8:00 PM, 24th June, 2006
He makes people disappear." That was the tagline for this low-budget Aussie comedy/thriller from last year, and it goes some way to explain the relevance of the title to the story.
You see, the film revolves around a Melbourne hit man, Ray. Our insight into Rays life is presented to us as a pseudo-documentary - Ray has invited Max, a film student, to record his exploits, and we are watching the resultant film. (Very similar to Man Bites Dog, although not as graphic!)
It's not a mockumentary though (à la Best in Show and Spinal Tap). The humour doesn't come from sending up the characters and situations, but from the conversations and scenarios the characters find themselves in. In this regard, it's more closely related to Pulp Fiction and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The screenplay for The Magician was rejected by both private investors and the government film bodies, so Scott Ryan, who also stars as Ray, made it on a low budget, cut it down to half an hour, submitted it to the St. Kilda Film Festival, and finally got enough interest to get it distributed. The result is a hilarious black comedy that should not be missed.
9:25 PM, 24th June, 2006
Murderball' is the old, slang name for quadriplegic rugby played in wheelchairs. This documentary follows rival teams Canada and the USA in a fight for first place which leads up to the Athens 2004 Paralympics. The film provides backgrounds on the players, how they ended up in wheelchairs, and the role that this sport plays in their lives, as well as showing footage of the games, in which players tackle by ramming their wheelchairs into each other in an attempt to knock the opposition players off their wheels. Murderball does not attempt to evoke pity for its subjects, or to use them to promote a moral message. Instead, the filmmakers allow the individual team members' stories to unfold without judgment or expectation.Murderball was one of the favourite documentaries screened at Sundance 2005, where it was awarded the American Documentary Audience Award.