The sixth day of fest was a fuller day than Sunday and no sleep-in and no lazy breakfast. Alas, woe is me. Once more we made the trek to the Art Gallery of NSW for two more films from Kurosawa. I gotta say I am particularly enamoured with the seats though they are cushioned but they’re not really suited for my usual film-watching slouch…and you did need to develop a slouch to be able watch films from the front row. First cab of the rank and one of Kurosawa’s that I think I have seen before, The Hidden Fortress (Japan), which in turn inspired George Lucas to go on and “create” Star Wars. This was very good and there were many similarities between the two movies though they differ somewhat too.
Following on from this was Yojimbo (Japan) and while it can be argued that Fortress inspired Star Wars, the comparison between Yojimbo and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars is not quite so pleasant with the latter being a faithful reproduction of the former…without acknowledgement, no doubt assuming that audiences wouldn’t notice. Yojimbo is the tale of a mercenary samurai (read Gunslinger in American movies) who enters a town at the mercy of feuding gangs and ultimately plays each off against the other. Like Fortress, this is more action oriented with plenty of fights and encounters to maintain the excitement.
The third movie was Manifesto (Germany),starring Cate Blanchett and Cate Blanchett and Cate Blanchett…and a few more iterations of Cate Blanchett…all up she plays 13 different roles throughout this movie covering and portraying, a broad range of artistic manifestos. I liked the idea of it and it was visually sumptious and intelligently done but at the same time it was a wee bit exhausting and it would have been nice to have sort of guide, or even chapter headings, as to the manifesto being represented. Some I was familiar with, some I lost track of, and may have nodded off to sleep once or twice or two…though that’s more filmfest exhaustion rather than a reflection on the film. Part of me, would have liked to see it more as a series of short films, not viewed at the same time. Heathen that I am.
Final movie of the night was a documentary on Johnny Rotten and Public Image Ltd, The Public Image is Rotten (USA). This charts Johnny and the development of Public Image Ltd (PiL) from the end of the Sex Pistols to present day and as Johnny comments early on, he’s one of those people who refuses to go away. I remember liking Sex Pistols back in the day and while I didn’t get into them, I was also fond of PiL, and am somewhat surprised at how many songs in the doco were familiar. While I enjoyed seeing all the old clips, listening to the sounds and interviews, at the same time I was little disappointed that it was such an old school, standard rockumentary for a band and a guy that were anything but standard and ultimately it was a little unsatisfying.