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Conor Bateman

Age: 23

Twitter handle: @filmvisuality

City I call home: Sydney

Genre/style/region of cinema I am most passionate about: Right now I'm very interested in films that blur the boundary between documentary and fiction, ranging from Seidl-esque caricatures of humanity to the essay films of James Benning and his contemporaries. I’m also keen to delve into the films of Jafar Panahi in this vein after seeing his masterful Tehran Taxi at Sydney Film Festival earlier this year.

A film that changed me/my mind: Richard Linklater's Slacker expanded my idea of what cinema could be when I saw it in high school. It’s ostensibly a love letter to a city and the people who inhabit it, but on a narrative level it’s both tightly controlled and intermittently loose and free, each wonderfully connected short vignette its own compelling world.

MIFF 2015 film I’m most looking forward to: The Lobster. Yorgos Lanthimos' first three features have all been absurd and darkly comic stabs at various relationship archetypes and this, his first English-language feature, looks to be very much in the same wheelhouse, with a dash more visual absurdity than usual.

I’m looking forward to Critics Campus because Criticism should also be about conversation, and so often writing about films online sees you finding yourself in an opinion echo chamber whilst distancing yourself from any actual debate. Critics Campus is a means through which to engage with young critics from all across the country in person, and that’s a really exciting idea.

Cinema excites me because Cinema excites (and terrifies) me because it’s a through-line to a viewer’s imagination and is ever-evolving. Also, it actively encourages discovery - of ideas, images and other films.

Favourite critic and why: Wesley Morris, now writing over at Grantland, is the critic I most come back to reading again and again. He’s nailed this intelligent conversational tone and his reviews aren't ever just an assessment of cinema but also how audiences approach it.

A publication I’d one day like to write for: I think MUBI’s Notebook is doing some really inventive and interesting work. They’re consistently running some of the best interviews and festival coverage in film writing but they also embrace the video essay and publish these wonderfully digressive and oft-personal essay pieces.

What listicle about MIFF would be most likely to go viral: 20 Outrageous Sex Positions In Gaspar Noé’s Love That You Should Try At Home.

Heaven Knows What, four ways

Conor Bateman reviews Josh and Benny Safdie’s Heaven Knows What – along with three other critics.


Review by Conor Bateman


Review by Conor Bateman