Cate Shortland

Cate Shortland

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Lore Review


Good

An unusual, constantly surprising post-WWII odyssey, this film may feel a bit thin and episodic, but it tells an evocative story with darkly moving emotion. Like her ravishingly disturbing 2004 feature debut Somersault, Australian director Shortland brings her considerable skills to a strikingly different genre, keeping the story finely focussed on the central character while reflecting the complexity of a perilous situation.

The story begins right after the fall of Hitler, as a family destroys everything that ties them to the Nazis. But officials come for the parents (Wagner and Lardi), leaving teenaged Lore (Rosendahl) in charge of her four young siblings (Trebs, Frid, Seidel and infant Holaschke). Their only option is to try to reach their grandmother (Hagen) near Hamburg, but they get no help from their neighbours because of the family's ties to the Fuhrer. And as they strike out on the road, they encounter horrific things they could never have imagined. They also meet Thomas (Malina), a young Jewish man who seems to be following them.

The film is structured in a series of encounters as Lore struggles to keep her siblings together. And we are repulsed along with her at what she learns about humanity along the way. Shortland and the fine young actress Rosendahl vividly portray Lore's intense emotion as her protected, pampered childhood takes such a sudden, shocking turn. And we can vividly see along with her that much of the menace comes from the men along the road. But in her mind, the Jews are even more dangerous, so since she has been conditioned to despise them, her interaction with Thomas is thoroughly intriguing. She doesn't want to be anywhere near him, but knows she needs him to survive.

Continue reading: Lore Review

Somersault Review


Weak
Despite its title, Cate Shortland's Somersault has no impressive feats of gymnastic ability in its 105 minutes. Instead, we are treated to another story of a young woman discovering both love and sexuality, while also learning the crucial differences between them. My Summer of Love, an impassioned, but wholly contrived film that debuted earlier this year, looked at these events in the face of a young lesbian (bisexual?) relationship. Shortland goes for the straight and narrow.

Heidi (Abbie Cornish) is a naïve teen who lives with her mom and her boyfriend. Before your mind starts flopping around in the gutter, no, the boyfriend does not molest her and he is not an abusive drunk. One morning, after her mom leaves, Heidi comes onto the boyfriend and they begin to kiss, right as Heidi's mom, Nicole (Olivia Pigeot) comes back in to catch them. Quickly, Heidi runs off to the town of Jindabyne, where she shacks up with a local yuppie for a place to stay. Second night, she meets the mysterious and handsome Joe (Sam Worthington), who takes her back to a hotel where they have at it, like we all know they will. Heidi makes friends with the hotel manager Irene (Lynette Curran) and takes a job at the local gas station with Bianca (Hollie Andrew), a strange, presumptuous woman around Heidi's age. The film mainly consists of Heidi trying to keep these relationships in check and trying to make a life out of the nothing that she has.

Continue reading: Somersault Review

Somersault Review


Weak
Despite its title, Cate Shortland's Somersault has no impressive feats of gymnastic ability in its 105 minutes. Instead, we are treated to another story of a young woman discovering both love and sexuality, while also learning the crucial differences between them. My Summer of Love, an impassioned, but wholly contrived film that debuted earlier this year, looked at these events in the face of a young lesbian (bisexual?) relationship. Shortland goes for the straight and narrow.

Heidi (Abbie Cornish) is a naïve teen who lives with her mom and her boyfriend. Before your mind starts flopping around in the gutter, no, the boyfriend does not molest her and he is not an abusive drunk. One morning, after her mom leaves, Heidi comes onto the boyfriend and they begin to kiss, right as Heidi's mom, Nicole (Olivia Pigeot) comes back in to catch them. Quickly, Heidi runs off to the town of Jindabyne, where she shacks up with a local yuppie for a place to stay. Second night, she meets the mysterious and handsome Joe (Sam Worthington), who takes her back to a hotel where they have at it, like we all know they will. Heidi makes friends with the hotel manager Irene (Lynette Curran) and takes a job at the local gas station with Bianca (Hollie Andrew), a strange, presumptuous woman around Heidi's age. The film mainly consists of Heidi trying to keep these relationships in check and trying to make a life out of the nothing that she has.

Continue reading: Somersault Review

Cate Shortland

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