - dir: Justine Shapiro, BZ Goldberg).. Score 4/5
A well-made documentary, covering the period 1997-2000 in Jerusalem. It is initially charming and important, but I wonder if the directors just wanted to make themselves feel better. Will their film change anything? Perhaps we'll find out when it plays at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July 2001. I can't help thinking that it is a bit suspect to use children in this way. And I find it chilling that the kids could not continue to meet after the film. That depressed me, so much so that I couldn't (and still can't) understand why the film is called Promises, unless they are only broken ones. And here's another depressing quote which was funny when I first heard it in the film: "There's another problem," says the Arab boy Mahmoud (who said he didn't want to meet a Jewish boy, and was reminded by the director, BZ that he , BZ, was a Jewish boy). "I'm talking about AUTHENTIC Jews." says Mahmoud. Hmmm...

Thursday 14 June
(Notes for Thursday only - to be updated)
Joint Security Area (JSA)
(Korea- dir: Chan-Wook Park). Score 4.5/5
Cf The letter's beginning. Dour ultimate goal is to remain perfectly neutral. Great minefield scene- wheat field in wind. No communication between N & S - 'I could be executed for what I just did. Next scene they meet in snow - beautiful! Later scene 'Your shadow's over the line. Watch it.' What's important in battle isn't speed. Its composure & bravery'. 'secrets? We don't know any secrets' I didn't get all the detail , but who does in a good complex plot.?
A great thriller well told. Well structured & final scene was unexpectedly moving as the soldiers in the photo are all the protagonists.

Me You Them (Brazil - dir: Andrucha Waddington). Score 4.5/5
She rides away pregnant on a donkey like the Virgin & goes to a church & sits under a cross waiting at the altar.
'Cuckold!' says Raquel, the sister after Ciro's son was born. but all that made him do was to give the kids a name. After all, several times in the film someone said that people will talk and someone answered 'Who will talk? Way out here? And what will they say? So even if they aren't talking, Osiris? Needs to contribute his name to the arrangement. Beautiful visually, superb music (and use of music). Cf A Confusion of Genders where such a state of affairs causes grief. But Darlene is not in the least confused. And she's happy. She works hard & she's a good mother (after having to give one away - which she'll never do again). Sg she deserves to have it all.

Facing the Music (Australia - dir: Bob Connelly and Robin Anderson). Score 3.5/5
Are there any box students who play? Only one boy doing entrance exams. Anne Boyd goes in the back door to the uni to the 1st day strike.
Anne - so they're giving more lessons & not getting paid for it?
Admin- yes
Ann - isn't that wonderful?
Admin - yes Ann, but it is not fair'
shot 160hrs of videotape & used 90mins. Shot every one of the 40-50 lunchtime student concert. Also filmed Anne's 1st year lecture on the history of music.

Friday 15 June
(Notes for Friday only - to be updated)
Last Resort
(UK - dir: Pawel Pawlikowski). Score 4.5/5
A good sense of confusion established quickly. In the scene by the fire the director takes us into the embrace & so into he relationship. Paddy Considine plays a similar role to that he played in .....-but it is Dina Korzun who really impresses. The actor who plays her son is also impressive. One really despairs for his future if he were to remain in this 'Armpit of the universe' (Stonehaven - actually Margate)

Jungle Jazz: Public Enemy #1 (short) (USA - dir: Frank Fitzpatrick) Score1.5/5
"Created & directed by Frank Fitzpatrick". What a hide! He's just another white man profiting from the talents of black people. It's like an ad man's take on a short film. 2nd hand ideas (cf Reefer Madness). And to have the nerve to dice their music & compose & play his own over their images. Outrageous! And careless spelling on the graphics: "breakdown emminent" indeed!

Southern Comfort (USA - dir: Kate Davis). Score 4/5
'The cruel irony is that the only part of me that's still female is what's killin' me. 'Nature delights in diversity. Why can't human beings?'

You Can Count on Me (USA - dir: Kenneth Lonergan). Score 4/5
you remember what we always used to say to each other? Then silence. St Matthew's Passion - I'll be all right comparatively.

Saturday 16 June
(Notes for Saturday only - to be updated)
When Brendan met Trudy
(UK/Ireland - dir: Kieron J Walsh). Score 4/5
Sunset Boulevard -A Bout de Souffle (poster) The Quiet Man The man who shot Liberty Valance.
Q& A - How he met Roddy Doyle. Made a TV program with Roddy Doyle . Stanley Kubrick said 'making a film is like writing a novel in a bumper car'.

Pieces of my wife (short) (France- dir: Frederic Pelle). Score 4.5/5

Under the Sand (France - dir: Francois Ozon) Score 4.5/5
a tray with 2 cups
when she has sex with Vincent she thinks she's killed her husband
had a different DP for Summer & winter. Spelling- Malher!

Sunday 17 June

(Spain - dir: Achero Manas). Score 4.5/5
What a debut feature! This film had me from the 1st scene with the train. It immediately established the scene and presented sharp suspense over the dangerous game the kids play. The film cleverly doesn't show the violence at first, but when it is shown I think on balance it is warranted - though I wonder if it could have been left out completely (I couldn't watch). Another thing I liked about this film was the balance of the 2 families. The head of one family has a questionable profession as tattooist ("Cover up your tattoo," advises Jose's friend when he goes to see Pablo's father). The music was excellent. And when you realise the poignance of the echoing of the marks on Pablo's back from his beatings vs the tattoo marks that Jose gives his son out of love and in the name of beauty - well, it just breaks your heart. The film also raises the important issue of the difficulty of acting to intervene in the family. But, as Jose finally says: 'I'm not thinking of myself, I'm thinking of the kid."

Lost and Delirious (Canada - dir: Lea Pool). Score 3/5
The problem with this film , beautiful as it might be, is that it is simply not believable. The girls are too poised, too old and too beautiful and there's no texture here - no truth. No one teases the girls - it is almost as if there are no other girls (it compares unfavourably with Pellet here where the kids at school are a real presence and they all know about what goes on). The film is very MTV in style - for example, Paula cries on a balcony to a whole song. There are too many ideas in the script- which makes me ask: was it from a first novel? The idea of a girl called Mouse and a girl who calls herself Raptor - it was all too much. It is set in a very lax school which seems to allow its students to go out at night whenever they want. There were too many problems and not enough attention from the teachers. Still, there were good central performances. But, really, with all those beautiful girls (and no fat or spotty ones) it was just a bit too soft-core porn-like for me.

Calle 41 (France/ Spain - dir:Fernando Trueba). Score 3.5/5
Trueba has lined up a marvellous array of Latin Jazz artists, and recorded them beautifully. We see Michel Camilo (doing "Betty talking to Liz") . Chucho Valdes burning up the piano, Chico O'Farrill (doing his Afro Cuban Suite), and a reuniting of Chucho with his father Bebo Valdes. There's Gato Barbieri, and Andy Gonzales on bass. I must get the CD (on Lola Records) ASAP. So it is a real feast - and what a treasure the footage with Tito Puente is! But as a film, it is simply a smorgasbord of jazz chosen by the director. It is not a moving film in the way that Buena Vista Social Club is.

Monday 18 June

(India - dir: Satyajit Ray). Score 5/5
According to the introduction given by David Stratton, Ray had a script called The Alien which Columbia said it would finance if they liked the script Ray wrote and if Peter Sellers could star. Amazingly, Ray was open to the idea but hadn't seen Sellers act. So David set up a screening of The Party for Ray during the 1968 Sydney Film Festival. Ray was horrified. The film was never made by Ray, but Ray claimed that, years later, Speilberg's ET was made from his original script!

Ray's own father died when he was 3. Ray wanted in this film (Part 2 of the Apu Trilogy) to reflect the relationship he had with his mother. But the finished product did have some technical deficiencies - especially in soundtrack - which embarrassed Ray. Nevertheless, it won the Golden Lion at Venice, and over the films of directors which Ray admired, like Visconte and Antonioni. In this film the Roy family has moved to the holy city of Benares on the Ganges.

There are some shots in this film that you will remember forever. When the father dies, he lurches upwards and flocks of pigeons fly heavenward above the Ganges (symbolising, for me at least, the flight of his soul to Paradise). When Apu is offered the scholarship he shows his mother the globe his headmaster gave him, and asks "Do you know what this is?" There are many shots of figures framed in doorways (which I can only see as a nod to John Ford) . In particular, there's the figure of Apu's grandfather in the doorway as Apu leaves to continue his studies in Calcutta, for me representing the old India which Apu leaves behind in favour of a move to the city and the rest of the new world.

The stately pacing of this film is all the more remarkable for the fact that somehow, without you noticing, Ray is able to construct a structure which reflects nothing more or less than the ups and downs of life itself.

Silent Partner (Australia - dir: Alkinos Tsilimidos). Score 2.5/5
This is a remarkable little Australian film (which the emphasis on little). It was shot in 7 days, and cut in 3 months in the actors' loungeroom. Its shooting budget was $13,500 to the rough cut (plus $500,000 post-production). The kitchen in the film is the actors' real kitchen!

It has a nice and unusual opening scene - speeded up action at the dog track, but with the 2 blokes (the protagonists) frozen in time looking up. "I dunno. Go with what you feel" is their betting strategy. "People are just like dogs. They run around a track chasing the bunny" is one of the messages of the film. It is quite funny, reasonably well-made given the limitations, and even opened out reasonably well so that even though it comes from a play, it is not too stagy. However, it missed some great opportunities. Paul Kelly contributed the music, which is reasonably effective, but I always wonder why Kelly's film efforts seem so lazy. He uses his song "Be careful what you pray for" over the titles.

Maelstrom (Canada - dir: Denis Villeneuve). Score 4/5
I had been waiting all festival for a film like this: a film that pushed the boundaries of feature film making, that didn't give up its secrets too easily, that wasn't too accessible and that tried to do something different. This was it.

It's a story told by a (series of) dying fish . The first half is basically a bunch of fish & blood. It begins with graphic scenes of an abortion. And a young woman whose abortion is one of a series of setbacks. But although the subject-matter is grim, the script is funny too. When Bibiane is interviewed by a journalist from a magazine called "Future", she is asked about her sexuality: "Are we talking about ass or business?" asks Bibiane "Ass", replies the business interviewer. There is much coincidence in this film. In one scene the two girls order octopus for lunch (as usual), but this time it is tough, because the restaurant's supplier's employee didn't show up to choose it - he's the dead Norwegian that Bibiane hit with her car. Her foetus is cremated in the same sort of box as the ashes of the dead man. All in all I can only agree with a comment made by a young girl in the audience: "An intersection of such interesting things," she said. And the music was great: Grieg, Charles Aznavour (Les Deux Guitars, among other favourites) & Tom Waites! What a combination!