Film Reviews by Richard Phillips

Fallout: Documentary about On the Beach

By Richard Phillips, 4 January 2014

A recent documentary on a best-selling 1950s novel and Hollywood movie about the nuclear destruction of humanity contains fascinating material but fails to explore current geo-political realities.

Petition: The Court of the Complainants—a potent Chinese documentary about injustice and state repression

By Richard Phillips, 25 January 2012

Petition explores the plight of poverty-stricken workers and farmers involved in stubborn and ultimately tragic appeals for “justice” from China’s Stalinist bureaucracy.

Sydney Film Festival 2011—Part 6: Douglas Sirk’s elegant imitations of life

By Richard Phillips, 4 August 2011

Sirk’s best work reveals an exceptional artist and one whose visually-rich and socially-incisive observations still have a timeless quality.

Sydney Film Festival 2011—Part 5: A classic novel intelligently reworked, a light comedy and some less impressive efforts

By Richard Phillips, 1 August 2011

A new version of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and three other features looking for a niche somewhere between commercial and independent cinema.

Sydney Film Festival 2011—Part 4: A conversation with Shelly Kraicer about Chinese independent cinema

By Richard Phillips, 30 July 2011

Beijing resident and film festival programmer Shelly Kraicer discusses developments in the Chinese independent cinema.

Sydney Film Festival 2011—Part 3: Global warming, village life, and other documentaries

By Richard Phillips, 28 July 2011

A diverse range of subjects were examined in the more than thirty documentaries screened at this year’s festival.

Sydney Film Festival 2011—Part 2: An eclectic selection with a few valuable moments

By Richard Phillips, 26 July 2011

Festival competition movies varied widely in their range of cinematic styles and artistic sensitivity.

Sydney Film Festival: Filmmaker Ivan Sen speaks to WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 26 July 2011

Writer/director Ivan Sen spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about Toomelah, his latest feature, during the Sydney film festival.

“A screenwriter writes with his eyes”

Suso Cecchi d’Amico (1914–2010): a seminal figure in Italian cinema

By Richard Phillips, 27 September 2010

D’Amico wrote over 110 scripts during her extraordinary six-decade career, including several that became genuine movie masterpieces.

Welcome from France: A compassionate exposure of anti-immigrant measures

By Richard Phillips, 17 April 2010

Welcome, the ironically titled latest feature by French director Philippe Lioret, is an intelligent antidote to the ongoing drum-beat of government and media dehumanisation of undocumented immigrants in France and internationally.

An interview with Philippe Lioret, director of Welcome

By Richard Phillips, 17 April 2010

French filmmaker Philippe Lioret speaks about his latest movie, which explores the human impact of increasingly repressive French immigration laws on undocumented refugees and French citizens.

Balibo: A war crime exposed

By Richard Phillips, 17 August 2009

Balibo tells how five young reporters working for Australian television were murdered in East Timor by the Indonesian military in the lead-up to the invasion of the tiny country in 1975.

Sydney Film Festival 2009—Part 5

Several movies well worth revisiting

By Richard Phillips, 17 July 2009

This is the last in a series of articles on the 56th Sydney Film Festival. Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 were posted on July 9, 10, 13 and 14 respectively.

Sydney Film Festival 2009—Part 1: Courage and audacity sadly lacking

By Richard Phillips, 9 July 2009

The quality of new work screened at this year’s Sydney Film Festival was patchy and generally undemanding, with critical human issues largely unexplored.

Tulpan: Poverty and unrequited dreams on the Kazakh steppes

By Richard Phillips, 6 May 2009

Documentary filmmaker Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Tulpan is a gentle but engaging drama about shepherds in southern Kazakhstan.

“To show the beauty of this reality”

Film director Sergey Dvortsevoy speaks with WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 6 May 2009

Sergey Dvortsevoy, director and co-writer of Tulpan, spoke with the World Socialist Web Site during his recent visit to Australia.

55th Sydney Film Festival—Part 6

Deborah Kerr: an actor with genuine subtlety and integrity

By Richard Phillips, 23 September 2008

This is the last in a series of articles on the 2008 Sydney Film Festival. Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 appeared on September 16, 17, 18, 19 and 22 respectively.

55th Sydney Film Festival—Part 5

Yung Chang speaks with WSWS about Up the Yangtze

By Richard Phillips, 22 September 2008

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the 2008 Sydney Film Festival. Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 appeared on September 16, 17, 18 and 19 respectively.

55th Sydney Film Festival—Part 4

Contemporary dramas from Israel, Australia and South Africa

Jerusalema

By Mile Klindo, 19 September 2008

This is the fourth in a series of articles on the 2008 Sydney Film Festival. Part 1, 2 and 3 appeared on September 16, 17 and 18 respectively.

55th Sydney Film Festival—Part 3

Noteworthy documentaries—from Australia and Canada

By Richard Philips and Ismet Redzovic, 18 September 2008

This is the third in a series of articles on the 2008 Sydney Film Festival. Part 1 appeared on Tuesday September 16 and Part 2 on Wednesday September 17.

55th Sydney Film Festival—Part 2

Socially meaningful, but limited

Rain of the Children

By Richard Phillips and Ismet Redzovic, 17 September 2008

This is the second in a series of articles on the 2008 Sydney Film Festival. Part 1 was posted on September 16.

55th Sydney Film Festival—Part 1

A few intelligent movies, but lost in an increasingly industry-oriented event

Serious work

By Richard Phillips and Ismet Redzovic, 16 September 2008

This year’s Sydney Film Festival from June 4-22 screened 55 documentaries, 117 feature films, and 45 short films, one of the largest programs mounted by the 55-year-old event. It also inaugurated a new “best film” competition, with a $60,000 prize made possible by grants from the Hunter Hall investment company and the New South Wales state government.

Racism and small-town bigotry

Australian Rules, directed by Paul Goldman

By Richard Phillips, 19 September 2002

Australian Rules, directed by Paul Goldman and based on Phillip Gwynne’s semi-autobiographical novel Deadly, Unna? is a compassionate exposure of racism and small-town bigotry and its tragic consequences.

RadianceDirected by Rachel Perkins, screenplay by Louis Nowra

Unhelpful praise for an imperfect film

By Milan Zubic and Richard Phillips, 11 August 1998

Radiance, the first feature film by Aboriginal director Rachel Perkins is the story of three women who return home to a small town on the Queensland coast for their mother's funeral.