Blue Valentine

Words by Bianca Castro

Blue Valentine follows an ordinary married couple, Dean Pereira (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy Heller (Michelle Williams) over a span of numerous years, showing the slow evolution of their marriage. Gosling and Williams are both fantastic in their field, and I was expecting great things when I watched the film. They did not disappoint and their acting was heartfelt and sincere.

The filming is close and intimate, almost uncomfortable at times and the relationship between Dean and Cindy seems genuine and, as an audience member, you follow them through their highs and lows. There are scenes that are so awkward you can’t help but squirm and the realism of their small family, the beginnings and the more evolved latter parts of their marriage is fantastic. The story, in true indie style, seems to simply depict snapshots of Dean and Cindy’s growth and their fast moving relationship; the flashbacks are filmed like memories and it’s all so convincing that you forget it’s a film and you live those moments right there with the characters.

The acting is of high quality, something to be expected from the likes of Gosling and Williams. Faith Wladyka who plays their daughter, Frankie is also excellent in her role; the three together are a match made in heaven. The relationship moves with a depressing realism: from idealistic beginnings to a slow failure. It shows what indie fans love, dramatic in the undramatic and Blue Valentine shows it fantastically.

It’s a great film and not the typical paint by numbers drama. It’s portrayal of Cindy and Dean’s ever changing relationship is tender and almost painful at times. The director and writer of Blue Valentine: Derek Cianfrance is able to portray the humble beginnings to the crumbling ends, the details are magnificent. The beauty is in the details of Blue Valentine. It’s a wonderfully touching, poignant film.

Sleeping Beauty Review

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

Silence. Sex. Rituals.

Those are the words which sum up this Australian erotic film, written and directed by Julia Leigh and is her directorial debut. The film stars Emily Browning as a young university student who perform as a special type of erotic service.

The film could be considered an independent film, we follow Lucy for almost the entirety of the film, we see her day to day life and there are only two instances of non-diegetic music in the film. Leigh certainly favours diegetic, real noises. It heightens the film, and the silence could echo the lonliness which the character feels, but never reflects.

It is extraordinary how drawn in to the film one becomes, Lucy is an incredibly complex character and the world which she inhabits is weird, claustrophobic, uncomfortable world. At times she is uncomfortable, but, maybe because of her ‘carefree’ life she will do anything to survive or live.

Browning excels as Lucy, perhaps best known for her role in Lemony Snicket’s Unfortunate Events as Violet Baudelaire certainly has guts to play this role, with many scenes in the nude and often uncomfortable scenes for all actors involved Browning certainly carries the film and creates a complex character.

The cinematography of the film is excellent, with numerous pans, and slow dissolves Leigh certainly puts a creative stamp on the film. What is more, the colour pallette for is bright, with pastel colours, bright whites and then stark blacks are used to create an underworld within the real world.

If you like a good independent film, I recommend you watch this.

Top 5: Indie films that you didn’t know were indie

  1. Grosse Pointe Blank – One of my favourite films from my youth. John Cusack plays an assassin attending his ten year high school reunion…standard stuff really…funny witty satire of his late 80s/early 90s cool school hero image.
  2. Memento – An epic film. Val Kilmer plays Leonard Shelby an ex-insurance investigator trying to find who murdered his wife but who is unable to form new memories. Two story lines play out one unfolding forward and one backwards which slowly uncovers the awesome twist.
  3. The Usual Suspects – Beautifully acted, engrossing plot, and another impressive twist. This film is pure class from start to finish. It has one of the most memorable dialogues of any film to date.
  4. Mad Max – Yes Mad Max was an indie film. George Miller, a medical doctor, teamed up with an amateur filmmaker Bryan Kennedy and first time screen writer James McCausland to create one of the most recognisable franchises that has ever been created. They took a budget of AUS$300,000 and it turned into a box office gross of $100,000,000.00
  5. Terminator – A shoestring budget, an inexperienced director and unknown lead actor. Under the exterior of special effects this film screams indie. James Cameron, on the verge of being fired from a terrible film about killer piranhas brings to life a vivid nightmare he had about an unstoppable metal assassin. Thus a new genre, iconic one-liners and some of the most memorable characters are born… not bad James.