Its my party and I’ll cry if I want to

August 21, 2011

I have to admit, I have never been much of a fan of Australian film.  Generally, due to the budget, the acting is quite average and the cinematography quite average.  Even with a large budget, they can often fail.

Look at Baz Lurhmann’s ‘Australia’.  It had a large budget, top actors/actresses (well supposedly), large marketing campaign, yet it still failed in drawing a large audience, was a miss with film critics and had pretty average takings at the box office, compared to its American competitors at the time.

That’s why I didn’t expect much when I went to watch ‘Birthday’ (directed  by J Harkness) as it had quite a small budget and used strictly Australian actors and Australian film makers.  As I was sitting at MUFF with my two very lovely friends Hannah and Elena (two film buffs and fellow critics), we watched the director nervously introduce us to his film.  It was quite hard to watch (as I do public speaking) him floundering on the stage, with the director of MUFF Richard Wolstencroft quickly taking back the microphone.

The lights dimmed and the film started.

The cinematography of this film is quite divine and tasteful.  For the content of the film, being about the life of the working prostitute and life’s many blows, including the struggle for one to find love (a commonly, overused theme in film), to my surprise was quite full of depth.  Being a film about prostitution and being based in a brothel for about 80 percent of the film if not more, the director and screenwriter could have taken it down the path more so suited to pornography, but there was only a few parts where there was nudity and only few sex scenes.

I did find at times that the acting was ‘overacted’, but as this film is derived from the play itself, with Natalie (who play’s the leading character ‘M’) having played the main part in theatre, you can understand and accept this part, however distracting Richard Wilson’s (Joey) many facial expressions are.

What I love about this film, is the symbolic meaning behind many of the placements of props as well as the lighting used in the film.  The director divulged in his secrets behind the film, in which he used fairy lights with a HD camera to capture the real mood of what a boudoir would provide to its many passers by.  One of my favourite scenes, when Father Philip (played by Travis McMahon) is on the bed talking with ‘M’, about how the love of his life left for god.  Here it is almost as though he has lost his faith, in which he goes on to tell you how God often screws the majority over.  Later on, we see that he has left his rosary beads in the bathroom.

I don’t want to get too much into the detail as I believe it is worthy of going to see when it comes out on general release later in the year.  Keep an eye out for it.

http://www.birthdaythefilm.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=55

In the mean time, I strongly urge you to get behind the Australian Film Industry before we lose it forever and visit the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) which also shows some forreign films.

You generally need to have a strong stomach for these films and also a very strong mind, but it is definitely worth checking out.

MUFF is running from the 19th August to the 27th August.

http://www.muff.com.au/2011/

 

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