8:00 PM, 26th April, 2008
It's 1907, and Dr. Plonk (the kind of scientist whose field of specialty is "Science") has a proof that the world will end in 2008. Despite writing out this proof with the requisite number of Greek letters and square root symbols, the statesmen of the day won't take him seriously ((ndash)) so in order to gather evidence that even the Prime Minister can't ignore, he builds a time machine, chiefly out of spare planks of wood.
At this point ((ndash)) if not long before ((ndash)) we start to lose sight of what exactly Dr. Plonk is trying to accomplish with all of this. But the film, an attempt to recreate silent-era comedy ((ndash)) even down to being shot on a hand-cranked camera ((ndash)) is really about what the director is trying to accomplish, which is to incorporate as much footage as possible of: (a) people falling over; (b) Dr. Plonk's lab assistant getting hit on the head; (c) Dr. Plonk's lab assistant about to be hit on the head; and (d) a cute terrier.
Is the silent comedy pastiche successful? Mostly. Although de Heer never builds to a hilarious peak the way Keaton or Chaplin or Harold Lloyd would have, the jokes are consistently funny. And it has the best silent-film musical accompaniment I've ever heard.
9:44 PM, 26th April, 2008
Last year wasn't the best for Australian films. There were plenty of good ones, but there was only one movie that really stood out as excellent... and that was Forbidden Lie$.
This documentary profiles Norma Khouri, best-selling author of the book Forbidden Love, an account of the murder of a Muslim woman by her family, an "honour killing". The events in the book, and the interviews with Khouri, shock us in that something this horrible could have happened. But then the filmmaker, Anna Broinowski, digs a little deeper into the story...
This is one of those rare documentaries that grips you from beginning to end. Khouri is a character we have all encountered in life ((ndash)) she is so convincing that you don't know when she is lying and when she is not. My opinion swayed so many times, I was totally befuddled towards the end!
The film involves interviews with reporters who first doubted her story, as well as other interesting viewpoints. There is also a trip to Jordan, where Khouri never fails to amaze with her revelations.
Forbidden Lie$ won most of the Best Australian Documentary awards on offer last year, and I think it would also do well at the Oscars if submitted. Don't miss the chance to meet this fascinating woman!