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Sydney Film Festival - Day 11

by Michael Collins

Day 11 was also going to be only one film for me in the festival, but it was an unforgettable powerhouse film penned by David Mamet.

My first film of the day was going to be Funny Ha Ha, but having been scarred and scared by Mutual Appreciation which was by the same director, Andrew Bujalski, I decided to skip it and go straight to the following film, Edmond.

First though, the feature was preceded by the short, Gnome. It was an amusing story where a woman has a car accident on the wrong side of town with three rather unusual men.

Lots of people laughed during this short and lots of people laughed during the main feature. I was laughing with them during Gnome, but for Edmond I was confounded why people saw it as funny.

This wasnít a film trying to be funny and failing. It was a very dark and at times violent film. This film was so violent that the festival was moved to post a notice at the front of the box office to say that it included violent scenes. Yet people laughed.

William H Macy stars as a man who has reached his limit. Having argued and left his wife he heads to the streets to find some sort of good time. His travels send him on a trail of violence and bad luck until it spirals out of control.

Macyís performance is extraordinary in this extraordinary film. Being written by Mamet, you will have a good idea of the meanness of this film.

Carried mostly by Macy, the rest of the cast are seen as merely passers by. There are quite a few familiar faces turning up to get in the road of Macy including Julia Stiles, Ling Bai, Denise Richards and Mena Suvari. The way these women are portrayed and treated on screen will lead to endless debate.

Directed by Robert Gordon of Re-Animator and a bunch of other horror flicks fame (infamy), the level of violence should not be a surprise. Yet this film is set more firmly in realism and that makes it far more disturbing that any of Gordonís horror flicks.

Itís an excellent film. It was one that I didnít find funny, but others did. It comes highly recommend, but itís not for the feint hearted.

The next two days are off for me while I prepare for the final stretch. The last day is to feature some late inclusions into the festival including Robert Altman's latest work and the Palme D'Or Winner, The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

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originally posted: 06/20/06 20:52:45
last updated: 06/23/06 11:22:32
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