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Sydney Film Festival - Day 7

by Michael Collins

Day 7 looks at a film that touches on one of the most controversial topics going around town at the moment: Sex in sport. That could be a funny topic, but it most definitely isn’t.

So I’m back into the festival after an enforced two-day break. The dreaded Festival Flu hit hard and I had to take a 48-hour reprieve. I thought I had prepared myself against it by being rugged up and taking my vitamins, but alas it was all to no avail. Yay to tom yum soup for getting me through those two days.

The world premiere screening of Footy Chicks had quite the partisan crowd. There were lots of friends, family and supporters of the film makers as evidence by the louder than usual cheers from the audience as the director and producer of the film were introduced. I was really looking forward to this film, as there has been a few mentions in the media surround the topic and this film.

Footy Chicks was a documentary concerning the female fans of football players. Calling them just fans is a bit of an understatement. These are sexually aggressive, very forward girls who go after the football players. They know what they want, take off their clothes and go out and get it.

There’s nothing wrong with a sexually aggressive woman. Perhaps aggressive is a loaded word – Sexually positive sounds better. Hey if those girls want sex with footballers then good on them.

The problem though comes when it is mixed with the team (perhaps I mean, herd) mentality of the footballers. The problem gets even worse when alcohol is added to the cocktail. Then there are real problems.

The film begins being amusing and fun. The 80-year-old fan that did cross stitches of the players was rather funny. The other girls seem to be just having a bit of a laugh.

But when representatives from rape counselling services start being interviewed you know that things are not at all fun.

The film does not make a strong statement either way about the behaviour of the girls and the players. It tries to be as non-judgemental as possible.

Alcohol and the girls’ attitude give a disturbingly murky look to the issue of rape. It’s not an endorsement or apology of rape of course, but there’s a darkness to this issue that is very affecting.

To lighten things up a bit comes the film, The Aura. Not a comedy by any means, but this is one of those films where you are in disbelief what this guy gets himself mixed up in.

Espinoza is a taxidermist and a bit of a self-proclaimed crime expert. He reckons he could pull of the perfect crime, but he y’know, hasn’t got round to it.

Due to coincidence and accident he finds himself in a situation where he can test his prowess in committing the perfect crime.

Directed by Fabian Bielinsky (who did Nine Queens) this film takes its sweet time, but at the climax I was at a fevered intensity. Maybe the fever was due to my ‘flu, but I was still pretty damned worked up.

As is typical for South American films, the lead character is quite emotionless and for this film watcher that can make it hard to engage into a film. The pace is slow at times – not Last Days slow because that would make me leave the place – and that makes it doubly hard work to engage into the film.

This film, however, has one hell of a pay off. The making you wait bit actually makes the climax all that better. The film becomes very intense indeed. While not criticising the director, it would be interesting to see how another director would handle this.

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originally posted: 06/16/06 11:46:02
last updated: 06/21/06 03:45:29
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