OK, so I've been time-poor lately. There's been a lot to grapple with. My partner's been really sick with a bizarre and horrendously discomforting rare disease and my editing job of the past 10 years is being "migrated" to Malaysia sometime in the next couple of weeks. It's impossible to find anything else suitable to apply for.
Of course, I don't have any substantial 'connections' either and that's what it appears to be about these days. The cliche idea that hard work will be rewarded remains a myth to all but a few. It was certainly a cruel irony to be told they would've made their move earlier, if not for the "exceptional quality" of my work. There's no redundancy payment in my case either - the 'casual' status of my position has seen to that.
Considering it all, unemployment seems like a nice idea - for a while, at least - but it's going to be strange also. For the past 10 years, I've done my work - the work I do best - at least 15 hours a week for 52 weeks of each year. It's worked in to the structure of my life.
Despite the fact that the film festival is kind of dissolving in my memory, I thought I'd just give an abbreviated overview of the remaining films.
A Somewhat Gentle Man was really quite wonderful. Norwegian cinema has been producing some nice work recently (2008's 'Let The Right One In' immediately springs to mind!) and this film was no exception. Ulrik, just released from jail after doing time for murder, is back in town and his old gangster boss immediately closes in around him, encouraging him to take revenge. His son is about to become a father, he continually has to dodge his landlady's sexual advances and the girl he fancies at work has a violent boyfriend he must eventually contend with. Ulrik is a great character - and this film was an excellent study in characters generally - a most satisfying movie.
The Killer Inside Me was a film I was really looking forward to. An adaptation of Jim Thompson's pulp novel by Michael Winterbottom, it's about a cop with a bent on killing. Unfortunately, this film was a let-down. I found Casey Affleck irritating in the title role - not just his sociopath character, but his voice-over. The whole thing made me seriously wonder whether Micheal Winterbottom could possibly be a misogynist (especially when considered in light of his other films). There were a few bright moments, but ultimately - and most disappointingly - this film was forgettable and had a jaded feel to it. There were no characters to feel sympathetic towards and be interested in, because none were developed.
The Ghost Writer was next and strongly anticipated in its premiere showing. Despite my being a big Roman Polanski fan and although this film - about a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) assigned to an ex-British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) after the death of his previous ghost writer - was perfectly-directed, sleek and classy - even witty at times, it came across as a fairly stock-standard political thriller. That said however, the wit was interesting in its extra-textual references to the Blairs and even Polanski himself. Interesting to see Kim Cattrall (of 'Sex and the City' fame) in a decent role for a change and also to see Olivia Williams again (after her role as Ian Dury's wife in 'Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n Roll' - reviewed earlier) cast as the ex-PM's wife.
Hesher was the final film for me this year. This was a US production directed by Sydneysider, Spencer Susser and was basically a film about grief. After the tragic death of his mother, TJ - along with his dad and grandmother - are stagnating in this grief, until a heavy-metal stanger/loner (Hesher) gatecrashes his way into their home and lives. This film is spruiked as "Flipping its middle finger firmly at post-trauma family drama ... (and avoiding) sentimentality in favour of anarchic transformation." OK, but the guy was just an obnoxious slob who pushed his way into a family's home and lobbed there, taking advantage of the fact that they are all in shell-schocked individual states. And we're supposed to laugh at - and therefore condone - his peurile indulgences and destructive outbursts, simply because he irritates to the point of knocking the family out of their fog. WTF? Is the guy Jesus? The audience certainly seemed to take to him. I don't know. Somehow, I found the whole thing a bit creepy.