I love it when I bump into old friends at the festival (hello Jodeska, thanks for saving the seat for us).
Another nice thing about attending the film festival is that often the directors or producers introduce their films and participate in Q & A sessions.
This session turned out to be 3 for the price of one, as some of them were entries in a competition.
First up was Suburbia
Based on true events, an unsettling tale from the urban sprawl starring Don Hany as a man trying to make sense of what he’s heard and seen.
Let’s just say, this was not what I was expecting, this short film made me really tense and disturbed by the end of it. It took a while for people to respond with clapping at the end, not sure if it was because the audience didn’t like it or they were all too freaked out.
Next up was The Adjustable Cosmos
A fantastical adventure played out in a jewelled cosmos housed inside a great crystal sphere.
This was an animation, it was quite cute and whimsical with a little bit of unpolitically correct humour and major religious overtones (please remember, I am not a professional film reviewer, I just make this stuff up)
Finally, New Beijing: Reinventing a City
‘Better take a photo now as it will be no more!’ comments a local man, as activist Zhang Jinqi snaps his traditional home in one of Beijing’s narrow lane-ways (hutongs). Zhang Jinqi’s photography project Memories of China documents the remaining heritage districts of the old city, which are soon to be demolished. Swinging from old to new, the documentary switches to a panoramic view of the biggest construction boom in history and charts the modern face of Beijing and its newly iconic buildings such as Watercube, Birds Nest Stadium and the National Theatre. Wallace-Crabbe’s film is a fascinating record of a period of extraordinary change in one of the oldest cities on earth.
I appreciated the need to document old Beijing before the almost complete modernisation of this city. I felt that this doco was a bit disjointed and not explained well enough, it really “swung” a bit much. They kept talking about he hutongs being destroyed but never really explained what a hutong was in the documentary. I still think it was an important piece of work, but felt that if they had a chance to start filming a few years earlier, it would have helped.