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REVTROSPECTIVE Rev Film Fest’s Top 5 for 2018

As the end credits roll on the last few films, X-PRESS writers DAVID O’CONNELL, DAVID MORGAN-BROWN, Q and HARVEY RAE takes a look back at this year’s Revelation Perth International Film Festival. With hundreds of screenings and all manner of shows outside the cinema, it was impossible to see them all, but damn if we didn’t try. Here are the Top 5 films and events that were standouts for us.

Honourable Mentions: Skate Kitchen, Studio 54, Sickies Making Films, McKellen: Playing the Part, Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion and Disco.

5. ROCKABUL

Ever had to literally put your life on the line for your art? Five young musicians did exactly that when they formed Afghanistan’s first ever heavy metal band in 2010. RocKabul follows the rise and fall of the band District Unknown against a background of war during a brief period of slight civil freedom in Kabul. It’s a behind-the-scenes view into an alternative reality where putting on a music festival means dodging power outages, hostile townsfolk, the police and bombings. RocKabul is as important as a music doco as it is to telling the story of our modern times and the people affected by recent, and ongoing, war.

4. TERROR NULLIUS

Mad Max, Skippy, Pricisilla – nothing is safe from the “renegade archivists” as they take aim at Australian cinema. Sacred cows are tipped as Soda_Jerk de-constructs (and reconstructs) the mythology of Australia, through both cinema and politics. The result is a screamingly funny, iconoclastic roller-coaster ride that cuts very close to the bone. Step back though and you can also just admire the craft that went into Terror Nullius, as hundreds of segments of Australian film and TV are stitched back to create something vibrant and new.

3. REV MUSIC DAYS feat AMYL & THE SNIFFERS, RACKETT and more

How good is it seeing Rev creating more of a winter festival vibe by adding things like Dark Mofo side shows to its music program? Pick of the bunch was the Amyl & the Sniffers/ Rackett double bill across two shows last weekend. The opportunity to see two bands from such different worlds, both yet to release an album and both among the hottest names in Australia right now, was a credit to the team at Rev. Check out our review of the show.

Amyl and The Sniffers

2. McQUEEN

A showcase of the wonderful and groundbreaking fashion work of designer Alexander Lee McQueen, whose runway spectacles were less of a regular fashion show and more of an art exhibition. The young and ambitious McQueen comes across as very ordinary, yet likeable, but his darkly grandiose fashion performances were a reflection of his increasingly troubled psyche. McQueen dedicates most of its time presenting these incredible dresses and works of art, but there are also the interviews with his close friends who reveal how McQueen felt about his sudden fame in the fashion world and his failed willingness to fit into that world.

1. YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

This is one of those films that comes along rarely and utterly floors you. Reminiscent of Taxi Driver in both  its subject matter and its empathetic portrayal of a violent outsider, You Were Never Really Here is a stunning piece of film making. Joaquin Phoenix’s consummate performance as the broken and damaged Joe is riveting, but this is just one trick in this film’s arsenal. Director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) creates something that is both beautiful and brutal – often simultaneously. Hence You Were Never Really Here leaves audiences drained from the emotional experience, but immensely satisfied with the journey.

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