7:30 PM, 30th May, 2014
Short Term 12 is one of the best films of 2013. The story is original and smart, and tears the audience from emotional highs to lows at breakneck pace.
Grace (Larson) is a supervisor at a short term foster-care facility for troubled teenagers. Along with her long-term boyfriend Mason (Gallagher Jr), and the other carers at the facility, they struggle alongside children facing all manner of psychological, emotional, personal and family problems. As they console and care for the kids, they also face their own demons; particularly reflected in 18-year-old Marcus, who is soon to leave the centre, and new arrival Jayden, whose problems reflect Grace’s own.
The film is wonderful for its performances, especially Larson as the passionate, stubborn and sometimes rash Grace. It is wonderfully executed with great camerawork, cinematography, editing and lighting. Most of all, it is wonderful for the way that all of these technical aspects work together to let us in to the headspace of the characters.
At its heart, Short Term 12 is a film about people: people at their most raw, coping with insecurities, possibilities, frustration and triumph that comes in waves of tempestuous magnitude and baffling unpredictability. Day by day, they work through their struggles, as life pushes them this way and that. They soldier onward.
9:13 PM, 30th May, 2014
This semester we are offering you an opportunity to compare two very different films looking at a similar story – the hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates. Elsewhere you can read about the big budget Hollywood film Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks based on the true story of a US vessel.
A Hijacking, from Denmark with subtitles and also inspired by real events, tells the story of the taking of a Danish freighter and the subsequent interaction and negotiations between the crew, the pirates, the owners and the families. Somehow I found this film more realistic, more believable, more interesting and ultimately a better film than Captain Phillips.
Fans of the TV series “Borgen” will not be surprised at how strong this film is. They share the talents of actors Pilou Asbæk and Søren Malling. The emphasis here is much more personal – how the characters deal with the pressure, with the slow passage of time.
When you learn that the first demand from the hijackers is for a ransom of $15,000,000 and the response is just $250,000, it is not surprising that the process takes about six months to resolve. Watch the tensions and the frustrations rise. Observe how the corporate world balances the value of the boat and the crew in ‘the deal’. Compare the endings.
This was another great success at the Canberra International Film Festival 2013. See if you agree.