Yesterday I went to see the new movie from Hans Petter Moland, Beautiful Country, about a young Vietnamese man, Binh, who sets out to find his father, an American who served in the country during the Vietnam war. It is an often sad and moving story that touches upon subjects like the plight of refugees, modern slavery and how a war affects people and their destinies long after it is over.

In one of the scenes, where refugees are on board a small, waterlogged boat in a storm, I was reminded of the Tampa incident a few years ago. But through all the misery there are also scenes where glimmers of hope and humanity shine through.

The main characters are excellently portrayed by Damien Ngyen and Bai Ling, in other roles Tim Roth and Temuera Morrison are very realistic in the roles of the cold-blooded captain of the slave ship and a greedy slave trader, and Nick Nolte gives a great performance as Binh’s father . I highly recommend this movie, and hope that more people go see it in the coming weeks.

Last week the Films From the South festival was on, and although I worked a couple of the evenings, I still managed to see some of the movies they screened. The festival started off a bit slow – I didn’t see the first until Monday evening, then on Saturday I saw four, two documentaries and two full lenght movies. A long day in the theatres, but it was worth it to see movies different from the standard Hollywood fare of violence, sex and marketing hype.

Of course, not all the movies were equally good, but the ones I strongly recommend are At Five in the Afternoon from Iran, about an Afghan girl who wants to be president, and the Argentinian Historias Minimas. The next film festival coming up is Oslo International Film Festival, at the end of November. The autumn is a busy season for the film lovers of Oslo…

This afternoon I went to see the new Australian film The Tracker, starring David Gulpilil, at the Rivoli. It is beautifully shot, and takes on a dark and important part of Australia’s history – the persecution of the Aboriginal people. The story is at times a bit thin I think, and some of the scenes are too drawn out, but I enjoyed it.

Too bad I missed another Australian film on the same theme, Rabbit Proof Fence, when it was showing earlier this year, but I hope I’ll get a chance to see it soon.

I went to the final day of the MIFF yesterday, and saw three shows in a row – first the South Korean Teenage Hooker Became Killing Machine in Daehakroh, which was a disappointment really. Too artsy and drawn out (yes, even for me), although it got better towards the end. Following that I saw two documentaries about aboriginal Australians, the highly acclaimed Black Chicks Talking, followed by Gulpilil: One Red Blood, which were both wonderful.

As I came out from this show, I saw people lining up for ‘Tokyo Express’, a programme of new japanese anime, so I decided to get a ticket for that as well. Came home about a quarter past twelve, pretty tired from over six hours of movies. But it was worth it, I guess, and now i can feel prepared for upcoming festivals in Oslo this winter…

After arriving in Brisbane last week, I discovered that the 11th Annual Brisbane Film Festival is on at the moment, and since I’m in town, it’s an excellent opportunity to see some good movies. So far the better ones have been Donnie Darko, the Romanian Everyday God Kisses Us on the Mouth., and the excellent documentary Devil’s Playground.

I’m planning to see more movies during the week, but I’ll need to do some more tourist-stuff as well, since I can’t sit inside a dark theatre all the time. After all, it’s supposed to be a holiday …

Went to see David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive at the Rivoli. The theatre was nearly empty, and no wonder – this is a pretty weird movie. The plot starts out basic enough, but the last 1/2 hour is just plain confusing. But you just have to expect that from Lynch, I guess…

And I still liked it, it’s beautifully shot, has some really creepy scenes, and I also think he wants to say something about the true face of Hollywood, the one that lies below all the glitz and glamour.