MIFF 2007 Australian Short Stories

Australian Short Stories is a collection of Australian Indigenous films of all different shapes and sizes. It opened with Hush – a fantastic and very funny little film about a mother who works as a phone sex person during the night, and is eventually found out by her outraged daughter. Backseat, is a moving film about a young girl who is reunited with her real family, courtesy of her foster parents. Custard, is a cute and peculiar film about a teenage Aboriginal girl, and her grandmother as they deal with the death of her grandfather. Nana, was my favourite film of the screening. It’s a very simple little film, narrated by a young girl as she explains what she loves about her Nana. What makes this film so funny is that the Nana does a lot of crazy things, which you just don’t imagine Nana’s should or could do! The young girl telling the story is so innocent, and full of love for her Nana, and yet the old Nana is so not innocent and full of hate for the drunks that come to her town! When the Natives Get Restless is a 28 minute documentary that explores the lives of an aboriginal community living in a housing estate in Dubbo. This is a very moving documentary that captures some amazing interviews from kids who are causing trouble simply because they’ve got nothing else to do. It also gives you a revealing insight into what the people are going through as they are effectively kick out of their homes and are forced to relocate. The filmmakers obviously spend a great deal of time in Dubbo, as they have obtained a great deal of trust from the people they speak to. There was also a collection of ABC funded animations, which tell different Aboriginal dreamtime stories – although to be perfectly honest, despite the fact that they were of the highest production values, and utilised some fantastic and varied animation techniques I wasn’t the biggest fan. Everything was a bit too “arty” for me, and I found it hard to really connect with the story. Finally, Crocodile Dreaming is a fantastic short film about another dreamtime story, of a man who loses a stone containing all of the tribe’s ancestor’s stories, and as a result angers the crocodile spirits. When a crocodile kills his daughter in a normally safe lagoon, the community is forced to send someone to try and find the rock and return it to the rightful place. This film had some absolutely amazing visual effects that were incredibly realistic. It successfully merged reality with fantasy to great effect. The soundtrack was also amazing – with some great creepy sound effects.

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