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The Canberra International Film Festival is off and running and those of us who were there for the opening night offering of Maps to the Stars needed a stiff drink after this unnerving film. Or just the chance to download with like minded film buffs that filled the Dendy cinema for an opener that Artistic Director Lex Lindsay chose, warned us about and yet we all sat through absolutely riveted to our seat.
Maps to the Stars, is a map into the nightmarish wonder world of a disparate group of damaged characters with director David Cronenburg’s version of Hollywood peeling away the veneer that defies the common perceptions we want to believe of fame, fortune and happiness. His Hollywood is not the dream works kind. His make believe makes you believe that satire can be sick and unsettling.
Mia, our lovely Mia Wasikowska is a pyromaniac on a homecoming of the tortuous kind. The scars are there, the conniving is convincing but her dysfunctional family desperately needs therapy despite daddy being a TV new-age pseudo-psychologist . That daddy is John Cusack. Then there’s the Mommy, little brother, the fading screen star - briefly inhabiting the very real and talented Julianne Moore - who could do with a cup of tea and a good lie down because the shopping list of drugs to go isn’t helping, and the rising star that drives a limo and chases bit parts is another creepy in the body of Robert Pattinson, making up this dysfunctional bunch of victims of the Hollywood of Cronenburg’s satire
You’ve got to love a film festival that takes you out of your comfort zone, leads you into magic and mayhem, confronts your beliefs and stimulates your grey matter. And this year you’ll get that, almost all of it in this opener, but there’s more. And I reckon there is a lot to love. With 18 days and 64 films, conversations, Q & A sessions and dialogue of the female genitalia kind go to the website and make your choices.The full program for the Canberra International Film Festival is at www.ciff.com.au