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MIFF Films

by Lex Hudson

JINDABYNE

Remember the urban legend where a female motorist is seemingly being stalked by a crazed trucker? She speeds up, he speeds up; she slows down, he does the same. All the while he is flashing his highbeams, laying on the horn, and hollering at her to pull over. Every ounce of self preservation she has tells her to get as far away as she can from this maniac. In the story, the trucker is in fact trying to save her from the knife-wielding serial killer in her backseat. In the opening scene of Jindabyne the horn-honking driver has far from altruistic intentions. He is why our girl should be scared.

Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects) and Laura Linney (The Nanny Diaries) head up this Australian interpretation of Raymond Carver's short story "So Much Water So Close to Home." Stewart Kane (Byrne) is an Irish ex-patriot who, along with three others on their annual fishing trip, find the body of the Aboriginal girl murdered in the first scene. For their own reasons they decided to enjoy a day of fishing before reporting their find, much to the shock and horror of the town. His wife Claire (Linney, in an award winning performance) cannot come to grips with her husband's actions; yet she finds no one will take her seriously. In the meantime their seven year old son is assisting his best friend to come to grips with death and the loss of her mother.

Despite the chilling first scene, Jindabyne is not a thriller that ends with, "The call is coming from inside the house." It is a poignant look at death, family interaction, responsibility, and even racial tension against luscious New South Wales backdrops. Winner of Best Director, and Best Actress-Supporting, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2006 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, "Jindabyne" had its East Coast Premier at the Miami International Film Festival.


FULL GROWN MEN

Meet Alby Cutrera (Matt McGrath). He's 35 years old, married, has a son, a deceased father, and his mother suffers from dementia. Alby also is unemployed, still plays with "dolls", and can't figure out why his world has changed so much as he's grown because he never has. After a straw that broke the camel's back argument with his wife, Alby, reminiscent of a little boy running away from home, has left carrying only a suitcase full of action figures. He returns to his mother's house and attempts to reclaim the carefree days of his youth by contacting his childhood best friend and primary victim, Elias (Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock), and road-tripping to "Diggityland."

On his quest Alby encounters cautionary tales (Alan Cumming, Amy Sedaris, and Deborah Harry in outstanding cameos) that ultimately teach him the cost of his refusal to grow up. Unfortunately, Alby just never quite achieves any kind of likeable quality that makes us care.

Shot mostly in Central Florida, Full Grown Men is the first full-length feature from Miami born and raised writer-director David Munro. Part of Miami International Film Festival's Touching Florida oeuvre.


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