This is a grumble post.
This was probably the most disappointing Sydney Film Festival I've known. There's a new woman in charge of picking films, and she didn't do a terrible job - the films weren't awful - it's just that none of them were great. Especially the films shown at the delicious State Theatre. Film after film of art-house-lite. Decent enough for passing the time of retired public servant types, looking for a way to pass some hours with something neither too dumb or too challenging. Unexceptional low-key dramas, and unambitious docos. 2 weeks of them.
Got me wondering whether the woman in charge can truly be a lover of films? Maybe she just 'likes' them. Would partly explain her taste for worthy brown-bread PC-fare, with little emphasis on anything truly outstanding.
For the first time I've known, there was NO silent film. So sad.
There seemed to be almost nothing american on the menu. I wonder if this was intentional? (last year the US gave us some of the best festival films - like United 93, An Inconvenient Truth, and Little Miss Sunshine).
And the couple of more 'colourful' films I could see on the program were in the smaller theatres on George St, where they quickly sold out (too quickly for me to see them).
Also, the new 'ideas' seemed to have ideological rather than artistic purpose - lame kids films, a group of films specifically dealing with people with disabilities, and supposedly feel-good music docos (such as a reportedly unimpressive hula film being followed by hula dancing lessons).
So that's my whinge.
I'd like her to go.
But as far as I could tell people still turned up, so if their box-office takings were okay she'll probably return next year.
The only positive things I could say are that I'm pleased they showed some old John Huston films (saw The Dead, The Misfits, and The Man Who Would Be King on the big screen), and that maybe some of the films I missed might have changed my opinion. But what I saw was nothing to blog about.