Sydney Film Festival – Day Five

Sydney Film Festival – Day Five. By Simon Miraudo.

According to Genesis, God spent the fifth day of existence creating all the birds and sea animals. That by itself is pretty impressive, but He didn’t stop there. He also instructed them to procreate. So, not only did He create life, but He taught it how to keep on creating life. It’s like that old saying: ‘Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a night. Teach a fish to make love to another fish, and you’ll eat for a lifetime’. On the fifth day of the 2011 Sydney Film Festival, I stayed in my pajamas until 2:30pm transcribing interviews. I may not work as fast as God, but I’m getting what needs to be done done. And hey, maybe if He hadn’t rushed so much – remember; He was working to His own deadline! – he could have taken his time designing the creatures. Perhaps then he would have realised that jellyfish weren’t such a great idea after all. They’re really a ‘first draft’ kind of animal, aren’t they?

Anyway, the point I wanted to make was that Day Five was really all about God, sex and animals, just as it was in Genesis.

Once I tired of my Howard Hawksian isolation, I hauled myself out of the hotel room for a late lunch and decided to take a walk around Sydney and see some of the sights. This came to an abrupt end when the first ‘sight’ I caught was of a homeless man handling himself in the street. I retreated to the cinema, where all nudity is at least kept within the confines of the screen (unless you count 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, and you really shouldn’t).

First up was the hilarious documentary Tabloid from director Errol Morris, which tells the stranger-than-fiction tale of former beauty queen Joyce McKinney. If you’re unfamiliar with Ms. McKinney, simply Google the following keywords: ‘Mormon’, ‘Sex Scandal’, ‘Kidnapping’, ‘S&M’, ‘Cloning’. McKinney became a tabloid star in England when she reportedly “abducted” her fiancé from his Mormon Church, took him to a Devon getaway and forced him to be her sex slave (believe me; this is just the start of it). Of course, that’s but one version of events. McKinney claims her partner was both in on it, and into it; reporters from competing rags The Daily Express and The Daily Mirror disagree. What’s most interesting about Tabloid is that it is based almost exclusively on the testimony of three totally untrustworthy subjects. Is at least one of the three telling the truth? Are all of them lying at different times? McKinney even acknowledges that some people lie for so long they begin to think it’s true. Errol Morris, for all his acclaim, has always fended of accusations that he is not an “objective documentarian” (which would be impossible to be anyway); he always makes his voice heard, his opinions known, and his films have even interfered with the course of his subjects lives. Tabloid is a nice commentary on his particular style of ‘truth-telling’ and objectivity. In the end, we’re all lying simply by telling our version of the truth.

(Side note: I caught Tabloid at the State Theatre; my first screening in the famed venue. It was truly lovely. That being said, the bathrooms use that old fashioned pulley-towel system instead of a hand dryer, or paper wipes. There is rustic, old school charm, and then there is just bad hygiene).

I opened this wrap-up with some God talk. I guess God has been on my mind these last few days, what with the wannabe-Gods in How to Start Your Own Country and Martha Marcy May Marlene, the religious undercurrent in Meek’s Cutoff, and all that Mormon talk from Tabloid. Perhaps the most explicitly God-centric film of the festival so far is End of Animal, the directorial debut of South Korean director Jo Sung-Hee. The film’s opening moments and basic premise is brilliant: a mysterious stranger hops into a taxi already inhabited by a young lady, and proceeds to tell his driver and fellow passenger intimate details about their personal lives. Then he begins counting down … what to, we don’t quite know. But when he reaches zero, the Earth shakes, and everything electrical stops working.  As is eventually revealed, we have witnessed The Rapture (in your face, Harold Camping!). The remaining inhabitants of the planet are truly the dregs of society. That is, except for that young woman in the taxi; big things are expected from her in this new world. Unfortunately, the pitch is far more interesting than the execution; End of Animal is not scary, confronting or thoughtful enough to do its monumental premise justice. I found the religious references rather on-the-nose (just because it’s aloof doesn’t mean it’s ambiguous). Meek’s Cutoff, also a road-movie/nihilistic religious parable, did it better.

Back in the hotel by 9:30pm, which means I managed to keep exposure to the outdoors down to a mere 7 hours (not including the 3 ½ hours in the cinema). That Howard Hawks really was onto something.


Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four

Discuss: And how was your day?

One Response to “Sydney Film Festival – Day Five”

  1. If you want to find out the TRUTH behnd the Making of Errol Morris’ trashy Porno-Doc, why don’t you arrange to interview Joyce McKinney herself? What you find out will shock you! (PS Her manager’s phone in America is [removed] and can arrange for you to talk with her.) And by the way, she was never even been CHARGED with raping the 300 pound 6’5″ Mormon–that’s just what Morris and his Mormon and tabloid rag mag cronies manipulate YOU into thinking….Miss McKinney has passed a lie deterctor test, and it is SHE who is telling the truth! Two of the men in the film have NEVER EVEN MET her so how could they be so bold as to pretend to “Tell the Joyce McKinney Story”? And besides, Errol Morris PAID them to tell their lies, (some “documentarian, huh?) and one of them (Kent Gavin) worked for a tabloid that paid her dog walker and his drug addicted girlfriend who needed dope money, to break into her apartment to steal photos in 1978, photos which Morris illegally used in 2010. Also, while Morris sneakily interviewed her for a non-existent Showtime TV series (they even gave her a fake contract) his producers ransacked her luggage and stole her photos, her family home movies, two film treatments, her baby pictures belonging to her parents, and even a two million dollar memorabilia collection documenting her famous love story. all the phots he had, he illegally used–even compositing her head on someone else’s naked body to make her appear naked! The police may be charging Morris’ producers with criminal charges for Theft and Fraud, (as well as possible obscenity charges in some states) and she is suing him in a Slander action for fifty million plus, in light of the mental trauma this sick perverted film caused her and her innocent family. Her family was very religious Christians, and were severely traumatized by these Hollywood hoodlums and their Porno-Doc, and her mother is now in a coma not expected to live due to a suicide attempt caused by the perverted media onslaught by Morris, his PR teams and his Mormon crones. Morris’ producer is a real scumbag who tried to put Joyce under duress to sign a paper absolving them of The Theft, and then arranged the murder of her beloved guide/mobility dog who was brutally and savagely choked after the producer paid a man $2,000 to arrange his savage death at a pound! Joyce, who is partially blind and now sixty years old and physically handicapped, is beside herself with grief over the loss of her service dog and the impending death of her mother combined with the media attack and this malicious Utah distributed film by Morris and his Mormon sourced cronies–the tabloids. He is as much an Exploiter of Joyce as THEY are! ERROL MORRIS film “TABLOID” is NOT the TRUE Joyce McKinney Story! And there’s more. Call her manager if you want to hear all about it….

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