7:30 PM, 29th September, 2017
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CONFLUX: CANBERRA SPECULATIVE FICTION CONFERENCE
Along with “The Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter” and “Game of Thrones”, Stephen King’s best-selling eight book opus is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential fantasy works of the modern era. So it should come as no surprise that a cinematic adaptation has been in the works for over a decade – and, at long last, it has arrived.
This gritty Western adventure/fantasy follows Jake Chambers (Taylor), an 11-year-old adventure seeker, who is spirited away to an alternate dimension. There, he encounters The Gunslinger – Roland Deschain (Elba) – who roams an Old West-like landscape in the hope of preserving his dying world by finding the mythical Dark Tower, a nexus point between time and space that holds the multiverse together. But his quest is complicated by a vicious sorcerer known as The Man in Black (McConaughey), who is hot on the Gunslinger – and now also Jake’s – trail.
Because of its revered cult status, there are exceptionally high expectations of The Dark Tower. Working in its favour is the magnificent screen presence of Elba and McConaughey, whose on-screen rivalry for the ages makes this the incredible epic that King’s opus deserves.
9:15 PM, 29th September, 2017
In the near future Jiang Fen (Huang) is an author with a successful career, but an unsuccessful personal life. Upon breaking up with his wife, he had the memories of his painful marriage surgically removed, but the ensuing messy divorce has led to him having to have those memories copied back into his mind.
As if that wasn’t enough of a hassle, making matters worse, a mix up at the lab has the memories of a serial killer copied into his mind instead. Before he knows it, Jiang is drawn into a police investigation into crimes that he can recall every detail of, save for one crucial element: the identity of the perpetrator. Or so he hopes, at least, as he’s beginning to have trouble telling which memories are his own.
Taiwanese director Leste Chen has flip-flopped between the thriller and romance genres in his films to date, and has made one that manages to cover both quite well here (albeit at the bitter end of the latter). The production values are Hollywood-grade but the story is both clever and original in ways that Hollywood seems no longer capable of. This stylish sci-fi thriller was deservedly a smash at the box office in China and Taiwan, and deserves to be discovered by an international audience before its inevitable remake in the West.