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CANNES 2000 - AUSTRALIAN FILMS

CARRY THE CANNES
With one feature in the Directors Fortnight section and another in Critics Week (both parallel to but not part of the official festival), Australia is not heavily represented at Cannes in festival terms; so it's up to the handful of new films being screened to the world's buyers to carry the Cannes; ANDREW L. URBAN reports.

Mallboy - Directors Fortnight
Writer/director Vincent Giarrusso
Stars Kane McNay, Nell Feeney, Brett Swain, Brett Tucker, Maxie Rickard, Sarah Naumoff, -Lauren Hawker

The script started out as a long poem with cinematic imagery, triggered by personal experience as a youth worker, where Giarrusso discovered the frustrations of seeing some kids who needed help - but no intervention by the system would have much positive impact. Shaun, the central character of Mallboy, is based on one of the kids he met "who had huge potential but ended up following in his father's footsteps into petty crime and drug addiction. Shaun represents a more optimistic view of how such a kid might end up," says the director.

See Andrew L. Urban's story on the making of MALL BOY

Soft Fruit - Critics Week
Writer/director Chrsitina Andreef
Stars Jeanie Drynan, Linal Haft, Genevieve Lemon, Sacha Horler, Alicia Talbot, Russell Dykstra.

Overweight siblings Josie (Lemon), Nadia (Horler), Vera (Talbot) and Bo (Dykstra) come home to Port Kembla to nurse their terminally ill mother Patsy (Drynan). Bo has been released on parole to spend time with his mother in her last weeks, but his father Vic (Haft) cannot stand the sight of him and will not have him in the house. The three sisters are Florence Nightingales from hell, who squabble and compete on every level Ė from their crash diets to disagreements on how to nurse their mother. But Patsy isnít interested in being nursed or organised. She dreams of flights of fancy and fun.

Winner, Audience Award, San Sebastian Film Festival, 1999.

See REVIEWS and Andrew L. Urban's interview with JEANIE DRYNAN

MARKET SCREENINGS:

Angst
Director: Daniel Nettheim; Writer Anthony O'Connor
Stars: Sam Lewis, Jessica Napier, Justin Smith, Abi Tucker, Luke Lennox

Pain is funny, at least for the audience, reckons Angst director Daniel Nettheim, who admits to making his debut with an eye on filmmakers such as Woody Allen and Mike Leigh. "The style draws on these filmmakers, but with younger characters - hence the pain, and hence the title."

Better Than Sex
Writer/director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Stars David Wenham, Susie Porter

You won't find the words 'quirky Australian romantic comedy' on any of the promotional material for Better Than Sex - indeed, Teplitzky won't let the sales and marketing people even call it a romantic comedy. "I didn't want it to be a standard romantic comedy," he explains, "and wanted to avoid the sentimentality which undoes so many of those. It's amusing and honest but it's not full of gags."

Chopper
Writer/director: Andrew Dominik
Stars Eric Bana, Simon Lyndon, Vince Colosimo, David Field

"A criminal failure on a grand level," is how producer Michele Bennett describes Mark 'Chopper' Read, the subject of Chopper, Andrew Dominik's debut feature. Dominik became fascinated by the man who is now living on a Tasmanian farm on the proceeds of autobiographies that make him a best selling writer ("even though I can't spell," he chuckles).

Russian Doll
Director: Stavros Kazantzidis. Writers: Stavros Kazantzidis, Allanah Zitserman
Stars Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Natalia Novikova

Inspired by a night at Sydney's Russian Roulette Club, full of Russian Jews, Russian Doll represents Kazantzidis' (Love and Other Catastrophes, Love and Chaos) most collaborative project to date. With Hugo Weaving, he wanted to explore his underlying sensitive side. Weaving plays a neurotic private investigator who agrees to marry his best friend's mistress for technical reasons.

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Mall Boy - Director's Fortnight


Soft Fruit - Critic's Week

In Urban Cinefile
May 18, 2000:
On the set of Chopper
Making of Russian Doll


Angst


Better Than Sex


Chopper


Russian Doll

Let's Wait
While there are no Australian features in the official festival sections this year, the 11 minute Let's Wait by writer/director Stephen Sewell is screening today in Bernard Bolies' "Cinema du Antipodes" section of the Forum.

"Let's Wait is the story of a woman realising the values she has lived her life by will no longer sustain her," says Sewell, "and I suppose that's pretty well what I was doing when I made it. I wish I was a better man than I am."

Produced by Kate Riedl and Susanne Larson, and told in the form of a prayer, Let's Wait is a moody meditation on life and disappointment that suggests that perhaps there are no final answers, only temporary and inadequate ones. The film was produced with the help of the Australian Film Television and Radio School and stars Dina Panozzo, Deborah Kennedy and Russell Kiefel.







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