Southampton International Film Festival Day 3: Documentaries

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Day two of the Southampton International Film Festival was screened both at the Nuffield Theatre and at a venue in the city. With all of the screenings happening at the same time, I was unfortunately only able to see what one venue had to present. The Nuffield Theatre on Highfield Campus was hosting the festival’s numerous documentaries, so here is an overview of what was on offer

No Apologies ★★★☆☆

Nominated for Best Documentary, No Apologies charts the rise of two Australian girls from Aboriginal backgrounds to representing Australia in the football World Cup finals. What I found most interesting about this piece was Aboriginal people’s apparent absence from Australian culture. Any information concerning Aboriginal culture does not appear to be widely available. The two girls who are the subjects of this film are the first two women to ever play football for Australia on an international level. However, whilst the film does consider the wider social relevance of the girls’ achievement, it is more about their own personal journeys. Personally I would have liked to have seen if their achievement had a wider social impact. But overall, an enjoyable film about the power of determination and the will to succeed.

Morfar och jag och hellkoptern till himlen ★★★★☆

Translating approximately to Grandpa and Me and a Helicopter to Heaven, this Swedish short narrative documentary was very moving. An elderly man in the last days of his life goes on a last adventure with his grandson, and before our very eyes we see the role of adult carer and child dependent completely switch. Interspersed with flashbacks to a happier time, we see the grandson getting his grandfather out and about, preparing his meal, and making his final wish come true. A truly heartwarming tale about love and loss.

Social Business ★★☆☆☆

This documentary was unnecessarily long. The film expresses the merits of social business models and uses the business Cambolac as its main case study. Quite frankly, this piece seemed more suited to the final segment of Russell Howard’s Good News in which a brief segment is offered to show someone in the world doing something good for a community. This film’s message could easily have been compressed, and the fact that it took up at least an hour of the festival’s screening time just to tell the audience and I that excessive capitalism is bad came across as incredible preachy.

Take Me to Pitcairn ★★★★☆

This documentary concerns a British kite seller who determines that he wants to visit the final landing place of the Bounty mutineers, Pitcairn Island. Along the way, he accrues a selection of travelling companions from around the world and chaos ensues, filmed largely on his little handheld camera. There are a million and one ways I could describe this strange, but charming little film. Starting out as a budget Bear Grylls, it makes a swift U-turn into a kind of Blue Peter on acid, and descends into Holidays From Hell when the travellers find themselves stranded on an island in the Pacific! The history of the Bounty mutineers is told in childlike crayon drawings that are abruptly cut off by rude graffiti and/or crude language in the real world to great comic effect. This is probably one of the most stylistically confused films I’ve ever seen, but somehow it works! The film is funny, the presenter is likeable, and it was probably one of my favourite films of the day.

Overall, my experience of the Southampton International Film Festival has so far been overwhelmingly positive. With only one day left, I’m yet to see the remaining short films and animations. I have high expectations for tomorrow’s final screenings. Keep up to date on the latest happenings at the Southampton International Film Festival with The Edge.

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