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Sydney Film Festival Day 4

by Michael Collins

Day three started with Friday or Another Day (Vendredi ou un autre jour). A French take on the Robinson Crusoe Story. This time the Robinson Crusoe character was a French actor, Phillippe de Nohan, in the time just before the French revolution.

He rescues various costumes and props (as well as the shipís dog and goats) and quietly and amusingly goes insane on the deserted island he names Hope.[br]

The Friday character is a local who escapes a ritualised execution. They gradually befriend each other and Friday joins in the theatre productions that Phillipe likes to do for the assembled goats.
It sounds like a jolly romp and it is for the first two thirds it is. Itís funny, moves at a good pace and Nohan does an excellent Cast Away-esque performance except with humour.

In the final third of the film though, the film starts to over stay its welcome somewhat. The shots get longer and drag on a bit. There doesnít seem to be a lot happening. Maybe thatís the point when living on a deserted island, but I think the audience could do with a little more.
The eveningís entertainment was to be Starfish Hotel. It has been mentioned that it has been a cross between a certain two films. I donít want to mention which two films as it is an inaccurate remark and I donít want to bias your judgement.

Letís just say that it was weird.

Starfish Hotel is a Japanese film directed by Englishman John Williams. The reason that we find Williams helming a Japanese film is that he has spent a lot of time there teaching in Tokyo and Nagoya.

So whatís this story about?

Well thatís tricky question to answer.

Ostensibly, itís about a man who searches for his missing wife while dealing with a secret from his past. A secret that it seems is connected with his wifeís disappearance.

That doesnít seem so difficult now does it? Except added to the mix are dream sequences, flash back and imaginations. Coupled to that is a rather strange friend who some people may have seen in a previous movie.

I didnít mind the movie. It looks a treat and creates a tightly wound mood, but it didnít have that killer punch. This had a few people leaving the screening - My first experience of this for this yearís festival. Itís a shame that it happens, but not uncommon.

My next film was to be Yasser Arafatís Last Days, but with Starfish Hotel finishing 20 minutes after Last Days began, and add to that the ten minute walk to get from the George Street cinemas to the State, I decided to cut my losses.

Tomorrow sees me off to The Myth and Hard Candy.

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originally posted: 06/13/06 09:02:35
last updated: 06/18/06 20:05:18
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