Sadly, Hewison’s unveiling of the opening night film at MIFF this year, the identity of which had been kept under wraps in order to generate interest and boost ticket sales, was no longer surprising by the time the screening started. So many pundits had tipped that we’d be seeing the high school drama 2:37, directed by 21 year old South Australian Murali Thalluri, that any sense of mystery had long been lost by the time the film was introduced.
Another surprise was the controversy which developed in the weeks after the film’s Australian premiere, centered on suggestions that Thalluri had invented the ‘friend’ whose suicide allegedly inspired his directorial debut. Thalluri himself stridently denied the accusation that he had invented the story as part of the film’s marketing strategy. Regardless of who was telling the truth, the scandal quickly disappeared from the public radar, as did 2:37 itself, which grossed only $436,257 of its reputed $1,000,000 production costs at the Australian box office, according to the Internet Movie Database.
My favourite film of 2006 was Ang Lee’s already controversial
Also noteworthy were David Cronenberg’s troubling study of aggression, A History of Violence; British film-maker Paul Greengrass’ stunning United 93, about the events of September 11 2001; the AFI award-winning Ten Canoes, the first Australian feature shot entirely in indigenous languages; Jafar Pahani’s gender-bending Iranian soccer caper, Offside; and most recently, Pedro Almodovar’s triumphant Volver.
Ana Kokkinos gave us the painfully over-intellectualised The Book of Revelation, while Geoffrey Wright’s take on Macbeth lacked drama, pathos and tension – not to mention actors who could do justice to Shakespeare’s verse.
The appallingly wooden remake of 1976 film The Omen, for some reason re-titled The Omen 666; and the frenetic failure which was Underworld Evolution were among some of the other cinematic train wrecks of 2006.