Zero Motivation (2014)

BAPFF: Zero Motivation (2014)

It seems like it’s nigh-impossible to talk about Israeli ‘workplace’ dramedy Zero Motivation without referencing Office Space. Give or take a Jarhead, though, I’d argue that Talya Lavie’s feature-length debut more closely resembles The Office (the UK version). Both The Office and Zero Motivation make paperwork integral to their story, for example; the former takes…

The Dead Lands

BAPFF: The Dead Lands (2014)

It’s safe to say that The Dead Lands’ sold-out sessions are an outlier at the sparsely-attended screenings that have so far defined Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival. Perhaps this lends some insight into the movie-going demographics of our city, where a Chekhovian Palme d’Or recipient is outshone by the Maori cultural heritage championed in New…

Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait

BAPFF: Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (2014)

The word ‘necessary’ is perfect to describe Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait, a film that is as difficult to watch as it is important. As explained by its opening title card, the film is constructed out of 1,001 images/videos taken from 1,001 Syrians – these videos, regularly drawn from crude cameraphones and interrupted by the trill…

BAPFF: Ukraine is Not a Brothel (2013)

The story told by Kitty Green’s documentary Ukraine is Not a Brothel is a fascinating one. But the appeal of this film is not the mystery it unravels as it examines the inner workings of Ukrainian feminist movement FEMEN, but the thoughtful and thought-provoking perspective provided by its Australian director. This is a sterling example…

Red Amnesia (2014)

BAPFF: Red Amnesia (2014)

Red Amnesia is a hard film to pin down. Xiaoshuai Wang’s film begins surveying a rundown old house and the brooding young man within, before leaping away to Shanghai to observe Deng (Lü Zhong), a recently widowed woman. She’s being hassled by mysterious phone calls with a sinister undertone, but the police aren’t interested in…

Black Coal, Thin Ice

BAPFF: Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014)

It’s hard to write about this Chinese-produced, Golden-Bear-winning film festival staple without talking about noir. The monochromatic English title hints at the film’s debt to the genre: a series of gruesome, unsolved murders; an alcoholic, disgraced detective; an enigmatic, beautiful femme fatale; an overarching sense of uncertainty. But the Chinese title – Bai Ri Yan…

Jalanan

BAPFF: Jalanan (2013)

The opening of Jalanan recalls The Act of Killing with titles displayed over Indonesian urban landscapes informing us that 7,000 of Jakarta’s 12 million inhabitants work as buskers. This documentary stoops under the poverty line to follow three such buskers over roughly a half-decade. Like The Act of Killing, it’s the work of a foreign…

BAPFF: Tokyo Tribe (2014)

Tokyo Tribe practically demands hyperbolic metaphors, but the best way to describe Sion Sono’s maximalist rap musical is offered up by the extreme auteur himself in the film’s opening scene. Sono’s camera swoops and bucks through neon-streaked Tokyo streets in an impressive long shot, surveying scantily-clad ladies, raving doomsayers, overweening gangsters and a wizened old…