6:00 PM, 21st October, 2012
** DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL, THIS FILM WILL NOW BE SCREENED ON SUNDAY 21 OCTOBER AT 6 PM. FOR MORE DETAILS, CLICK http://www.anufg.org.au/read/8218/screening-change-polisse-red-state-now.html[HERE]. **
Polisse - which uses an intentionally child-like, French spelling of 'police' - takes a fascinating look into the professional and personal lives of the men and women that comprise a Parisian police department's Child Protection Unit. Told from the point of view of a photojournalist assigned to document the unit, the film uncovers the City of Light's tough, dark underbelly as well as the profound impact that unspeakable crimes can have on those tasked with investigating them, many of who are enduring crises of their own. For these dedicated cops, the daily grind consists of dealing with all manner of crimes against, and perpetrated by, minors: everything from underage pickpocketing to child molesters, to abusive parents and the never-ending excesses of teen sexuality (and that's on a good day). What would be an unimaginable ordeal for most is just a day in the life for the tight-knit team, who rely on each other to diffuse the realities of their days with solidarity, humour and the occasional breakdown.
Despite the constant flurry of harrowing, unflinching crimes featured in Polisse, it's the motley crew of cops that is ultimately the film's highlight - which is more than one can usually say for procedural police dramas of this ilk and their case-of-the-week predilection. As a result, what begins as a patchwork of unrelated cases (all based on real investigations) ends up becoming much, much more: a confronting, challenging, powerfully thought-provoking film that will surprise, move, and stay with you long after you've left the theatre.
8:00 PM, 21st October, 2012
** DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL, THIS FILM WILL NOW BE SCREENED ON SUNDAY 21 OCTOBER AT APPROXIMATELY 8:15 PM. FOR MORE DETAILS, CLICK http://www.anufg.org.au/read/8218/screening-change-polisse-red-state-now.html[HERE]. **
In the 90s (the glorious 90s), I was a Kevin Smith geek. I was impressed with his debut Clerks (a quintessential 90s slacker movie if there ever was one), had fun with Mallrats and absolutely fell in love with Chasing Amy, given that it addressed many issues that I was dealing with at the time (I almost felt like I was Holden McNeil... although I never dated a lesbian). Then Smith started to make less-engaging movies: on second viewing, Dogma was less spectacular once you got over the anti-religious wordplay, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl and Clerks 2 just felt like he was resting on laurels and going through the motions. Then came the execrable Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and I declared that the Kevin Smith I knew and loved no longer existed.
But along came Red State, and I started rejoicing and declaring that Kevin Smith was BACK, BABY!
This horror-cum-thriller-cum-action-cum-political movie, with heavy doses of humour all the way through, is Smith trying something different... and succeeding. The movie itself (about teenage boys who are captured and tortured by extreme religious fundamentalists) is unlike most other movies on this semester's programme. With endless quotable dialogue, an Oscar winning actor (Leo), a wonderful performance by Michael Parks as the pastor, and indictments against almost everybody (from incompetent left-wing government agencies to right-wing religious nutjobs), this is Smith's best film to date! Welcome back, sir, we missed you so much!