Other Writing


October 20, 2012

Until the advent of cable TV the United States had the most facile, puritanical television in the western world. Many believe the turning point came with the premiere of The Sopranos in 1999, on the HBO network. Suddenly the Americans had produced a brilliant drama series filled with black humour, sex, violence and four letter … More

To Rome with Love

October 20, 2012

First it was the Gauls and the Visigoths, now Rome has been laid waste by a new menace of unstoppable proportions – Woody Allen. Over the past few years this deadly invader has marched on London (Match Point), Barcelona (Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona), and finally, Paris (Midnight in Paris). Is no city – at least, no … More

The Words

October 13, 2012

Few people write for a living but many nurture the fantasy of doing so. Many an avid reader dreams of crossing over to the other side, producing books that are admired by people just like them. The Words is a movie for these people. No genuine writer could watch this film and remain unmoved by … More

Wuthering Heights

October 13, 2012

Wrap up warmly for this plunge into the wilds of old Yorkshire. Andrea Arnold’s new adaptation of Wuthering Heights is so bleak, wet, cold and gloomy it chills one to the bone. After about fifteen minutes I felt like calling for gloves and a muffler. Ten minutes later I could feel my feet sinking into … More

Searching for Sugar Man

October 6, 2012

“Oh he was much bigger than the Rolling Stones,” says a South African record company executive. Bigger than Elvis, too. His debut album sold more than 500,000 copies while the republic was still grappling with Apartheid. It would be startling enough if we were talking about a white South African pop star, but the artist … More


October 6, 2012

Readers of the AFR probably don’t need to have the word “arbitrage” explained, but for the record, according to Wikipedia, it is “the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets.” In Nicholas Jarecki’s film, the term functions as a metaphor for a series of trade-offs conducted by hedge fund … More


September 29, 2012

Cate Shortland enjoyed such extravagant success with Somersault, her debut feature of 2004, that it is no surprise she has taken her time to come up with film number two. The surprise is that she has made a German movie, not an Australian one. Although Shortland has drawn on Australian production skills and funding, Lore … More

On the Road

September 29, 2012

For a book that defined a generation, On the Road has waited a long time for a definitive screen adaptation. Jack Kerouac, who launched his literary career with this benzedrine-fuelled chronicle of the Beats, imagined the story as a movie from the moment it was published. In 1957, Kerouac wrote to Marlon Brando suggesting he … More

Italian Film Festival 2012

September 22, 2012

Although the French claim to have invented the cinema the Italians have done things with it no other nation can match. From silent epics such as Giovanni Pastrone’s Cabiria of 1914, through the Neo-Realist classics of Rossellini, De Sica and Visconti, to the arthouse movies of Fellini, Antonioni and Pasolini, Italy has spawned some of … More

Beasts of the Southern Wild

September 15, 2012

This is a week that restores one’s faith in contemporary cinema. Left gasping by Monsieur Lazhar, I was completely floored by Beasts of the Southern Wild, the debut feature by young American director, Benh Zeitlin. This is a film that has everything: consummate story-telling, great performances from a largely non-professional group of actors, drama, pathos, … More

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