Big River Man (DVD)

Making a splash

On the face of it, John Maringouin’s film following Slovenian endurance swimmer Martin Strel’s attempt to swim the Amazon River is a straightforward documentary, combining interviews with Strel and his team along with footage of him training and his past triumphs. Yet as the film progresses you realise that this is part doc, part art installation and part experimenta, with dreamlike sequences and mesmeric narration weaving through the footage; some of it seemingly staged. As you get to know the hulking figure at the centre of the film, you begin to understand why Maringouin has taken this approach.

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Sounds Like Teen Spirit (DVD)

Hits all the right notes

In truth, a documentary about the annual Junior Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t sound all that appealing on paper, particularly for anyone who has never fully understood the appeal of the adult contest which is televised in all its camp glory every year. But Jamie Jay Johnson’s film is a surprising gem, a no-holds-barred look at ambition and determination in its most innocent form.

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FrightFest 2009: Day Four!

salvage7We spent most of the fourth day of FrightFest ’09 in the Discovery Screen, where there was a host of intriguing film fare on offer. And we weren’t the only ones to take advantage of this year’s new double-screen choices, as American Werewolf director John Landis also took his seat in the smaller screen. And first up was Salvage, the excellent ultra-real chiller from British writer/director Lawrence Gough.

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