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On this page - Boys on Film 6: AJUMMA! ARE YOU KRAZY??? | DROWNING | FRANSWA SHARL
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last update 21.Mar.11
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boys on film 6 Boys on Film 6: Pacific Rim
With a collection of shorts from filmmakers working around the Pacific Ocean, this is a strangely gloomy compilation. Normally we associate Aussies with stinging humour or sexy silliness, but the shorts from Australia here are rather dark and disturbing, even when they show flashes of wit. And the one comedy, an American clip from Hawaii, is so amateurishly silly that it hardly counts. There's an overriding sense of loss in these films, which leave us feeling a bit depressed in the end. But along the way there's some very high-quality filmmaking.
release UK 28.Mar.11 • 11/UK Peccadillo 2h16 • 18 themes, language, sexuality, violence • 19.Mar.11
VOL 5   <   BOYS ON FILM   >  VOL 7
Drowning   4.5/5
dir-scr Craig Boreham
with Miles Szanto, Xavier Samuel, Tess Haubrich, Bren Foster, Sylvia Allewelt
09/Australia 20m
samuel and szanto
Drowning Moody and insinuating, this beautifully shot and edited short looks and feels like a feature, although it stays centred on emotions rather than plot. Mik (Szanto) feels like his entire world has been upended. He's struggling to cope with the loss of his big brother, so he takes a day out with his best friend Dan (Samuel). But Dan invites his girlfriend (Haubrich) along, which creates a dynamic Mik isn't remotely happy about. Filmmaker Boreham captures his cast and the setting in their sundrenched glory as they strip off to swim in the gorgeous pool and roam around the glassy interious of the house. Mik's longing extends beyond his romantic feelings toward Dan; he's also upset by the girlfriend's showy wealth and the fact that she and Dan just assume Mik is fine about all of this. And some late flashbacks and a dark turn of events bring the film's aching sense of sadness home with a punch.


Franswa Sharl   4/5  
dir Hannah Hilliard
scr Greg Logan, Hannah Hilliard
with Callan McAuliffe, John Batchelor, Diana Glenn, Steve LeMarqund, Pippa Grandison, Ivy Latimer
09/Australia 14m
latimer and mcauliffe
Franswa Sharl Bright and sunny, and shot with a vivid sense of nostalgia, this short is based on a true story. On their annual family holiday in Fiji, 12-year-old Greg (McAuliffe) sets out to recapture the attention of his father (Batchelor) in a rather daring way: by borrowing a friend's bikini and entering the resort's beauty pageant. Set in 1980 with plenty of on-screen clues, the film has the colour-drenched textures of a home movie, and it's narrated by Greg with a wry sense of humour that matches a sit-com vibe reminiscent of The Wonder Years. Greg is an instantly likeable character, a joker easily egged on by the other kids as he tries to win over his mortified dad. It may feel rather silly, but there's a strongly personal point here. And it's all accompanied with terrific Polynesian music, plus a bit of Olivia Newton-John.
Tanjong Rhu: The Casuarina Cove   3/5  
dir-scr Boo Junfeng
with Nick Shen Weijun, Scott Lei, Yeo Yann Yann, Pierre Goh, Tan Bee Guan, Kelvin Ong
09/Singapore 19m
tanjong rhu A smoky and steamy atmosphere in a wooded cruising area gives this film a dark surge of danger from the opening shots. Although this dissipates when the film cuts to a framing interview, which narrates the events. As Kelvin (Shen) talks into a video camera operated by an undefined woman (Yeo), he recalls the night in 1993 when he was caught in Singapore's most notorious police sting in the casuarina grove at Tanjong Rhu. Twelve men were charged with "outrage of modesty", then caned and permanently scarred. A caption tells us that this event was the last official instance of police entrapment. The film is rather fragmented with this important series of events crosscut with the interview as well as scenes of Kelvin's life with his ex-boyfriend (Lei) and his grandmother (Tan). But the dramatic elements struggle to come through, and feel somewhat slow and mopey. Still, it does ask an important question: who's to blame for this kind of thing? The police, gay men, homophobes or society at large?
Teddy   3/5
dir-scr Christopher Banks
with Brian Moore, Chris Tempest, Alan Granville
09/New Zealand 15m
moore, tempest and granville
Teddy With a country twang, this drama is simplistic but effective in showing a collision of expectations. Londoner Tony (Moore) visits rural New Zealand to see his ex Neil (Tempest), who left England for life on an isolated farm. But things don't go as expected. Clearly Tony wants Neil back, and seeing their worn-out teddy bear on his bed raises hopes that Neil still has embers of love, flooding his memories with images of intimacy. So when Neil's new boyfriend (Granville) arrives, the deflation is pretty strong. Of course, it also feels like a cheat, as surely Neil would have mentioned this when they were planning the visit. This makes the entire film feel a little awkward, especially combined with the rushed dialog and slightly tentative performances. But it's very nicely shot, and there are moments where filmmaker Banks catches some vivid emotions.
Love, 100°C 3.5/5  
dir-scr Kim Jho Kwang-soo
10/Korea 22m
Love, 100C
Love, 100C With a strong sense of both comedy and hesitant emotions, filmmaker Kim gets under the skin of his central character with what feels like an autobiographical exploration of growing confidence. Min-soo is a deaf teen who manages to remain cheerful despite the fact that his cocky younger brother torments him while using him as an excuse to sneak out to see his girlfriend. While Min-soo nurses his unrequited crush on a bullying classmate, he finds physical release in the arms of the local bathhouse masseur. The film is packed with charming touches, as Min-soo discovers things about himself that allow him to face the challenges around him with a smile. This creates some terrific interaction with those around him; his growing assurance pleases his mother but infuriates his brother and the mean boys at school. And as it continues, a growing dark stream of homophobia threatens to undermine everything in very nasty ways. Although there are some surprises in the ways it plays out. And while the film has a slightly jerky pace (plus a seriously strange closing credits number), it subtly but vividly conveys Min-soo's feelings.
My Last Ten Hours With You   4/5
dir Sophie Hyde
scr Matthew Cormack
with Joel McIlroy, Toby Schmitz, Danica Moors, Peter de Krey
07/Australia 15m
schmitz and mcilroy
My Last Ten Hours With You Shot with an attention to the smallest detail, this film has a visceral quality that makes us experience the pain of separation along with its characters. Over the course of a long night, Jeremy and Mark (McIlroy and Schmitz) struggle with the fact that their relationship is ending as Jeremy moves overseas. They ignore the phone, reluctantly attend a farewell party on the beach and do everything they can to avoid saying goodbye. This is a seriously sad movie infused with a sense of dread, as we can see that these two men are extremely close, and yet they are being pulled apart for a reason we're never quite sure of. The minimalist script and darkly textured direction combine the trivial surfaces with raw undercurrents, all the while reminding us that no matter how hard we try to stop fate, the world keeps turning.
Ron the Zookeeper   3.5/5  
dir-scr Darcy Prendergast
with Marc Gallagher, Darcy Prendergast, Richard Yang, Thomas Jones, Joe Sibley
07/Australia 7m sushi and ron
Ron the Zookeeper The final project of animator Prendergast, who went on to work with Adam Elliot on the terrific Mary and Max, this hilariously unruly short was banned from being shown at graduation, which is a bit of a surprise for an Australian film school. It's about Sushi (Prendergast), the last male grey panda in the world. And it's Ron's job to get a sperm sample, which is easier said than done, even after going through a bottle of Viagra and a stack of panda-porn (featuring the wrong species of panda). The film is a riot of observations, as Sushi refuses to perform while the tourists are watching and snapping photos like paparazzi. The humour is sharp and very dark, sometimes going way over the top on the way to an outrageously rude money shot that makes us gasp at the audacity of it all. We can hardly believe that Prendergast had the nerve to write and film this. But we're glad he did.
Ajumma! Are You Krazy???   3/5  
dir-scr Brent Anbe
with Thea Matsuda, Tessie Magaoay, Cari Mizumoto, Michael Hsia, Kaui Kauhi, Vince K Shin, Kawena Chun
09/US 25m ajumma!
ajumma! "Ajumma" is slang for middle-aged, unmarried Korean women, and this Honolulu-set film is as deeply amateurish in its approach as the title suggests. But it's also disarmingly colourful and utterly ridiculous, so criticising it seems mean. Three ajumma (Matsuda, Magaoay and Mizumoto) who are obsessed with a hunky Korean soap-star (Hsia) visiting Hawaii to make a music video. Amid their Baywatch-infused fantasies, they stalk his every move, teaming up with a cheerful security guard (Kauhi) for help while contending against a skinny tart (Chun) for his attention. There isn't anything very clever going on here, but watching these three shameless Sex and the City-style slags lusting over a man they clearly have no chance of getting is sometimes rather funny. We of course know that there will be a big gay twist in the story, and thankfully filmmaker Anbe doesn't try to overegg it. At sitcom length, it's far too long, and high-volume dialog combined with lurid sets and settings wear us out early on. But the chaos is rather infectious and some of the characters actually come to life. Yes, it's very stupid. But it's also rather hilarious.

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