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PIAF Film Festival begins

The Perth International Art’s Festival’s Lotterywest Film Festival begins this week with films screening at both the Somerville Auditorium at UWA and in Joondalup at ECU’s Pines venue. Lezly Herbert took a look at this first two films to screen in the long running festival.

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In Harmony (M)

Directed by Denis Dercourt

The summer film season at Somerville opens with a romantic story set in the fields of rural France. The French writer/director of The Page Turner bases In Harmony on the experiences of French Para-Olympian Bernard Sachsé. While working as a stuntman on anhistorical film, Marc Guermont (Albert Dupontel) becomes paralysed from the waist down after a fall from his horse Othello. Determined to get his life back together despite his injuries, Marc is being pressured by the insurance company to make a quick but highly unsatisfactory settlement.

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The insurance company sends Florence Kernel (Cecile de France) to use her charms to get Marc to sign, but the uptight assessor is no match for the wily horse wrangler. Florence had given up her dream of being a concert pianist and the futile negotiations with Marc make her rethink her life as a bureaucratic cog.

There are obvious parallels between the elegant Florence and the beautiful thoroughbred Othello and as Marc slowly regains the confidence of his horse, his relationship with the assessor changes as well. With an outstanding performance by Othello, incredible stunt work by Albert Dupontel and glorious cinematography, the story of having the passion to rebuild your dreams is inspiring.

‘In Harmony’ is part of the Lotterywest Film Festival and screens at UWA’s Somerville 23 – 29 November and ECU’s Joondalup Pines 1 – 6 December.

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A Perfect Day (MA)

Directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa

Somewhere in the Balkans in 1995, hostilities have ceased but this news has not made it to all the mountain villages. A group of humanitarian aid workers are trying to winch a corpse from a well. The large man has been in the water for 12 hours and will contaminate the only water supply for several villages in another 12 hours. He fills the frame of the opening shot of the film as close-ups of the fraying rope show that this is not going to be an easy task.

This disparate group of aid workers in includes the world-weary Mambrú (Benicio del Toro) who is close to the end of his tour and B (Tim Robbins) who seems to have spent most of his life in conflict zones. Then there is the fresh recruit Sophie (Mélanie Thierry) and ‘conflict evaluator’ Katya (Olga Kurylenko) who is Mambrú’s ex-lover to show that sexism is alive and well in the wild frontier of war zones. There is also two locals in the team – the group’s interpreter Damir (Fedja Stukan) and nine-year-old Nikola (Eldar Reisdovic), a boy from the village whom Mambrú rescues from being bullied.

The desperate search for rope to finish the task at the well consumes the whole film as the team try to negotiate roadblocks on treacherous mountain tracks, antagonistic locals, bureaucratic United Nations officials and the tragic aftermath of the war. As the frustrating day progresses, the farcical elements reach M*A*S*H proportions and are heightened by the punk rock sound track and the brilliantly witty dialogue.

A Perfect Day is part of the Lotterywest Film Festival and screens at ECU’s Joondalup Pines 24 – 27 November and 29 November and at UWA’s Somerville 30 November – 6 December.

Lezly Herbert

 

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