Perth Festival Lotterywest Movies will observe diversity like never before round 11 bold foreign films to screen within its 2017 program.
Launching on Monday with screenings in UWA Somerville and ECU Joondalup Pines, Lotterywest Films program manager Tom Vincent says that season’s colourful line-up reflects the shifting landscape of worldwide cinema.
“I think we’re getting this push for more diversity in cinema across the planet,” Vincent says.
“I feel that lots of films within our program are fresh, they’re from a new place, they’re from a new perspective.
“I really feel like that’s coming through increasingly. So it is kind of like the elderly dinosaurs are dying and new listeners are coming through. I think this trend is going to continue, we are really on the cusp of change here.”
Vincent says that this season’s batch of films has witnessed a remarkable growth in female voices.
“Obviously it is connected to political civilization and internet culture that both women and minority groups are not represented and they may be in film,” he says.
“So this year in particular, I have seen more empowering of especially female voices, and there are more films by women directors that are getting chosen for all these festivals and are receiving high profiles.
“At exactly the identical time, a number of the more recognized mature male directors are coming back with films that simply don’t seem quite fresh, they do not have that feeling of what is new in cinema.”
Choosing the Festival films is a year- long process for Vincent. “When I am selecting films, I’m thinking about a couple of different things at once,” he says.
“I am thinking about the venues, especially those that are rather large and outdoors. I am Considering the brand of this Festival and the history of this Festival. It’s always aimed to reveal the best new foreign films and that’s open to interpretation.
“I am thinking about new and current audiences. Everything I want to do is discover 20 films over 20 weeks that will feel different every week, give people a variety of subjects, a variety of places they’re created and they’re set, a variety of characters and a range of genres and tones.
“You will find brilliant films I see all of the time I think are too market and are not likely to attract hundreds of people. So, with that in mind, it is actually a process of, beginning in February while the season remains on, I begin to program for the subsequent year and it is dictated by the teams of world premieres that happen at various large global film festivals”
Opening the very first season of this program — period two starts on February 12 — is French director Agnes Varda’s documentary Faces Places, that reveals her unlikely friendship with photographer/muralist J.R., also dubbed the “French Banksy”.
Varda, 89, papers the couple’s journeys throughout rural France as J.R. photos strangers and transforms their portraits into stunning wall murals.
“I think that it’s a excellent film to kick off our film season,” Vincent says.
“Agnes is an essential figure in French cinema. She is a really lively documentary maker who’s very interested in people and how art impacts ordinary people’s lives.
“It’s about what art means of normal people and how it can be surprising and can catch us off guard at a public room and make us think differently.”
Edgy thriller Great Time unfolds around two nights at New York City, centring about the attempts of Connie (Robert Pattinson) to bail his brother from prison following a failed bank heist.
“For very different reasons, I think people will love Good Time as it is driven by Robert Pattinson,” he says.
“It’s totally different and new for him. Since the Twilight movies he’s actually pushing himself to work with the very best, most interesting directors around the world.
“The film has all these twists and turns and you never know precisely what’s going on. He is (Pattinson) on edge the entire time.”
According to Vincent, Swedish manager Ruben Ostlund’s satirical play The Square — starring Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West — are a major talking point.
“It’s set in an art tradition in Sweden and it follows that this guy named Christian who is the mind of curators,” he says.
“He is putting on his second big show that’s called The Square, a huge conceptual artwork item that’s regarding the bystander effect and how we behave in a public room. It’s this foolish, heightened comedy … at various times, you do not know whether to laugh or irritate your mind”
Another film making global buzz is famous British director Sally Potter’s sharp dramedy The Party, starring Kristin Scott-Thomas, Timothy Spall, Cillian Murphy and Patricia Clarkson. “It’s going to a dinner party to celebrate the advertising of the character, Janet, to shadow health minister in Britain,” Vincent says.
“It’s kind of like Don’s Party or Abigail’s Party, it is this little microcosm of society and also how they fall out with each other. It’s full of really zingy dialog, barbed lines — it is a very, very witty film. It had been created during the Brexit procedure”
Same-sex love is also in the spotlight with just two films exploring homosexual relationships — Francis Lee’s love play God’s Own Country and supernatural horror-thriller Thelma, the fourth attribute from Deadly manager Joachim Trier.
God’s Own Country is among Vincent’s favorites out of season one.
“It’s Brokeback Mountain of the Yorkshire Moors,” he clarifies.
“It’s about this unhappy young man, Johnny, that has to care for his dad’s sheep farm … afterward alters come when a seasonal employee from Romania rocks up to aid lambing season. There’s a flicker of connection and over the course of the film, Johnny’s perspective on life begins to change. It’s quite a gorgeous film. It’s the debut film by Francis Lee who is among the most exciting new voices”
Directed by Danish filmmaker Janus Metz Pedersen, Borg vs McEnroe stars Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason as tennis legends John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.
Another highlight of this Festival, the film investigates the untold story of this duo’s fierce competition at Wimbledon in 1980 before the men’s singles final.
“They’re in Wimbledown at 1980. It’s the lead-up into this men’s singles final that Borg has won four days previously,” he says. “McEnroe is a snotty upstart also it is about the concept that their personas are totally different, chalk and cheese. Borg was this cool, commanded, frosty Scandinavian and McEnroe is this punky, dreadful kid.
“It plays out in Wimbledon but really the film is about how they are not as dissimilar as we assume, so there’s a great deal about their training, their youth, their family environment. Whether you enjoy tennis or understand the effect of the match, it does not matter, since it is a psychological play.”
One of the quirkiest films is New Zealand documentary Pecking Order.
“It’s a lovely, daggy documentary from New Zealand about chook fanciers. It’s set within this odd world of the Christchurch Poultry Club plus they’re preparing for the national show and it is about political competition,” Vincent says. “It’s rather silly and full of real quirky, real-life characters. It’s just like (the 2000 mockumentary film) Best in Show but it’s real, it is not fake.”
While the Festival includes a cross- section of films from throughout the planet, two brief Australian films will screen as part of season one — Andrew Lee’s Melon Grab, that displays before Great Time, and The Eleven O’Clock from manager Derin Seale, prior to The Party.
Perth Festival Lotterywest Movies begins on Monday. Details in perthfestival.com.au.