Biutiful by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and starring Javier Bardem resonates with some critics here but polarises others. Outrage has also not had good reviews with some critics scratching their heads about the competition lineup. Yet the Japanese appreciate it so is it Westerner’s not understanding?

There is still no standout film although some say Poetry is Chang-dong’s best work. It is anyone’s comp at this stage. Sadly Jean-Luc Godard is unwell and will not be attending Cannes for his Film Socialisme – crushed doesn’t cut it. The film’s press conference has been cancelled. Australian distributor Madman Entertainment have picked up the rights to Im Sang-soo’s The Housemaid. The film is already a box office hit in Korea.

Had lunch with Tracey Mair who is here for The Tree and our Publicity Consultant for APSA. Discussed biz and had a good laugh. The Chairman and I walked the pavilions today. Met with the Jordanian film commission (our Official Submitting Organisation who has a feature to submit this year), Liban Cinema Fondation (Lebabon), the Turks (walking away with loads of screeners – these guys make a lot of films!! And I haven’t gone back to talk and get documentary screeners yet) and then on to meet with Katriel Schory, Executive Director of Israeli Film Fund and our submitting organisation for Israel. Very erudite and charming man who has close relationships with Australia. We can expect titles from this organisation to represent Israel this year. Making films in this country is not easy.

The energy here seems to have picked up with mini majors and indies inking deals. Several Australian producers have come away with deals today so it’s all smiles on the Ceroisette. Met with Ramy Choi from Jackie Chan Theater and picked up a children’s film contender I Kalam from I-Dream productions, India.

My favourite part of the day was meeting second generation Iraqi Haider Rashid. Born in Italy and based in London, Rashid has written and directed his first feature Tangled Up In Blue (yes, a Bob Dylan reference). This is a young man who loves and identifies strongly with music. My kind of guy. This film won the award for best film in Official Competition at the 2010 Gulf Film Festival. Jazz composition throughout is by a twenty-something Australian jazz composer/musician Tom Donald.

Excerpt from the directors notes:

“I was brought up in a complex, although comfortable, environment; a bizarre mixture:  Italian/Iraqi. The film started as a simple story of love and solitude and then moved along to a more personal and unique layer, belonging to my upbringing and memories. Exile is induced in a family; it’s rooted in its mentality and behaviour; it influences its children’s future, for good or ill. A country that is lost for the parents becomes a dream for their children; a dream that no matter how much they try to re-live and regain will never come true:  the dream of a lost country.”

Haider talked jazz with me and put me on to Eric Mingus, son of Charlie Mingus. Gold! Can’t wait to hear the sound. Music, like film, brings cultures together. Music and film together is an unbeatable combination.


APSA Chairman Des Power, filmmaker Haider Rashid and his father, Director of the Dubai International Film
Festival’s Arab Program, Erfan Rashid

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