Review | International films shine at Perth Festival’s film season

Lingui, The Sacred Bonds | Dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Single mother Amina lives on the outskirts of Chad’s capital after being exiled from her family for becoming pregnant while not married. Weaving wire baskets from cast-off metal from tyres, she sells them by walking the dusty streets. When her 15 year old daughter Maria is expelled from school for being pregnant, Amina supports her wish to have an abortion even though it is against the law.

While the imam is demanding that Amina come to the mosque and confide her problems to him, an elderly neighbour is offering to protect her through marriage. Also, Amina’s estranged sister Fanta comes to her in desperation because her husband is demanding their daughter undergo FGM. The film reveals the quiet strength of women whose loyalty and support of each other are essential in a country where the autocratic reactionary rule of men by both the state and the church mean that their lives are under continual scrutiny.

Lingui, The Sacred Bonds screens at UWA’s Somerville Monday 6 December – Sunday 12 December.

Juniper | Dir: Matthew Saville | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Based on memories from his youth, New Zealander Matthew Saville writes and directs his first feature film. As a teenager, his alcoholic grandmother moved in to live with his family while recovering from an illness and the film has been named after the berry used to flavour her drink of preference. Ruth (Charlotte Rampling) was a war photographer but is now confined to a wheelchair and reliant on help from those around her.

Ruth’s seventeen year old grandson Sam (George Ferrier) becomes the reluctant helper when he is suspended from his boarding school and his father has to go to England to sort out Ruth’s affairs. Yes – it is a case of age and cunning outwitting youth and enthusiasm every time and the younger generation having much to learn from the older, incredibly crabby one. Ruth’s (or should I say Rampling’s) gin-soaked outrageous behaviour rescues the film from being totally bleak as she accepts her mortality and rescues Sam from his teenage angst.

Juniper screens at UWA’s Somerville Monday 13 December – Sunday 19 December.

Find out more about the season at

Lezly Herbert

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