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Little Joe

Alice (Beecham, Daphne) is a dedicated plant breeder at a corporation engaged in developing new species. She has engineered a flower remarkable not only for its beauty but also for its therapeutic value. Against company policy, Alice takes one home as a gift for her son, Joe. They christen it ‘Little Joe’ but as it grows, so too does Alice’s suspicion that her new creations may not be harmless.

The English language debut from Austrian director Jessica Hausner is clinically stylised and emotionally austere. Featuring a strong supporting cast, it has echoes of The Day of the Triffids and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Short film screening alongside this feature film: Lunch Run

Five young bored indigenous kids fiddling on their phones go looking for ‘Quinton’ who has walked to Milik. Their father tells them to be careful of ‘walakantha’, little short people who can take any form and take people far into the bush never to be seen again: “You might think it’s Quinton but it’s not.” Distracted by their phones they set off to sounds of hip hop. On the way to Milik, calamities pile up as they sight an unresponsive Quinton taking them further and further into the bush, until one of the kids is lured away with the promise of a brand new iPhone and endless reception in the deep scrub.

Karrabing Film Collective is an indigenous media group based in Australia’s Northern Territories that uses filmmaking and installation as a form of grassroots resistance and self-organisation. The collective includes approximately 30 members, predominantly living in the Belyuen community, who together create films using an ‘improvisational realism’ that opens a space beyond binaries of the fictional and the documentary, the past and the present. Shot on handheld cameras and phones, their films touch on cultural memory, place and ancestry, exposing the longstanding colonial violence that impact members directly, such as environmental devastation, land restrictions and economic exploitation.

The Karrabing Film Collective has presented its work at IMA Brisbane; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Jakarta Biennale; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio; Tate Modern, London; Documenta 14, Kassel; Berlinale, Forum Expanded; and Biennale of Sydney; among others.