2016 marks the 64th year of the Perth International Arts Festival and the 24th year of their very fruitful partnership with Lotterywest. Season Two of Lotterywest Festival Films was launched by PIAF’s Artistic Director Wendy Martin on Monday 18 January at UWA’s Somerville Auditorium.
The 2015/16 Lotterywest Festival Film Seasons are the first to be programmed by their new Film Program Manager, Tom Vincent. At Monday night’s Season Two launch, Vincent explained his reasons for splitting the festival into two distinct seasons for the first time ever: it gave he and his team time to ensure the second season would be as strong as the first. In fact, he stated they were only able to obtain three of the Season Two films because of this additional planning time.
Vincent said, “Season Two perhaps feels a little more soulful and personal, the films take a wider range of approaches to storytelling; they are excellent in quite differing ways.”
The season is made up of nine diverse films set in Iceland, Scotland, Japan, Nepal, the Amazon, Sweden, the US and, of course, festival favourite, France. The films are summarised below:
Sherpa: Trouble on Everest. A documentary for those keen to travel to Mount Everest, without suffering from altitude sickness. With this film, Australian director Jennifer Peedom might change what we think about Everest, perhaps irrevocably.
The End of the Tour. This film is about friendship between men… when one of those men is David Foster Wallace, writer of the epic 1,000+ page novel Infinite Jest. Journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) follows Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) on a book tour around the American Midwest, and it changes his life.
La Belle Saison (Summertime). A French film set in 70s Paris. Carole (Cecile de France) is the leader of an emerging women’s rights movement. When she meets Delphine (rocker Izia Higelin), they embark on a love affair, which isn’t easy to maintain.
The Legend of Barney Thompson. A modern-day, Scottish version of Sweeney Todd, minus the singing. Robert Carlisle directs and stars as Barney the barber, who seeks help from his bingo-loving mother (Emma Thompson). Hilarity ensues.
Miles Ahead. Don Cheadle does Miles Davis. Wow. Cheadle learnt to play the solos himself for the film, which documents the story behind Davis’ disappearance from public life in the mid-70s.
Rams. A wry drama about taciturn sheep farmers. Here I have to quote Film Program Manager Tom Vincent: “The best beards, the best knitwear, and the best joke about a tractor from here to Reikyvik”. What more can I say?
Embrace of the Serpent. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, this looks to be a treat for all the senses. Director Ciro Guerra follows two explorers as they trek through the Amazon in search of a fabled healing plant.
Our Little Sister. Set in summery Japan, this is the story of three sisters in their 20s who take their teenage half sister into their home after their father passes away. Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda (Like Father, Like Son 2014 PIAF).
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. This is the follow-up to Swedish director Roy Andersson’s 2009 PIAF hit, You, the Living. Described as both ridiculous and deadpan, the film examines the pathos of human existence.
Listen to the podcast of Gemma’s interview live on Breakfast with Caitlin on RTR FM 92.1 here.
Season Two of Lotterywest Festival Films follows on from Season One, showing at UWA Somerville and ECU Joondalup Pines from 8 February until 10 April 2016. Tickets/more info: perthfestival.com.au