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Review: Docked and Storytime, Melbourne Women in Film Festival

Liza Dezfouli

Two shorts from the Melbourne Women in Film Festival, which is running from 21-24 February 2019.
Review: Docked and Storytime, Melbourne Women in Film Festival

Amie Batalibasi's Docked.


Set in Footscray, Docked by Amie Batalibasi, tells of the random, spontaneous rapport between young aspiring actor Chubath (Nyawuda Chuol), and Dale, played by the late actor Damian Hill.

Dale is new to Melbourne and, not knowing what to do as his wallet has been stolen, and he doesn’t remember how to get back to his hotel, sits in the bar where Chubath is working. He’s both emotionally and literally directionless, a man in crisis. After the bar closes straight-talking Chubath, who has abandoned her medical degree to pursue acting, walks Dale towards the CBD through Melbourne’s docklands area. They share trust, basic human vulnerability and have an understated yet significant impact on each other. The story is told simply and filmed in black and white, adding to the drama of the environment. 

Docked is a small film that glows quietly with poignancy and power, not least due to the performances of the two leads.

Rating: 3 ½ stars ★★★☆
Docked (2018 / 20 mins)

Victorian Premiere
Writer / Director – Amie Batalibasi


Mangrove swamps in the Kimberley can be grim scary places and what dwells within them must be respected. Young Cecilia (Verna Lawson) knows this and her little brother is about to find out.

In the short film Storytime, by writer/director Jub Clerc, young fella Jhi (Jhi Clarke) boastfully recites to his family a story of the Gooynbooyn Woman who hides in the mangrove swamps. In the telling around the fireside Jhi insults the mythical old woman and when reprimanded by his Gran (Sylvia Clarke), insists it doesn’t matter as she’s not real.

The kids are sent off to play and Jhi taunts his sister, Cecilia about being afraid to go into the depths of the mangrove swamp. She takes him up on his dare with the result that they both lose their way. Gran senses what has happened.

Storytime is a dark and atmospheric short film, with vibrant performances and a suitably menacing use of terrain. She mourns her own but Gran’s lament at the end could also be for so many other lost children.

Rating: 3 ½ stars ★★★☆
Storytime (2006 / 9 mins)

Director – Jub Clerc 
Writers – Sylvia Clarke, Jub Clerc 
Producer – Belinda Kelsall  

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Liza Dezfouli has been reviewing film, live performance, books and occasionally music for over a decade. She blogs about film under her own name and writes another, somewhat less-measured one called WhenMrWrongfeelsSoRight. She creates work for the stage herself every now and then and can occasionally be seen in shows or in short films. For more: