Back for the 19th year, the Revelation Perth International Film Festival this year boasts 143 films, 14 world premieres and 42 Australian premieres. Featuring a retrospective on Jim Henson, Muppets, Music & Magic: The Jim Henson Legacy, it’s impossible to pick just a handful, right?
In the tradition of Internet click-bait lists, we’ve attempted to do just that. The selection below is a hand-picked collection 10 films we recommend, based totally on our own biases. Feel free to share your own attendee lists and thoughts in the comments below. Or just buy tickets if you prefer. The Rev Fest this year is an eclectic collection of films that would just as happily sit in an underground film festival as they would in a mainstream one, covering the essential areas between political documentaries and goat testicles.
THE WHISPERING STAR
Japanese director and avant garde artist Sion Sono is someone we absolute adore at The Reel Bits, with his taste-pushing and overindulgent forays into sex and violence (Guilty of Romance) or more character-focused studies (Himizu). Indeed, credited with 6 feature films in 2015 alone, we wonder if he ever stops making movies. This time he delves into science-fiction territory, following a woman whose job it is to deliver parcels to distant human outposts. Shot in stark black and white, the devastated area of Fukushima doubles as the alien landscapes in the lo-fi sci-fi flick. An incredibly unique experience.
SWISS ARMY MAN
Paul Dano dragging the bloated and farting corpse of Harry Potter through the wilderness is a vision that speaks to the strength of the independent film scene at the moment. A film that will take a little time to digest for some, while for others it will soar majestically, like so many jet-propelled bodies. A strangely touching musing on depression and disorder, it led to some walkouts at Sundance when it screened earlier this year, but nevertheless won the Directing Prize for Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (who are simply known as DANIELS collectively), best known for their music videos for the likes of The Shin’s “Simple Song,” Battles “My Machines,” several Foster the People tracks. Check out the trailer below, or better yet, don’t watch it and discover what this film is about as it goes. Full Review >>
A highlight from the recent Sydney Film Festival, this gives the west coast an opportunity to see it on the big screen. Transplanting J.G. Ballard’s 1970s treatise on modernism, Ben Wheatley’s adaptation is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Hiddleston comes into the film as a detached creature already, his stiff upper-lip Britishness contrasting with his bemused observations of the rich. In fact the whole cast is excellent (a veritable who’s who of British cinema, with Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss on board), especially Evans’ primal turn as the only voice of reason. As global politics increasingly divide rich and poor, and these structures are now commonplace, Ballard’s tale has even more weight than it did forty years ago. Full Review >>
MAPPLETHORPE: LOOK AT THE PICTURES
Artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is best known for his erotic photography, shot almost exclusively in black and white, including various topics that were seen as taboo in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the gay S&M underground in New York. More than that, he was known for treating his subjects with respect and taking an artistic rather than pornographic approach. This documentary from directors Bailey and Barbato (Inside Deep Throat, producing RuPaul’s Drag Race) features interviews with Debbie Harry, Fran Lebowitz, and Brooke Shields to name a few.
(Sorry, couldn’t resist. Here’s the real trailer).
The pitch for this documentary is that it’s about “an eccentric genius who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station.” Coming from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for editing, this curious entry from from Penny Lane (Our Nixon) is a mixture of talking heads and animation, like the most bizarre stories from Drunk History you are likely to find.
US politics is in sharp focus at the moment, thanks to the pending elections, but former US Senator Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger) became most famous for his penis. Primarily because he kept sending pictures of it to people. Resigning from office in 2011 due to a ‘sexting’ scandal, and unsuccessfully running for mayor in 2013, he was the butt of jokes on the talk show circuit for months. Tracing his last mayoral campaign, this fly-on-the-wall doco from Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinbergwon U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival this year as well.
LOUIS THEROUX: MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE
Not the first, and probably not the last, documentary on Scientology, wry British investigator Louis Theroux’s documentary doesn’t quite try and cover the same ground as the excellent Going Clear. Not having much luck in gaining interview access to anyone inside the church, the film instead becomes a documentary about attempting to make a documentary. Plus, if you see this in Perth, you also get to beat MIFF to the punch, as they’ve scheduled it for the end of the month. Take that, Melbourne! (Psst…we love you, Melbourne. See you soon!)
DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III
Fans of 1980s horror films won’t want to miss this one. For everyone else, the title alone should serve as the primary incentive to viewing this straight-up parody of 80s slasher flicks. With guest appearances from Patton Oswalt, Andrew WK, and Greg Sestero (from the cult classic The Room), what began life as a fake trailer and Kickstarter campaign turns the genre on its head by making men the victims of the killer. You will believe this was a lost and found classic. (Pro-Tip: Don’t go looking for the first two entries).
Coming straight out of SxSW, Zach Clark’s (White Reindeer) latest is about a young nun (Addison Timlin) and former goth returning to her home in North Carolina to make amends with her estranged family. Technically a period piece, set during the 2008 election of US President Barack Obama, look out for the always sensational Ally Sheedy as the mother.
Chemsex is the name given to the “rising” phenomenon which refers to the use of drugs in a sexual context. “Rising” at least as far as VICE, the producers of this documentary, are concerned, although as studies show, it has been a problem for decades. Examining the cycle of drug and sex dependence that arises from days of chemically fueled orgies, the film was directed and produced by William Fairman and Max Gogarty for Vice Media.
Full schedules and tickets for Revelation Perth International Film Festival are available at revelationfilmfest.org. It runs from 7 – 17 July 2016 at various locations in Perth. Follow along with the conversation using the hashtag #RevFest.