I was pleasantly suprised when I arrived in Busselton for Cinefest Oz, the sun was shining and the town was buzzing. Awesome.

This marks the 4th Cinefest for me, but the first time blogging about it. It’s hands down the best film festival in WA, and a perfect excuse for a few days off. While schedules were a little too frantic for interviews, I had the pleasure of seeing some amazing Aussie film.

Force Of Destiny

A film by Paul Cox, starring David Wenham, Force of Destiny is the highly personal story of Robert, an artist waiting for a liver transplant. During his illness he meets Maya, a captivating young marine biologist whom he falls in love with.

I really enjoyed the constant theme of water;the sound of it permeates the film, creating (for me, anyway) a sense of tension in an otherwise quiet introspective work.

Usually, I dislike internal monologue in film, but the use of it in Force was different. Instead of the usual narcissism, Roberts thoughts were broken, frantic and full of regret while at the same time, hopeful and expressive. Kind of like real thoughts.

Star, David Wenham prefaced the film by highlighting the very real issue of organ donation and the importance of talking to family about it today. Too many opportunities to save lives are lost because of confusion or squeamishness following a tragedy. His character Robert said it best: “I suppose they think they might need them (organs) in their next life” when asked why more people don’t donate.

Backtrack

Starring Adrien Brody (with a creepily good Aussie accent), Sam Neil and George Shevtzov, Backtrack is on the surface of it, a horror film. Psychiatrist Peter Bower realises his recent patients are actually ghosts. After some truly nail biting ‘hauntings’ he believes that their appearance has something to do with his daughters death,something he blames himself for.

Exploring his own past to try and right the wrongs he feels has drawn these ghosts to him, he reveals a more sinister truth. One that is tragic as well as pure evil. I won’t give it away, but the story is great with a few twists that keep you engrossed. One thing I immediately questioned, because I like ruining things, who was paying him? I mean, it was a fair chunk of patients that were ghosts… Anyway!

There are a heap of scary moments that make you think Peter is actually crazy – I know I wouldn’t investigate the weird noise outside after being followed by a bunch of ghosts! Definitely recommended.

If you haven’t already checked out Cinefest Oz, you are missing out. Make sure you get a group together for next year and enjoy the festive atmosphere here in the south west, and get acquainted with some top Australian and French films.