Top film picks with Nathan Beard!
Perth Visual artist and cinephile gives you his go-to's of the season
Meet visual artist and avid film goer Nathan Beard. As a Lotterywest Films fan we asked Nathan for his take on the program!
NB As a visual artist who likes to draw from a broad range of cultural references and experiences, cinema has always remained a consistent influence. As the major art form of the last century it feels vital to keep up to date with it in order to retain a sense of cultural literacy.
You can learn a lot about the fundamental principles of many creative practices (composition, rhythm, pacing) by immersing yourself into the vast potential of the medium.
I don’t know that I can articulate the power or appeal of cinema any more eloquently than Nicole Kidman in those recent AMC theatre ads though...
‘We come to this place for magic. We come to [the movies] to laugh, to cry, to care. Because we need that, all of us. That indescribable feeling when the lights begin to dim, and we go somewhere we’ve never been before. Not just entertained but somehow reborn. Together. Dazzling images on a huge silver screen. Sound that I can feel. Somehow heartbreak feels good in a place like this. Our heroes feel like the best part of us and stories feel perfect and powerful. Because here… they are.’ NICOLE KIDMAN
High praise indeed! Here are my top recommendations for this year’s Lotterywest Films.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, director of Memoria
Apichatpong Weerasethakul creates slow cinema with a singular dreamlike quality that I find completely compelling. Memoria is his first feature to be produced outside of his native Thailand, and he's partnered with a veritable arthouse superstar in Tilda Swinton as a lead, which makes this the default cinematic event of the year for me. Weerasethakul has famously stated that audiences are invited to sleep during his films, and the starry setting of Somerville auditorium makes for a perfect venue to lull viewers.
He's the only Palm d'Or winner I've chased down for a selfie for a reason, and it's thrilling to see his work given this platform for Perth cinephiles.
Still from The Worst Person in the World
2. The Worst Person in the World
Joachim Trier burst onto the international scene with Reprise, an energetic debut about two aspiring writers.
I'm excited to see him return to a similar milieu of existential and creative crisis with this film, especially with the buzz surrounding the lead performance of Renate Reinsve, who won Best Actress at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
I've heard this talked about as sort of like a Norwegian Frances Ha, which is maybe an unfair comparison but one that fills me with optimism. Additionally, lead actor Anders Danielson Lie is a practicing doctor who worked through the pandemic in a COVID-19 vaccination centre. Purchasing a ticket for this is a show of support for our essential workers.
Still from Benedetta
Paul Verhoeven is no stranger to provocation, and this most recent feature was handed the best free publicity you could have asked for when it was protested at the New York Film Festival with a placard that read 'Stop Blasphemy Now!'. When his work sets its sights on the twisted moral compasses of women in a crisis the results can be exhilarating (see Elle, Basic Instinct, Showgirls). Based on a true story, Benedetta is a 17th Century story about Sapphic nuns and features Charlotte Rampling (doyenne of transgressive female sexuality on screen) in a supporting role as an Abbess.
If this doesn't already pique your interest I'm not sure what possibly could.
Still from Quo Vadis, Aidia?
4. Quo Vadis, Aida?
She situates the viewer within the urgently escalating stakes of a UN interpreter trying to secure safe passage for her family through the remarkable work of lead actress Jasna Ðuričić.
Frustration and despair is so rivetingly communicated through her performance as the banal circus of horror unfolds around her that the entire film feels as if it plays in real-time. It's not a graphic movie by any means, but it's candour strikes with emotional precision.