Down the Melbourne International Film Festival rabbit hole
|Contented Cuban cow|
As usual, the end of July and beginning of August in icy Melbourne finds me doing one of the things I love best - disappearing, like Alice, down the Melbourne International Film Festival rabbit hole. There I spend days at a time, sitting in the dark, visiting places that fascinate or appal me without ever having to leave my seat. And just like Alice, I get to experience lives very different from my own in faraway places.
The first morning I spent time in southern England with Stephen Hook, the Moo Man of the film's title, who as a small dairy farmer is truly hooked on cows. By the film's end so was I. His happy, non-stressed healthy-looking cows reminded me of the ones, like the lady above, that we met in the urban farms of Cuba. With zero prosletysing, the film manages to make a powerful case for the valour and right-mindedness of small farmers everywhere and the value of raw, organic non-homogenised milk. Way to go Farmer Hook!
Next I moved on to a very different country, which went unnamed but evoked Afghanistan. In The Patience Stone a beautiful young woman (played by the brilliant exiled Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani ) tends to her comatose husband in a war-torn village. Sitting next to him day after day, she tells him more and more of the secrets that she had never been able to share with him in their ten years of marriage. As she does so, you get a vivid picture of the country's culture and of the restricted lives of women within it. It's a gripping tale with a shock ending.
My next stop was Chile where I saw Gloria, a film about a divorcee in her late 50s. The film showcases the talented Paulina Garcia, who attended the theatre for a Q&A session afterwards. Gloria is a great character, who grapples with her adult children and the complexities of their lives, a reunion with her ex-husband, living alone and searching for love and sex. The film's unblinking depiction of sexual relationships in later life is great. And as a dancer myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the delight and release Gloria experienced on the dance floor.
Finally, I landed in the USA during the weeks building up to the Occupy movement in 2011. I loved 99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film because it is a tribute to people power everywhere and a rousing call to action.
I remember one of the messages emphasised at Byron Bay's Economics of Happiness Conference was that we should start by putting our energy into local action. If we all do that, there will be huge changes across the globe.
This Friday, as on every Friday throughout August, on behalf of the TRAINS NOT TOLLROADS movement, we will be protesting for increased public transport at our local freeway exit.
|Congested exit ramp of Eastern Freeway|
You'll spot us easily. We'll be under banners in Alexandra Parade from 7am onwards. If you're in your car make sure you 'Toot for Trains'. Or better still, ditch your car and come and join us.
Just like Lewis Carroll did for Alice, MIFF gives me the chance to explore new worlds, before I end up back where I belong - in my own neighbourhood.