MIFF 2007 Documentary Shorts Programme 2

I Want to Be a Pilot, is a depressing and eye-opening film about a 12-year-old boy who lives in the slums of East Africa, and only has one dream in life – to become a pilot, so that he can escape the world he’s grown up in, and fly away to see his parents. The narration right throughout the film, by the boy, is incredibly effective. The visuals, showing the wasteland that he lives in is dirty and grotty film that really fits in with the whole theme of the film. It’s a sad film, for obvious reasons, but is very powerful, and is a great film for highlighting the poverty problems in Africa.

Human Performance and Limitations, is an odd film that has lots of observational footage of an aircraft, with a voice over from a supposedly very skilled and experienced neurologist who believed his pilot on a recent flight was either on drugs or mentally unstable. However, it reveals that this was not the case – the pilot was drug free and mentally healthy. Although it was interesting the watch, the conclusion pretty much destroyed the film. I think I missed the point of it. It apparently is supposed to reflect the anxiety surrounding plane travel after September the 11th, but it doesn’t make any reference to what year it was supposed to be, so that’s pretty useless.

Passage, a Brazilian film, is the story of a person walking along a highway that never ends, with no destination in mind. It’s basically just a whole lot of footage of a man walking, with his voice over talking about what it was like to film the film. I didn’t really find a point to it, and found it incredibly boring.

The Butcher’s Wife, is a fantastic and powerful VCA documentary, about a female filmmakers who confronts her mother, to reveal an open and extremely intimate account of personal meaning, and the awful impact of domestic abuse. This was an incredibly brave thing to do, for both the mother, and her filmmaker child. All of their darkest family secrets are now captured on tape forever. The production values weren’t great – it was shot on a consumer video camera, and the audio was pretty rough in places, but what was captured was raw, real and very moving.

Lipari, is a day in the life of a crew aboard a fishing boat. It has no dialogue, and is basically just observational footage of their day. The film is slow and observational, but not boring. The footage is all fantastic, and really captures what it is like to be on their boat. The sound design is simple, basically just a whole lot of atmosphere noises, however it really works.

The Fighting Cholitas, is a great Bolivian film about a group of bold and resilient female Bolivian wrestlers. Each week, these women jump into the ring in their traditional and vibrant multi-layered skirts and beat the crap out of each other, all for the good of the audience. It’s really bizarre seeing these seemingly un-athletic people, perform amazing wrestling moves in totally unsuited attire. You get a great insight into why these women do what they do, and what they do when they’re not fighting. An extraordinary and extremely fascinating film!

Finally, Untold is a six part short film that uses a lot of archive footage to tell, well, I’m not exactly sure. This was probably one of the most uninteresting films I’ve ever seen. The footage was quite interesting, and the way it was edited together was fine – however, the story it produced was too boring to even think about. I couldn’t concentrate for a second, as the narration was just so monotonous. I have no idea what the point of the film was – all I know is that as soon as it started, I really wanted it to end!

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