Sydney Film Festival – Day Seven

Sydney Film Festival – Day Seven. By Simon Miraudo.

[The following conversation took place sometime between 10pm and 12am on the seventh day of the 2011 Sydney Film Festival, on a flight headed from Sydney to Perth. It is almost entirely verbatim].


“Is that you personal computer?”

“This? No, no, just an iPad.”

“It’s so small. Is it light?”

“Here [hands iPad over].”

“Wow. It’s so thin. Have you seen the Androids?”

“Not really. I’m not much of a tech head. I just … I write a lot, so I like having something handy nearby to use. And it’s fun.”

“What books do you write?”

“No, no; no books. I’m a film reviewer. I was just in Sydney for the film festival.”

“A film reviewer!”


“You don’t meet one of those every day.”

“Well, I have to live with myself, unfortunately, so I’m used to it.”

“What’s good that’s coming out?”

“Oh, ummm… I really enjoyed Bridesmaids; I think that comes out soon. Sorry, I’m drawing a bit of a blank; I’ve been in ‘Sydney Film Fest’ mode for a week, and seen a bunch of great movies that I’m having trouble recalling anything else that … exists in the real world.”

“What was the best thing you saw?”

“I’d have to say, a movie called Martha Marcy May Marlene. That was about, umm, a sex cult. It was good though.”

“And that was the best?”

“That I saw, at least. The festival is still going; I’m coming home now, but the fest runs until Sunday.”

“I’ll tell you my favourite films…”

“Oh, ok…”

“Because movies are such a personal experience. These are the movies that really [makes a fist and beats it against own heart].”

“Haha, great; so what are your favourites?”

“My favourite would have to be The Great Escape; Steve McQueen.”

“Nice one.”

“Another would have to be West Side Story. I remember first watching that, and that just [gestures openly, to evoke heart-growing]. Of course, there’s The Godfather trilogy, and … Last Tango in Paris… and another … oh, it’s on the tip of my tongue…”

“Another Brando?”

Mrs. Doubtfire.”


“That was such a wonderful movie. The way it combined femininity with love in the picturisation; the love he had for his ex-wife and the love he had for his kids. It was very powerful.”

“I think you might be the first person in the world to vehemently defend Mrs. Doubtfire, so good on you. [Pulls out a tissue and blows nose for an inordinate amount of time]. Ugh, I also got a bit of a cold while I was away.”

“Yeah, Mrs. Doubtfire. Also … is it called The Running Man?”

“With Schwarzenegger?”

“No, with Tom Hanks.”

“Ah, Forrest Gump.”

“That’s right.”

“Right … close!”

“Haha, not quite.”

“It’s so funny. I’ve been in Sydney for the past week, and I’ve interviewed a lot of filmmakers and actors, and I’ve been asking for their five favourite films. I’m glad I got to hear yours too.”

“Which celebrities did you interview?”

“Well, today I interviewed Lucy Liu for Kung Fu Panda 2, as well as Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed it. And they both mentioned Drunken Master in their favourite movies list.”

“Uh huh.”

“I also interviewed some filmmakers: Miranda July, Joshua Marston, Athina Tsangari. Also, Aussie actress Rachael Blake. They had some good lists. Blade Runner was popular.”

“You know I’ve never seen Blade Runner. Or, The Matrix.”

“Well, they’re both great.”

“Do you watch many Hindi movies? Bollywood?”

“I used to go to the Bollywood festival in Perth every year; catch a few films. I haven’t done it in years, but I used to love it. They’re very long though.”

“Back in India, those movie stars are treated like Gods. We have a culture of Gods, and these days, the actors fill those spaces. It’s amazing.”

“Amazing. Scary. Same diff, I guess.”

“Are your reviews published in print, or online?”


“The full effect of online … we haven’t even seen it yet. As popular as it is – Facebook, Twitter – we can’t even comprehend how far we have to go. There are just so many people out there.”

“Yes, and they’re all very passionate about movies. Sometimes frighteningly so.”

“[Chuckles] Movies are very personal, like I said. People don’t like hearing that what they love isn’t loved by everyone.”

“It seems that way.”

“But you’ve got to stand by your convictions. You have to be able to say, “**** it, this was ****.”

“…right, well, I try not to swear in my reviews…”

“No, no, but you know what I mean. People will respect you if you stick to your guns and say what you feel. They’ll think, ‘I disagree with everything you said, and I don’t like your opinion, but I respect you’.

“Well, that’s why a festival is great, and attending the Sydney festival really was great. You get to see cinemas filled with hundreds and hundreds of people who love film; hundreds and hundreds of people who are there to see a Spanish black comedy, or a new documentary. And everyone loves talking about them, and arguing about them – in a good way – and you get to see opinions on Twitter and Facebook…It’s really, really wonderful.”

“Well, keep going with it then. I realised too late in my life that you can’t be too concerned about what other people think; whether you have the right material possessions, and iPads. The only thing that matters is your voice, and your opinion, and love, and that love for film, and talking about it with others is so great.”

“I agree. Absolutely.”

“All right.”

“[Laughs] Thanks. And thank you for the pep talk, too!”


“…, I’m probably going to get back to [gestures at book]-”

“-The thing with the internet is that, for all its awesome power of connectivity, it just doesn’t match the power of human touch.”

[The remainder of this conversation is unpublishable].


Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six

Discuss: Thank you to the gentleman on the flight, and thank you to the town of Sydney for having me. Of course, our festival coverage is far from over – we’ve still got plenty of interviews and reviews for you over the next few days. Be sure to let us know what you’ve enjoyed at the fest so far!

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