8:00 PM, 2nd April, 2004
Edward Bloom (Finney) has a million stories about his youth, full of fantastic creatures, people and places. His son, Will (Crudup) doesn't believe a word of them, and finds it embarrassing to be anywhere near his father and his ridiculous stories. However, with Edward dying of cancer, Will comes back home to try to find out the truth about his father's life. Big Fish doesn't come out in Australia until after the publication deadline, so, since the Film Group doesn't seem to believe in free overseas junkets for reviewers (cheap-ass bastards, the lot of 'em), all I can do is mention that a lot of critics think this is one of the best films of 2003, managing the difficult task of being uncynical without being saccharine, and represents a new high-watermark in Tim Burton's directing career. With a fantastic cast list highlighted by Ewan McGregor as the younger Edward Bloom, I'm certainly looking forward to it.
9:00 PM, 2nd April, 2004
The Spanish Apartment is a comedy for the emerging European "melting pot". A French student, Xavier (Duris), uncertain of his career choices, signs up with the Erasmus exchange programme to learn Spanish. He leaves behind his girlfriend, Martine (Tautou of Amelie), and travels to Barcelona. At the airport he befriends a newlywed couple, a neurologist and his wife Anne-Sophie. His search for accommodation is difficult, but eventually he is accepted in a group house with six other exchange students from different parts of Europe: a fastidious English girl, a messy Italian, a lesbian Walloon from Belgium, a studious German, a quiet Dane and his Spanish girlfriend. Fluent in two or three languages, the students communicate with whatever language happens to be common between those who are present, which is often English, though this doesn't help when one of the professors of the university chooses to lecture in Barcelona's native language of Catalan with which the students are not familiar. Complications arise when Xavier becomes estranged from Martine and commences a torrid affair with Anne-Sophie (after some tips from Isabelle, the lesbian housemate, on how to seduce women successfully). The Spanish Apartment was last year's winner at the Sydney Film Festival.