OZ NOIR KICKS OFF PIFAN

Kicked off my film watching activities here at Pifan with a new Digibeta feature by Australian Jon Hewitt. Last year, I reviewed his previous film Acolytes for Variety. It was a convincing chiller about some teenagers who stake out a suspected serial killer’s house (me: I spent my adolescent summers going to the movie repertory houses. The combination of Ingmar Bergman and air conditioning beating out most activities by a country mile). Given that after distributor Palace Films had lowered their level of support to the point where Hewitt was releasing Acolytes by himself, I was kind of surprised that he had time to make another film. Darklovestory (no spaces, no commas) is listed on imdb.com as a 2006 venture, but the version here is clearly not finished as it is without a full credit list. Co-written by and featuring Belinda McClory as reformed prostitute Gretchen alongside Aaron Pederson as her down and desperate boyfriend Gil, the film is well worth seeking out (or finishing if you happen to be reading this Jon). A stylish blend of artiness and gritty film noir has just the right touch of James Ellroy to pass as an authentic Australian film noir. Very pleasant surprise.

I WAS DARCY PAQUET’S GAY LOVER

Very tabloid of me I know. But I can explain. I was wandering back from Between the Knees a rather confronting, though undeniably erotic film from PiFan’s Urban Erotica 80s Korean retrospective, when renowned Korean film specialist Darcy Paquet telephoned my companion of the moment Stephen Cremin of Udine’s Far East Film Festival. After a few ‘uh-uhs’ and ‘hmmms’, Cremin said, ‘Russell’s here – maybe he could help’. A quick chat had Darcy revealing he was acting in a film a block away and needed  someone to pose as his ‘longtime companion’ in a photograph for the film. Twenty minutes later, Darcy and I were stripped to the waist, cheek to cheek lying on a bed in a Bucheon love hotel enjoying each other’s company with only a ten person film crew to cheer us on as we smiled into a mobile phone camera. All in a day’s work.

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