Cinema Without Borders: The 56th Melbourne International Film FestivalMatthew Clayfield October 2007 Festival Reports Issue 44 25 July – 12 August 2007 An international film festival is kind of like an extended news bulletin – a dispatch wired back to us from the frontlines of the cinema. I am loath to call it a window on the world, which, to me, reeks of cliché, though if I’m being honest with myself, that’s essentially what it is. And as we look out – or rather, in – through this window, an image of the world takes shape, coalescing in the mind’s eye. The image will be flawed, of course, swirling around in a complex soup of political and commercial interests, subject to the omissions and oversights of that most fickle of arbiters, personal taste. But with any luck, it will also be – to some extent, at least – enlightening. One might even learn something about this crazy, mixed-up rock of ours. The 56th Melbourne International Film Festival, Richard Moore’s first as Executive Director, was always going to be one to watch. When Moore’s directorship was announced last year, following the departure of James Hewison after six years at the helm, the former documentary filmmaker and ABC arts producer was still a relatively unknown quantity. Little was published about him at the time and, as far as I can remember, he gave no interviews and issued no manifestos outlining his vision for the festival. For many people – myself included – the first inkling we got of who this Moore fellow was, and of what sort of festival he had in store for us, came at the festival’s official launch when he announced Michael Moore’s Sicko as the opening night film. It was a bold move on a number of fronts. For one thing, MIFF, as it is commonly known, has traditionally kicked off with an Australian film, usually a national if not international premiere. What’s more, in programming Sicko, Moore was not only bucking tradition, he was bucking it to screen a documentary on the American healthcare system by one of the most stridently controversial and polarising filmmakers of the decade. A film which, as if to rub salt into the wounds, would be receiving a commercial release during the festival. Bold new directions are fine and all that, but many of us were left wondering whether this mightn’t be a wrong turn. Some guy with left-leaning tendencies up the front tried to get a round of applause going. There’s nothing quite as lonely as the sound of one man clapping. I have heard conflicting reports about how things transpired on the night. One insider, who attended the after party, said Sicko went down “like a lead balloon”. Another confidante, who merely attended the screening, told me it had been “warmly received”. I can’t vouch for the validity of these claims – or, for that matter, for the strengths and weakness of the film, which I still haven’t seen. What I can vouch for, however, is the quality of the festival that followed it. If Sicko seemed like a daring (perhaps incomprehensible) opening number, by and large the festival itself waltzed to a more or less familiar tune. It continued its engagement with East Asian (and increasingly South-East Asian) cinema, immersed itself in the Middle East, and screened some of most challenging cinema to come out of this country in quite some time. It offered numerous Australian (and a couple of world) premieres, kept the middlebrow audience happy with some typically inoffensive (though thankfully not inane) European fare, and brought a number of cinema’s biggest names to Melbourne – if not always in the flesh, then at least in name. Moore’s strategy was a simple – even cautious – but effective one: keep what’s worked, work on what hasn’t, and quietly forge some new paths in the meantime. My festival experience was coloured very early on by the emotionally engaging and intellectually compelling Magnum in Motion program, a travelling road show that began its worldwide tour at the Berlinale in February. With its implicit and not-so-implicit engagement with the nature of image-making in general and still photography in particular, this series of short films and videos by and about the photographers of the world-renowned Magnum agency, was a program after my own heart. While I usually balk at having to watch television documentaries on the big screen – I find their forms become ungainly and awkward when forcibly removed from their natural habitat – I couldn’t help but be impressed by The Magnum Story (Patricia Wheatley and Rosemary Bowen-Jones, 1989), a three-part documentary series on the agency’s first forty years. Charting the changing nature and role of photography in the latter half of the twentieth century – from the photojournalistic practice of the agency’s founding fathers in the 1940s and 50s, through May ’68 and Vietnam, to the unholy lure of corporate advertising dollars and the phenomenon of fine art photography in the 1980s – the series navigated the murky waters of image-making with subtlety and aplomb. Consequently, watching the films of Magnum photographers, such as The Russian Prison, A Separate Life (Gueorgui Pinkhassov, 1993), Beauty Knows No Pain (Elliott Erwitt, 1971) and Think of England (Martin Parr, 1999), one couldn’t help but be acutely aware of the manifold practical, political, ethical and aesthetic questions they were putting forward twenty-four times per second. The problems posed by a film like Robert Capa: In Love and War (Anne Makepeace, 2003), which, for all its hagiographic excess and formal blandness, was at least a halfway serviceable introduction to the man and his work, would to greater or lesser extent go on to inform the rest of my festival. In a world that is already saturated with imagery, why make images? Consider one of the festival’s very best films: Sanxia haoren (Still Life, Jia Zhangke, 2006). A haunting, sadly beautiful work, with a contemplative, almost hypnotic, rhythm and surreal-because-real imagery, it tells the parallel, but not necessarily connected, stories of Han (Han Sanming), a miner looking for his ex-wife, and Shen (Zhao Tao), a nurse searching for her husband. It is set in China’s Sichuan province, in the ancient city of Fengjie, which was chosen as one of the first sites to be demolished and submerged as part of China’s Three Gorges Dam project. The film was shot on location as the location itself was being torn down, and its images are thereby charged with a certain eulogistic ontological complexity. On the one hand, they belong to the fiction of the film, a backdrop, however intensely evocative, to the stories of Han and Shen; on the other, they are important documentary images of a specific (and historically significant) moment in time. This desire to see, to bear witness to the raising of the city, to record its final days for posterity even if under the guise of fiction, was undoubtedly one of the primary reasons for making the film in the first place. The plot is barer than threadbare and essentially serves as a means of getting from one image of the city to another. As Han and Shen scour Fengjie for their loved ones, the camera brings the backdrop into the foreground, observing, with a silent but resolute sense purpose, as much as much of it as possible. As with the images of a broken Berlin in Rossellini’s Germania, anno zero (Germany, Year Zero, 1948), whatever figurative or symbolic function these images of Fengjie’s destruction may serve on the level of the narrative, they nevertheless have an intrinsic value which, I think, Zhangke affords primacy. As such, the film’s images, like those of Magnum’s Robert Capa or Henri Cartier-Bresson, are charged with an undeniable (if carefully contained) political resonance. The price of China’s rise, they seem to be saying, is its simultaneous fall. The images are also haunting in that they so powerfully invoke the (recently) dead: Fengjie, of course, is by now underwater; the images’ referent, like that of Capa’s Death of a Loyalist Soldier, Spain, 1936, is literally no more. Still Life was probably the film of the festival, the quietly wrenching, thought-provoking crest of that inevitable wave of Asian films that annually breaks over the festival circuit to critical acclaim and rapture. Names like Kim, Hong and Tsai continue to get cinephilic hearts all aflutter. This year, however, one was liable to hear whispers – tentative, potentially blasphemous whispers – about the quality of the films on offer. Were the Asian masters losing their touch? One Melbourne filmmaker I found myself talking to was frank in his assessment of the line-up: “I’m afraid a lot of the Asian filmmakers are beginning to tread water.” This was true in at least one case: the always curious, never quite with-it, case of Kim Ki-duk. Of course, there is an argument, to which I am not unsympathetic, that Kim isn’t even treading water – he’s dead in it, and has been from the beginning. This may be true (I’m still undecided), but even so, none of his films have had quite as much water in the lungs as his muddle-headed, dramatically inept, whacked-out post-romantic thriller, Shi gan (Time). While some have compared the film to Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), arguing that it turns the earlier film on its head, similarities to that most complex of movies are superficial at best and cynical, on Kim’s part, at worst. Time is a flippant, lazy, woefully simple-minded film, with a script that that sounds like it was written in fifteen minutes by a first-year creative writing student on a bender. Ostensibly about Korean women’s obsession with plastic surgery as an all-purpose cure to what ails them, the film fancies itself a considered rumination on identity, body image and pathological vanity. In practice, however, it offers insight into little of anything. Its topicality is shallow and forced, its social relevance non-existent, and its narrative trickery and trace elements of genre are predictable and trite. I decided not to go see his Soom (Breathe), though I have heard since that it wasn’t nearly as bad. Thankfully, the rest of the Asian line-up was not so complete a write-off, with Tsai Ming-liang, Hong Sang-soo and Apichatpong Weerasethakul each bringing films of genuine (if not always long-lasting) interest to the table. In comparison to his last mind- and load-blowing outing, Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud, 2005), Tsai’s Hei yan quan (I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone) is a resolutely lightweight affair. Where Cloud was the transcendent culmination of fifteen years of formal and thematic development, I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone is the filmmaker’s first hesitant step forward from the earlier film’s “absolutely historic” (1) final scene, and an attempt to think through the ramifications of that scene on the future of his cinema. Hong Sang-soo’s Haebyonui yoin (Woman on the Beach) was itself the transcendent culmination of the filmmaker’s work thus far, employing all the usual character types and narrative conceits of Hong’s stridently unadorned, deceptively minimalist cinema, yet charging them with new, self-revelatory energy. I’m still not completely convinced by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, however. I was initially dubious of Sud pralad (Tropical Malady, 2004), though repeat viewings eventually won me over, and now I find myself wondering, too, about Sang sattawat (Syndromes and a Century). While there is certainly no faulting its sense of mood, which shrouds the film so thickly one cannot but breathe it in, and though its impressionistic investigation of memory is obvious enough, I cannot help but feel that its two-part structure is, well, a little bit gimmicky. The bifurcation of the film is similar, though in important thematic ways not identical, to those of both Tropical Malady and Apichatpong’s earlier Sud sanaeha (Blissfully Yours, 2002). While it remains to some extent thematically motivated (and therefore retains a little bit of interest), this structural trope nevertheless functions, simultaneously, as a kind of narrative twist. The muted modicum of shock value it offers is beginning to feel increasingly predicable, and the device itself, whatever its purported function, increasingly meaningless. The peaceful rise of Asia was further compounded by two extensive retrospective programmes, addressing what had come to be seen as one of the festival’s major shortcomings. As recently as last year, in her report on the festival for this website, Cerise Howard wrote that: Another bugbear is MIFF’s latter day disinterest in retrospective programming, barring opportunistically picking up the odd rediscovery/restoration already traipsing about the festival circuit. (2) Programs dedicated to Japanese filmmakers Hirokazu Kore-eda and Shohei Imamura sought to redress this oversight. While Kore-eda seemed to go down well – I was particularly enamoured of Wandâfuru (After Life, 1998) – it was the programme of Imamura pictures that really seemed to make an impact. Anyone who was lucky enough to catch Jinruigaku nyumon: Erogotshi yori (The Pornographers, 1966), Narayama bushiko (The Ballad of Narayama, 1983) or, especially, Akai satsui (Intentions of Murder/Unholy Desire, 1964) was liable to be overheard talking about them excitedly for the rest of the festival. Imamura was not the only master on everybody’s lips, however. On the sixth day of the festival, much to everybody’s shock, Ingmar Bergman up and died. Within twenty four hours, as if not to be outdone, Michelangelo Antonioni passed away as well. Those among us who tend to take sides were immediately torn between the two. At lunch with an Antonioni aficionado to my left and a card-carrying Bergman-lover to my right, the former waving Jonathan Rosenbaum’s evisceration of Bergman in the New York Times, (3) the latter waving Roger Ebert’s rebuttal in the Chicago-Sun Times, (4) it occurred to me that taking sides was rather in bad taste. A third friend, sitting across from us, dressed all in black and hand-rolling his cigarettes, suggested we mourn the death of cinema. I thought this was a bit passé and went outside to get some air. Were we witnessing the passing of European cinematic modernism as embodied by its leading practitioners? I checked my watch. Marker was 86, Resnais was 85, Godard was 77. Jean-Marie Straub was 74 and Danièle Huillet had been dead for nearly a year. Pasolini had been murdered in the ‘70s, Buñuel died in the ‘80s, Bresson in the last year of the ‘90s. Waiting patiently in line for Manoel de Oliveira’s Belle toujours, the 98-year-old master’s modest coda to the 40 year-old film of a fallen comrade (Buñuel’s Belle de jour), I overheard a couple lamenting the paucity of European films at the festival. “It’s all Iran and China nowadays”, said one of them to the other. They were wrong, of course, these white-bread cinephiles. While the Imamura and Kore-eda retrospectives certainly tipped the balance in Asia’s favour this year (I, for one, was not complaining), Europe was certainly not underrepresented and European modernism, unlike Ingmar and Michelangelo, had certainly not shuffled off its mortal coil. Indeed, some of most interesting films at festival remained those of iconoclastic European auteurs working in or expanding upon the modernist tradition. Take, for example, Béla Tarr’s A Londoni férfi (The Man from London), in which the filmmaker’s trademark slow-burn sequence shots and meticulous attention to quotidian detail are further charged with the highly wrought tensions and ambiguous threats characteristic of film noir. Or Oliveira’s aforementioned Belle toujours, with its enigmatic and reflective quietness and almost musical pacing and structure. Or André Téchiné’s Les Témoins (The Witnesses), a considered but thankfully unsentimental evocation of the early days of the AIDS crisis in France, when the hard-won sexual freedoms of the 1960s and ‘70s gave way to fear and loathing, and exile and activism, on an unprecedented scale. With its luminous, almost Almodóvarian, cinematography (I haven’t seen skies this blue since Godard’s Le Mépris !) and its elegant, I thought compassionate, editing, The Witnesses, in willful but not naïve defiance of its subject matter, was one of the most optimistic and hopeful films of the festival. I will also admit to a certain fondness for that seemingly bumbling but razor-sharp Englishman, Nick Broomfield, who had two films at the festival in his Greengrass-esque docudrama on illegal Chinese immigrants in Britain, Ghosts, and the more typically Broomfieldian His Big White Self. The latter, a made-for-television follow-up to his 1991 film, The Leader, His Driver and the Driver’s Wife, which was about Boer-Afrikaner separatist leader Eugène Terre’Blanche, sees the filmmaker return to South Africa following Terre’Blanche’s release from prison. Critics of Broomfield, who think the filmmaker’s ego has a tendency to get in the way of his subjects, will find the film predictably infuriating. Fans of the filmmaker’s self-reflexive style, which brings the trials and tribulations of film production to bear upon the formal and thematic operations of the films themselves, will not be disappointed. “European cinema isn’t dead,” said a local film writer later, confirming my suspicions. “It’s everywhere.” I asked him what he meant. “It’s dispersed,” he continued. “It’s everywhere you look.” He sighed, dragging slowly on his cigarette. “The Asian films are European films, the African films are European films. The only films that aren’t European are the American films, and even they’re looking a bit European this year.” He put out his cigarette on a poster of Sarah Polley’s face (5) and asked me if I had known that Ethan Hawke had been in town. I had. I also saw his point, to a point. One of the most exciting new strings in the festival’s bow was the simply but accurately titled Africa! Africa! program, launching what the festival claims will be an ongoing engagement with African cinema. But what does one mean by this exactly? By “African cinema”? African stories? African themes? An African idiom? Films like La Nuit de la vérité (The Night of Truth, Fanta Régina Nacro) from Burkina Faso, Rêves de poussière (Dreams of Dust, Laurent Salgues), also from Burkina Faso, and Daratt (Dry Season, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun) from Chad were by and large made by African filmmakers with European money, and I found myself wondering to what extent their formal and thematic concerns reflected this. Partly financed by MTV Films Europe, the South African Bunny Chow (John Barker) rocked the casbah with the same kind of counter-cultural content (sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, though not necessarily in that order) and formal liveliness (freewheeling handheld camerawork and rat-a-tat-tat editing) that have become synonymous with the MTV brand worldwide. There is nothing wrong with this, of course: MTV put up the money and got a film they would be proud to put their name to. But while Bunny Chow was a lot of fun, was it especially “African”? Is there or could there ever be such a thing as an “African sensibility”? And what type of cinematic language might such a thing produce? These, of course, are contentious questions, and due care should be taken while attempting to answer them. But with film finance flowing more or less freely across national borders and continental shelves – to the extent that every second film at the festival had the fingerprints of four or five countries on it – and with numerous film festivals establishing important production funds geared towards third world film production, they remain important questions that should continue to be asked. To what extent is the attempt to foster post-colonial and indigenous filmmaking itself a colonial enterprise? What is the impact of European and American capital upon third world filmmakers and the forms they create? On the other hand, to what extent is the notion of a “truly” or “especially” indigenous cinema loaded with misguided, nineteenth century assumptions about the third world and the Other? While a film like Oliver Schmitz’s Mapantsula (1988) has the structure of a generic political thriller, replete with confusing temporal displacements and tried and true character types (Afrikaner cops must be the scariest mo-fos in the world, I swear), the specificity of its political concerns and its not insignificant claim to being “the first anti-apartheid feature film by, for and about black South Africans” render it just as “African” as any hypothetical ethnographic curio made by, about and in the narrative tradition of nomadic Kalahari Bushmen. Nevertheless, the writer was right when he attested to the breakdown of borders and the dispersal of European cinema traditions. He just wasn’t telling the entire story. The vectors of influence – if not always those of investment capital – are vociferously multi-, not uni-, directional. Contemporary cinema is a cinema without borders. If Western financing makes African, Asian and indigenous filmmaking possible, then filmmakers like Hou Hsiao-hsien and Ousmane Sembène respond in kind by creating images that in turn influence European and American sensibilities. And, for that matter, Australian sensibilities, too. Ben Hackworth’s Corroboree and Oscar Redding’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark are two of the more idiosyncratic and uncompromising Australian films to have appeared in the last couple of years. As I have already written in this journal, (6) Corroboree, in particular, is easier to situate in relation to contemporary world cinema than it is to that of its own country. A formally rigorous exploration of memory, performance and directorial control, with hints of Tsai, Michael Haneke, and the period pieces of 1970s Australian cinema, Hackworth’s is a difficult film that requires multiple viewings. What’s certain, however, is that with its very specific formal operations – its long takes at fixed angles, subtle emphasis on gesture, and rhythmic choreography of action at various planes within the image – it is in many ways closer to recent Asian and European films than almost any other Australian film I can think of. The world premiere of The Tragedy of Hamlet was attended primarily by theatre folk – unsurprising, really, given that the film began life as a theatre production. On the basis of what I had heard on the grapevine, I had expected the evening to be one of great theatre, though I was a trifle unsure as to whether or not it was going to be one of great film. To Redding’s credit, I was at first relieved, then impressed, then positively bowled over by just how cinematic the picture was. The treatment of the text itself is innovative and bold: its central concern is with Hamlet’s madness, and the limits itself wherever possible to the scenes of the play in which this is highlighted. The film’s form, too, has been devised with the expression of Hamlet’s psychological state as its primary object. In this, it is unrelenting, inventive and refreshing. Borrowing from the cinematic language of Dogme 95, the film is one of motion sickness-inducing cinematography, narcotic, grainy imagery, distorted sound, and – in a not completely successful attempt to evoke the technical limitations of digital video – frame dropout. (The latter of these devices, while initially having the desired effect, becomes progressively less jarring as its use increases towards the end of the film; to the point, in fact, that its use becomes at best predictable and at worst a sloppy attempt to mask cuts in what would otherwise be unbroken takes.) The film’s form, it might be argued, like that of a 1970s flicker film, is ultimately intended to wound the audience and cast asunder their precious sensibilities; it is a film, in other words, in both intent and effect, of optical and aural violence – Hamlet’s own internal violence rendered cinematically. The film also offers a marvellously singular vision of Melbourne that glued-on fans of the city would be well advised not to miss: it opens and closes in the Bourke Street Mall, includes important sequences on a tram and in the Italian Waiters Restaurant, and its best scene unfolds in Campbell Arcade, a.k.a. the Degraves Street subway, in full view of the Platform Artist Group’s exhibition space. It is a vision of Melbourne that invites the viewer to see the city through new eyes. Which is more than can be said for Lawrence Johnston’s Night, which, rather than offering an idiosyncratic or unique vision of much of anything, instead trots out a seemingly unending series of visual, aural and conceptual clichés. Indeed the film ultimately seems like a curious attempt to re-imagine Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi (1982) using stock-standard (and surprisingly ugly) images of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on News Year’s Eve (“Haven’t seen that one before”, my housemate muttered), Bourke Street’s Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar on a rainy night (“I’d rather be there right now eating pasta”, I coughed back) and that ol’ ochre-coloured warhorse, Uluru. “You can only see the sun going down and the moon coming up so many times”, I heard one particularly disgruntled punter mutter the next morning in the queue. “And only so much time-lapse photography”, his partner added disdainfully. Touché. As the festival wound up for another year, all anyone seemed to be talking about was Dee McLachlan’s The Jammed and the fact that it had been overlooked by those nasty festival programmers. (The same nasty festival programmers who had just given us nineteen extraordinary days of cinema? The same.) Why hadn’t the film been programmed here when it had been in Sydney and Brisbane, people asked? A film that had been made in Melbourne, no less, and which dealt with Melbourne issues, snubbed by the city’s premier film festival and left to rot in an arthouse cinema for a measly ten-day run. The cries grew a little shriller after Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton on ABC TV’s At the Movies, and then Jim Schembri in the Age, all gave the film positively glowing reviews. Conspiracy theories began doing the rounds. MIFF talks itself up as an international festival and doesn’t want to be seen showing local films, whispered this person. None of the films that get submitted in the post actually get watched by programmers, nodded that. No one seemed particular willing to consider that the film might not have been any good, and none of the conspiracy theorists I spoke to had actually seen The Jammed for themselves. I still haven’t, for that matter, and can only echo Richard Moore. Speaking to Schembri in the Age, he explained the controversial decision thus: “No comment.” (7) Again, touché. But seriously, it would be wrong of me to judge. After all, what of one’s own stupid prejudices and glaring oversights? Considering that I was reporting on the festival, the number of programs I saw nothing of was, to put it mildly, scandalous. Full Moon Fever, World Stories, Euro Debuts, Forbidden Pleasures, Backbeat, Next Gen, Accelerator, and more shorts programs than you can poke a stick at, all evaded me. Or was it that I evaded them? Certainly, I deliberately avoided David Lynch’s Inland Empire and David Gordon Green’s Snow Angels and tried to avoid as many films that we’re getting a release as possible (no small feat when such a ludicrous, inexplicable number of films in the program will be coming soon to a theatre near me, if they haven’t been and gone already). Perhaps my grossest oversight was that I only saw one film in the Stars of David (new Israeli cinema) program – Mishehu Larutz Ito (Someone To Run With, Oded Davidoff), which, for the record, I liked very much – which more people than I care to admit have told me was one of the best line-ups of the festival. I am probably the least qualified person to provide an overview of anything. Which is to say – if you’ll allow me the indulgence – that my festival experience was no more or less representative than pretty much anyone else’s. For me, at least, part of the fun of the film festival experience is to work out where its interests lie – to uncover the festival’s internal logic, connecting the dots across language barriers and programs, and attempting, sometimes completely in vain, to understand the festival’s curatorial schema. Not everyone agrees with me that this is the best way to approach nineteen arduous days of film-going, arguing (not without cause) that sore feet, bleeding eyes and an ever-increasing sense of fatigue are enough of a burden to endure without simultaneously trying to discover something of the festival’s essence. I have been accused, on more than one occasion, of failing to see the films for the festival. “I’m struggling to work out how everything fits,” I remarked to an acquaintance between sessions over coffee. “Where the session of Norman McLaren shorts goes. How to make sense of the childlike thrill of wonder I felt watching The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian, 1925) with live Wurlitzer organ accompaniment. The only thing I can think to say is that the festival is a bit like an extended news bulletin.” “Well, why don’t you just say that?” he asked. “And why does it even matter?” I replied that I liked to think there might be some sort of method to the madness. “But whose method and whose madness?” he asked, and the question lingered in the air between us. We waited in silence for the next session to start and circled the films we wanted to see in our programs. We gazed into our coffee cups and contemplated the universe. Melbourne International Film Festival website: http://www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au Endnotes Helen Bandis, Adrian Martin and Grant McDonald, “The 400 Blow Jobs”, Rouge, issue 10, 2007. Cerise Howard, “A Taxidermia Indeed: Stuffed to the Gills at MIFF although Still a Little Miffed at Some Stuff: The 55th Melbourne International Film Festival”, Senses of Cinema, issue 41, 2006. Jonathan Rosenbaum, “Scenes From an Overrated Career”, New York Times, August 4 2007. Roger Ebert, “Defending Ingmar Bergman”, rogerebert.com, August 7 2007. To be fair, Sarah Polley is Canadian. Matthew Clayfield, “Notes on the Death of Beauty, Art and Talent: A Correspondence with Ben Hackworth”, Senses of Cinema, issue 44, 2007. Jim Schembri, “The Jammed – Why Did MIFF Ignore the Australian Film of 2007?”, Cinetopia Blog (The Age), August 20 2007.