If you've never experienced the fullness of world cinema, it's a truly wonderful thing.
If you've limited yourself to films you see at your American multiplexes, then you're truly missing out on some of the world's finest filmmakers both commercially viable and strong independent voices. If you've read The Independent Critic for any length of time, then you already know I tend to embrace the independent voice and to seek out criminally unheard voices from around the world.
There are certain almost inescapable world cinema truths.
British filmmakers, it would seem, will always produce the finest and most intelligent family cinema.
Dutch filmmakers seem to have a knack for telling the most universal truths in the most intimate of tales.
South Korean cinema is bold and challenging and unafraid and squirm-inducing yet exhilarating.
Australians? Australian filmmakers seem to have a knack for creating films that feel like an emotional walkabout, a journey through desolate lands that frees the soul in a myriad of ways.
Now then, of course there are exceptions. I've seen horrid British family films. I've seen Dutch films that were condescending nonsense. I've seen South Korean cinema that was about as bold as a Kardashian viral video. I've seen Australian films that were simply quirky for the sake of being quirky.
All I know is that world cinema makes me smile. It makes me think. It makes me feel and wonder and reflect. It's different from American cinema and it provides me a perspective that feels like it is an absolutely necessary part of my own cinematic world.
This brings me to Target Fascination, the latest feature film from the Australian writing/directing brother team of Dominic and Andrew Pelosi, whose The Big Noise was reviewed on The Independent Critic and whom I found myself contemplating their promising futures in the world of cinema.
The future is now.
Target Fascination is a that, for me, felt like an emotional walkabout. It felt like a journey through grief and forgiveness and family and things we talk about and things we don't necessarily like to talk about yet seem to eventually have to face. It's a simultaneously uncomfortable and exhilarating film, a film that takes universal themes and makes them deeply personal.
The recently completed film isn't quite perfect, it has a few edits that could use a little tweaking and has that familiar sound mix issue that often impacts lower budget films, yet it's a film that will unquestionably play well on the indie fest circuit with its powerful ensemble performances, sparse yet meaningful dialogue, magnificent imagery and themes that will leave you contemplating your own life as you leave the theater.
Target Fascination is what I call a "drop everything" film. It's the kind of film where you might start watching it while distracted by your day, your responsibilities or even while completing other tasks. Yet, it takes only a few moments for director Dominic Pelosi to grab you with scenes that are so compelling that you'll find yourself dropping everything and focusing all of your attention on the film that works both intellectually and emotionally.
The story, yeah I'm finally going to tell you about it, centers around a family trying to forgive the murderer of their daughter after he's released from prison 20 years later. It's the kind of story that would unfold in American multiplexes with high drama, overwrought histrionics and probably an unnecessary action scene or two.
This isn't American cinema.
In Target Fascination, the Pelosi brothers allow the story itself to have maximum impact. Target Fascination is a different kind of tale - it's jarring and unnerving and intimate and, yet, it's also strangely familial. It feels like real life in all its uncomfortable and awkward and authentic and occasionally traumatic glory. It's a film that makes you care about its characters - yeah, all of them.
The film's most powerful performances come from Darrell Hoffman as Joe and Robin Queree as Shane, though truly there's not a weak performance among the bunch. Anne-Louise Lambert may be the film's most familiar face from her performance in Picnic at Hanging Rock, but kudos must be given to the Pelosi brothers for finding a cast of both professional and unprofessional actors who gel together quite nicely.
There were times when Target Fascination reminded me of the Nicole Kidman film Rabbit Hole, an underrated gem that I think ended up being too difficult to watch for a good portion of American moviegoers. While this film is unquestionably different, it's unflinching in the way that thoughts and feelings are dealt with and unrelenting in its search for authenticity. It isn't always easy, but it's always rewarding to watch.
Target Fascination has, as I noted, only recently been completed and is getting set for the film festival circuit. For more information on the film, be sure to visit its Facebook page.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic