Perth’s Revelation Film Festival kicks off its 22nd
year on July 4th, with festivities running through til July 17th.
Over the two weeks of excitement and entertainment, there will be over 200 or
so sessions, with 144 films being screened, and a wealth of workshops and other
content running throughout the fest. With everything from VR sessions, to a
swag of free events – including talks with Adam Pearson, a panel on Indie
Aussie films, and a panel on Women in Film – there’s an exhaustive amount of
material to sift through and decide exactly what
So, with that in mind, I highly recommend grabbing a
highlighter, picking up a copy of the Rev booklet, and mark down what you
simply must get to during the fest. If you need a bit of a pointer, then I’ve
circled out ten films which are high on my ‘to see’ list for this years fest.
And, if you need a few more suggestions, then check out Xpress
Feeds lists too.
Revelation always brings a wealth of great Australian
content to the fest, and alongside top notch films like Maybe It’s Luck?, Cobby,
and Locusts, is director Lucy
Coleman’s feature debut film, Hot Mess.
Honest, hilarious, and pure entertainment, this is – to
quote myself – one of the best films of 2019. I’ve watched it twice
already, and I can’t wait to watch it a third time when it screens at the fest.
This one is one you’ll want to catch with a crowd thanks to the brilliant
comedic writing and powerful central performance from Sarah Gaul.
If Hot Mess makes
you laugh, then make sure to give International
Falls a watch. Tender and genuine performances from Rachael Harris and Rob
Huebel help make this story about a stand-up comedian who finds a unique bond
in the middle of frozen nowhere America. Amber McGinnis’ direction is superb,
managing to tease the human elements out of the laugh out loud comedy. This is
the kind of film that makes Revelation a treat to attend – you see these kind
of off kilter indie films that you’d never find anywhere else.
The Wind was
already high up on my list of ‘films I need to see right away’ – an American
western written and directed by women filmmakers, putting a gothic spin on the ‘life
at the homestead’ narrative. So rarely do we see 19th Century
Midwest America from the perspective of the women who had to stay home while
their gun-toting husbands went off into the nowhere to do whatever it is they
were doing, and The Wind looks like
the ideal film to explore that life within a genre framework.
I know little about the life of Marie Colvin – an iconic war
correspondent who witnessed the brutality of war in an intimate fashion. The
fact I know little about Colvin is reason enough for me to put Under the Wire on the list of films to
see at the festival. As the world becomes a more dangerous, war focused, battle
driven, place, we should be aware of the difficulties that war correspondents
face as they work to bring the atrocities of war to our attention.
At the 21st Revelation Film Festival, I saw one
of the most powerful Australian films I’d seen in years – Strange Colours.
I remember walking into the cinema knowing little about the film, and walking
out shaken by what I’d seen. With that in mind, I know little about I Go Further Under, other than that it’s
an Australian film that looks at an isolated island (De Witt island) off the
coast of an equally isolated island (Tasmania), focusing on the solitude that
such remoteness affords. I’m positively tingling with anticipation for this
Years ago, Revelation screened a documentary titled Yakona– a film about
the San Marcos river in Texas. It showed the life that thrived within the
river, with a whole ecosystem and world that existed because of the river. It’s
stuck with me longer than I ever expected it to, and it’s this reason alone
that Aquarela is on my list for this
years fest. Filmed at 96-frames-per-second, this is a documentary about the power
of water. This is the kind of film that you’d catch late night on SBS, wishing
you’d been able to see it on a big screen. Well, sure enough, you can do
exactly that at this years Revelation festival.
Growing up, I knew little about the world of jazz music
other than the fact that plenty seemed to disregard the genre of music because
of its feverish scattered nature. That in itself was what enticed me about jazz
– it’s free form, it’s free flowing, and it allows someone like Miles Davis to
express himself in unexpected, almost unbelievable ways. In the realm of music,
there are few artists as grand and powerful as Miles Davis, and this one off
screening of this documentary will no doubt provide a wealth of entertainment
for those of us who live for his music.
I know I keep bringing up films that I’ve seen at previous
Rev’s as a reason for putting this or that film on this list, but there’s a
reason for that – the curation of Revelation has continually worked as a ‘if
you like this, then you like that’ suggestion roll from festival to festival.
If you liked Yakona, you’ll like Aquarela. If you liked Assisted Living, then you’ll like International Falls. So, when I sat down
to watch Ulrich Seidl’s masterwork Safari in 2017, I did
so knowing that I was in good hands. The subject matter isn’t one that I’m
particularly interested in, but if Jack Sargeant and Richard Sowada say it’s worth
a look, then I’m going to give it a watch. So, on the basis of having seen and
loved Safari, I’m putting Stuffed onto my suggestions list. A
documentary about contemporary taxidermy, with the modern world of taxidermy given
a grand look into what’s possible with the art. On paper, this may not usually
be my thing, but I trust Jack and Richard, and that’s why I can’t wait to see Stuffed.
Buster Keaton is, arguably, one of the great cinematic
artists of all time. The General is a
propulsive, exhaustively entertaining, rollick of a film that thrives on the
frenetic energy of Keaton. The Great
Buster is directed by another cinematic great, Peter Bodganovich, who
brings a look at the comedy of Keaton through a wealth of interviews with
cinematic icons. It’s rare to get the opportunity to see Keaton’s work on the
big screen, and while this is a documentary about
Keaton, it’s your best chance to catch a glimpse of his breathtaking stunts
Director Penny Lane is no stranger to Revelation, with her
previous film Nuts! landing a few
years ago and surprising everyone with an off kilter look at American history.
On the basis of Nuts! (a doco about a
man who attempts to cure impotence by surgically implanting goat testicles into
the afflicted man – it gets weirder than that by the way), Hail Satan? is a must see. Lane turns her camera to the Satanic
Temple, no doubt delivering as deep a dive into the unexpected and weird as she
did with Nuts! Penny Lane’s work has
often been the sort of film that you watch and immediately rush out and tell
your friends about, and Hail Satan? looks
exactly like that. Enjoy.
Finally, for this years Revelation Film Festival, there are
a handful of science-fiction classic films getting a minor big screen revival –
with screenings of Alien,
Andromeda Strain, and Things
to Comejoining the New Zealand classic The Quiet Earth. Sure, the other films are well worth watching on
the big screen, but my tip is to catch the simply stunning, and unfairly
forgotten, The Quiet Earth. Focusing
on a man who wakes up in New Zealand, only to find that he’s the last man on
earth, this is a refreshing take on the apocalyptic world genre. There are
images in this film which will simply stun on the big screen – especially the
So that’s it! My picks for this years Revelation
Film Festival. The festival itself runs from July 4th through to
July 17th, so make sure to head along and catch a great film.
If you like what you see at the festival, make sure to
subscribe to the Revelation
Film Festival podcast, where I interview a few of the filmmakers whose
films are being screened at the festival.
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