Film Screening 17th September, 2011

Poster for Inside Job

Inside Job  

8:00 PM, 17th September, 2011

  • PG
  • 108 mins
  • 2010
  • Charles Ferguson
  • Chad Beck,  Adam Bolt, Charles Ferguson
  • Matt Damon (narrator)

'The film that cost over $20,000,000,000,000 to make' is the tagline for this documentary about the Global Financial Crisis, and the winner of this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Andrew Denton once presented a popular interview show entitled "Enough Rope". This was a reference to the old proverb, 'Give a man enough rope and he will hang himself'. And the 'Enough Rope' principle is very effectively used in this documentary, with the film's (unseen) director, Charles Ferguson, constantly eliciting self-incriminating statements from his interviewees. In the United States, unlike in Australia, university professors freely flit between academia and political appointments or consultancies. And one of the film's great pleasures is watching such academics fail to adequately answer questions about whether any conflicts of interest might arise. Indeed, one made a revealing Freudian slip, first answering 'No comment', before correcting his response to 'No conflict'.

Of added piquancy is an interview with the then Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. DSK's current problems with the American legal system are ironically complimentary to the key point of Inside Job: that none of the plutocrats responsible for the Global Financial Crisis have yet faced any criminal charges stemming from their involvement in said crisis.

One comforting thought, however, is that French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde was recently named as DSK's successor. In her interview in this film, she enunciates this promising statement of principle: 'The financial industry is a service industry. It should serve others before it serves itself'.

Richard Hills

Poster for A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (三枪拍案惊奇)

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (三枪拍案惊奇) 

10:03 PM, 17th September, 2011

  • M
  • 90 mins
  • 2009
  • Zhang Yimou
  • Jianquan Shi,  Jing Shang
  • Dahong Ni,  Ni Yan, Xiao Shen-Yang

Chinese blockbuster director Zhang Yimou raised more than a few eyebrows when he announced to the world that his next film, after directing the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, would be a remake of the Coen Brothers' debut feature Blood Simple, transposing the neo-noir setting to that of a wushu screwball comedy and budgeted at a fraction of the amount he usually commands.

The gambit certainly paid off domestically, as it was one of the biggest hits of the 2009 Christmas period in China, but failed to garner the international attention that many of Zhang's other films have. The main reason it failed to do so is pretty straight-forward, though unfortunate: this film is not at all what you would expect from the director of Zhang's previous films; be they the more serious dramas, comedies or the wushu epics. A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop is almost surreal and, to put it mildly, bat-scat crazy (in a good way) for the duration.

The film tells of a noodle shop owner's attempt to hire a shifty local policeman to kill his wife and her lover, who also happens to be his employee. Following the plot of the Coens' original reasonably closely, the film quickly descends into the usual black everybody-comes-worse-off spiral, albeit punctuated by some oddly fitting slapstick and featuring the vivid super-saturated colour palette that many of Zhang's films are known for.

While there is no doubt that A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop is an oddity, it is still ultimately a mighty entertaining oddity.

Adam Gould