Auburn Film Festival
Review by Madalene Chu
Reading Cinemas (film)
September 22, 2003
25 Kids and One Dad
Huang Hong, Live Action 90' China 2002
After wealthy chicken farmer Zhao Guang donates money to an orphanage
and boasts that he is the orphans father on television, he finds
himself caring for 25 orphans. The children arrive while Zhao is at
the top of his chicken-farming world and the centre of his community
just in time to challenge and forcing him to reprioritise certain
aspects of his life.
A delightful movie with serene rural settings to complement the story
line but it the films unique sense of humour which sets it apart.
The images of rural life from feeding chickens to bathing in rivers
draws us into Zhaos world while the witty characters allows
us to be charmed by it.
25 Kids and One Dad won first prize CIFEJ at Isfahan International
Children's Film Festival Iran.
Sing Sing Sing Roswitha
Menzel, Animation 11'50" Germany 2002
This plasticine animation takes a while to get use to but once you
get past the surrealist element of a mermaid invading the life of
a seamstress the short film can truly be appreciated for what it is.
The nature of creativity is explored through the seamstress
boredom of creating uniforms. She longs to create beautiful dresses
but in a controlled manner. However she discovers that creativity
which appears in the form of a mermaid and colourful, unrulely sheep,
cannot be contained but allowed to freely flow. The use of music and
colour help illustrate the vibrant nature of creativity in contrast
to the dull, white apartment and flat, uninspired music employed when
the seamstress is alone making uniforms.
Noora Mahmood Shoulizadeh,
Live Action 84' Iran 2002
When two children Noora and Niaz are involved in a train accident,
Niaz feels that he is responsible for his sisters injuries.
Their family who live independently in the mountains North of Iran
(The Caspian Sea Region) are under increasing financial pressure due
to Nooras rising medical bills. As a result Niaz tries to undo
help meet the costs but each of his attempts lands his family into
Noora is a film which deals with childhood feelings of responsibility,
guilt and helplessness. When Niazs grandmother tells him that
because he is a child he shouldnt worry and he should pray
to God for Noora he takes it literally and feels is that the
only way he can help his sister is to take her up to the heavens where
God can heal her. And so he takes her up to the top of a mountain
where brilliant panoramic panning shots of mountains overwhelm the
The film successfully depicts themes of guilt as the bright colours
of the forest and quick camera work reflecting the care free feelings
of the children at the beginning of the movie is sharply contrasted
with the slow panning, foggy landscape at the end where the children
wait on a mountain top under a cloud of belief and worry.
Noora has been a part of many international Film Festivals including
Flanders International Film Festival Ghent Belgium in October 7-17,
Sirkka Pu Lehtinen,
Live Action 13' Finland 2002
Sirkka is a sweet, little story of a boy name Ville first love. The
dialogue between Ville and Sirkka reminds viewers of a simpler time
when attraction was determined but factors such as height. It is a
visually exciting film where bright, vivid colours and running shots
of open fields help the viewer connect with the freeing feeling of
The montage of images as Ville reflects on his first kiss, the light,
delicate music, the panning out from Ville and the images of the grasshopper
and Sirkka jumping help create a feeling of transcendence in both
Ville and the viewer.
Riverside Theatres (video)
September 23, 2003
Trouble of being
a Boy Jamil Rostami, Live Action 24'50"
Trouble of being a boy is an immersing tale of a young boy named Sirvan
who after mistakenly bringing back the wrong rooster, is sent by his
mother to search the whole village for their rooster or face a beating
should he return home without it.
After following Sirvan around the village and watching his desperation
grow, viewers can't help but sympathise with his situation. Despite
the simplicity of Sirvan's problems, the way they engulf his very
being is infectious to the viewer.
The village constitutes his small world but while concentrating so
hard on his rooster problem he forgets about the even bigger threat
of those outside the village which arrives in the form of a travelling
circumciser. The foreboding music, slow motion and close up shots
of what appears to be a harmless old man makes it all the more funny
when we find out who he is and why all the boys are scared of him.
Monika Witczak / Natalia Wojtysiak, Live Action 7'57" Poland
It's the story of the lives of two very different brothers, one who
is very active and sociable and the other is disabled and a social
When a basketball from the older brothers game crashes through the
window of the younger brother's room, the lives of the brothers cross
giving the younger brother an opportunity to join in with his brother's
The most interesting aspect of this film is use of a buzzing fly sound
over fast forward motion to depict the rapid repetition of the family's
A Good Heart
Ashden Walker, Live Action 4'30" Australia
An African student named Obeoma finds it hard fitting in at her new
Australian school. Ridiculed for looking different and having an unusual
name, Obeoma has the chance to prove herself in front of her peers
in the school race but loses out to the boastful school bully.
The use of dramatic music and slow motion is used to emphasis her
loss but it is in failure where she reveals that her name means 'A
Good Heart'. A Good Heart teaches children a valuable lesson that
individual personality is far more important than superficial glory
An Alien! Bardic
Drama School Primary Class, Live Action 3' Australia 2002
Fantasy and Science fiction are commonly used genres in children books
and films which allow children to explore complex issues. The children
at Bardic Drama school have used an alien to explore complex issues
the treatment of those who are different in appearance.
When the children treat the alien as an oddity, singling her out and
persecuting her the newcomer left feeling alone and alienated.
Loyalty and friendship are also themes this film addresses.
Alex Willis, Live Action 4'17"Australia 2003
A boy who loses his bottle at the beach is reunited with it 15 years
later as a young adult. This results in him reverting back to his
childhood with the final image of him as wrapped up in a 'duckie'
towel and sucking his bottle.
Every aspect of this film from music to the font in the credits has
a childlike quality which all goes into reinforcing the dominant themes
of the film.
Catastrophe at Midday
Kinchela Public School, Live Action 4'30" Australia
The midday news is interrupted when a serial killer attacks their
reporters. The killer is eventually caught when Shikira music which
forces him to dance.
Although the story line may seem a little ridiculous Catastrophe at
Midday does say a lot about production values of news institutions.
But most obvious is the enjoyment of the cast and crew in making this
film and as an audience, we can are let in on their private little
Sawtell Skid Marks
James Vial, Live Action 6'24" Australia 2002
A strange phenomenon occurs every four years at the Sawtell Retirement
Village where residents are rejuvenated and play soccer for a few
hours. Music is employed to help audience make distinctions between
the old and the young. Raw edgy music and the Pink Panther Theme song
is used to represent the mischievous children and the mysterious nature
of the event. This is juxtapose to the soft, light music of the old
Steve Curwin - The Brave Crocodile
Grant, Live Action 2'25" Australia 2003
Steve Curwin is parody of the zealous Australian icon Steve Urwin
where his over enthusiastic nature has him wrestling inanimate objects
such as bottles. In his excitement he puts not only himself in dangerous
situation but others as well. However his lust for life an comic nature
has the audience forgiving him quickly. Steve Curwin successfully
presents the unique Australian knack of being able to laugh at ourselves.
The Fig Tree Controversy
Ben Fletcher, Live Action 4'46" Australia 2002
This mocumentary presents the debate in a small town over whether
or not to cut down iconic fig trees to make room for more disabled
parking. It explores different opinions from opposing groups. This
film addresses complex issues by exploring different but all valid
opinions rather than offering the audience just one opinion to side
with. By doing so The Fig Tree Controversy teaches children that in
life there really is no right or wrong answer. This is evident in
the shopkeeper who takes both sides for his own, very different reasons.
September 25, 2003
Ali Shah Hatami, 90' Live Action Iran 2002
In a drought stricken village, a teenager Rasoul is exiled when he
offends his village and the Dotari player (traditional Iranian musical
instrument) who knows "The Melody of the Gods" which provokes
rain. He then goes out into the desert in search of the Dotari player
to learn "The Melody of Gods" himself to help bring rain
to his village.
Hatami has managed to weld together image and sound seamlessly with
vast, panning shots of endless desert in contrast to the energetic,
rhythmic motion of the music which is the only thing that has life
in the film. Excellent use of framing devices such as arches, doorways,
circles and windows throughout the film to draw viewer attention different
people, places and things. But it is the scene when the rains finally
come and Rasoul stands alone, arms raised towards the heavens and
blood washing off his hands that is simply inspiring.
XS The Worst Size
Jorge Lopez Sotomayor, Live Action 87' Chile 2002
In a school where image is everything and pupils work hard to maintain
the images, Victor finds himself in trouble when he destroys the persona
of school bully Miranda. After Victor accidentally walks in on Miranda
nicknamed 'The Machine' showering he discovers that Miranda actual
has a small package. The news races through the school like wild fire
and when Victor is traced as the informant, Miranda challenges him
to a fight.
XS The Worst Size presents us with the complete teenage experience.
It depicts their multiple relationships with parents, authority figures,
friends, peers and lovers. The fast pace of the film sweeps viewers
away and forces us to be a part of Victor's experience. Fast forward
sequences are perfectly employed throughout the film to illustrate
the confusion and overwhelming nature of this world. Music is carefully
chosen to reflect Victor's thoughts and feelings but it is during
the fight scene in which tribal music is used to indicate the how
primitive the situation is that truly stands out in my mind.
The brilliant and passionate performances by all involved makes the
experience as real to the viewer as it is to the characters. By doing
so XS The Worst Size successfully deals with issues of identity and
masculinity in a real and confronting manner and teaches us, as Miranda
says, that we need to 'learn not to judge people'.
September 26, 2003
Toilet Story Sebastian
Borowczyk, Live Action 4'37" Korea 2003
Toilet Story is a comedy where a young man experiences feelings of
euphoria, desperation, love and loss while in a toilet. In the absence
of dialogue, the over exaggerated facial expressions and dramatic
music all goes into playing up the comedic aspect of the film. The
range of emotions experienced by the young man in such a short period
of time is purely funny in itself.
Knock Knock 'Open
Your Mind' Jo, Sun Hyung, Live Action
5'02" Korea 2003
Two people from diverse cultural backgrounds are disgusted by each
other's breakfast. The facial expressions and body language of the
characters communicate their feelings of revolution and the country
bumpkin music strongly suggests the closed minded nature of the characters.
It is only when they are willing to try each other's food does a free
flowing dialogue, open body language and a sharing of each other's
culture occurs between the two characters and this interaction is
reflected through its use of modern music.
Hyun A, Live Action 3'13" Korea 2003
A public bench provides the location for two people from different
cultures to interact but a puddle which separates them prevents them
from doing so. Clever use of subtitles and special effects to convey
the secret desires of the characters.
Kim Jung Wom, Live Action 3'01" Korea 2003
A girl experiences a terrifying flashback over abuse inflicted on
her by her peers at school. The slightly distorted images, warped
camera angles, jerky camera action, blurred figures and dominance
of heat beat sound all contribute to helping the audience understand
the anxiety and fear she experiences.