Our second preview of next weekend’s ReelGood Film Festival — get your tickets here — takes a look at the lighter side of things, at least in a manner of speaking. Comedies can have all sorts of moods and modes going on within them, and like the animated shorts previewed on Tuesday, there’s definitely some heavier material mixed in here.

And like in those animated shorts, we are seeing the work of some filmmakers featured multiple times.


Among the comedies this year are two films by the writing-directing duo of Lewis Attey and Daniel Wood, and they are obvious companion pieces for each other, as they involve the same narrative device and involve the same narrator (Lee Lin Chin). If both give you a little flavour of Wes Anderson, that’s also something they have in common with one of the animated shorts previewed on Tuesday.

Both Working Late and Eating Late feature a view from outside the five-paned front window of their single location, a typical office building in one case and a Chinese restaurant in the other. In each pane, one or two characters are involved in an isolated story, and the camera will slowly zoom in on one while Chin provides narration about the conversation taking place. Once that’s complete, it’ll reset the scene from the start and steadily encroach on a second scene. At the end, your reward is to see the event upon which all five stories are converging.


The narration is delightfully crafted with sly absurdism, delivered engagingly by Chin, and both films have a solid payoff. If the filmmakers themselves wouldn’t be too put off by my comparisons to Anderson — some wouldn’t consider that a compliment — then allow me one more. Further mirroring the infamous precision of that director, Attey and Wood have seen to it that both of these films last exactly eight minutes and 38 seconds.

The other two comedies we’re looking at today both involve the experiences of Australians of Asian descent.


In Andy Diep’s Happy New Year Ms. Luna, the title character, played by Victoria Ho, finds herself at a gathering of her extended family for the celebration of Chinese New Year, not long after her transition from being a boy named Victor — though long enough that her family should really be aware of her preferred pronouns and should use them respectfully. The older generation famously wants all the younger generation to become accountants, but the youngers’ failure to do so is not as problematic for the elders as their former son and grandson’s failure to continue being a boy.

Although Luna’s pain is never far from the surface, Diep captures the human foibles and limitations of these characters in a way that keeps things less dour than they otherwise would be, and prompts humorous smiles of recognition among viewers if not out-and-out laughs. The performances, production design and direction are all first rate.


The final film we’re previewing today takes a deep dive into the fantastical, and also into horror. In fact, though Sushi Noh is definitely horror comedy, there are parts where the comedy definitely takes a backseat.

In Jayden Rathsam Hua’s film, young girl Ellie (Geneva Pham) has been left in the care of her sushi-making Uncle Donnie (Felino Dolloso) while her parents are out of town. He’s not cut out for the task, focusing more on his sushi and an upcoming date, and demonstrates his cruelty by breaking one of her toys when its push-button prerecorded slogans annoy him too much. His date (Jodine Muir), a self help multi-level marketer, allows Ellie to enter into a state where she can manifest her unspoken desires — and one of those involves wishing ill on her uncle, in the form of a bizarre and bloody relationship with his new tool for making sushi.


There’s body horror galore in Sushi Noh, enough to produce as many gasps and grimaces as guffaws. But Hua gets enough of all three to make this a delightfully creepy assault on both your gag reflexes and your funny bone.

Next week we will continue with previews of this year’s documentary and dramatic shorts. The ReelGood Film Festival will take place on Saturday, April 27th at Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn, and you can get your tickets here.