Other Writing

Monsieur Lazhar

September 15, 2012

One approaches Monsieur Lazhar with the knowledge it has won numerous awards and gathered plaudits all over the world. If this wasn’t enough to raise one’s suspicions, the fact that the film was made in Canada is another cause for alarm. I don’t think any country is more adept at producing movies that promise so … More

Film Festivals

September 1, 2012

National film festivals are one of the lesser-known growth industries in Australia. The big attraction is still the French Film Festival, but every year the German, the Italian, the Japanese and the Spanish seem to grow a little larger. Coming up quickly are those festivals devoted to films from Korea, Russia, Israel, Mexico, India, Iran, … More

Total Recall

September 1, 2012

Philip K. Dick’s brief science fiction story, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (1965) has travelled a long way since it was adapted for Paul Verhoeven’s film, Total Recall in 1990. In Dick’s original version, Doug Quail visits a business called Rekall that promises to provide its clients with a false memory superior to … More

Holy Motors

August 25, 2012

It has been an excellent year for French cinema, but Holy Motors brings back memories of the brittle, self-consciously ‘poetic’ malaise that has infected so many gallic directors of the past. How alarming for all red-blooded Aussies that Our Kylie should be embedded in this piece of Parisian pastry. Kylie Minogue’s appearance comes at the … More

The Bourne Legacy

August 25, 2012

One wonders what a cultural theorist such as Slavoj Zizek would make of the Bourne films? Beyond the lashings of action, suspense and skullduggery they are textbook lessons in the repressive power of the state, guaranteed to appeal to conspiracy theorists of both left and right persuasions. The world in which Jason Bourne, and new … More

The Door

July 21, 2012

For Helen Mirren fans, please note: this is one of those rare movies in which she gets to keep her clothes on. In the part of Emerenc, a grumpy old cleaning lady, she is rarely seen without a headscarf and all the woolies required to withstand a winter in Budapest. This film suggests that for … More

I Am Eleven, The Curse of the Gothic Symphony

July 21, 2012

Screening opportunities are limited for Australian filmmakers, let alone documentary makers who may only expect to recoup their costs through TV and DVD sales. Two new efforts, I Am Eleven and The Curse of the Gothic Symphony, are currently enjoying the novelty of limited releases in cinemas around Australia. I Am Eleven by rookie film-maker, … More


July 14, 2012

For centuries hysteria was one of the most mysterious conditions known to medical science. The ailment was exclusive to women, and is believed to have been first diagnosed by the ancient Greeks. Plato echoed the belief that its diverse symptoms were due to a “wandering womb” that floated throughout the body causing all sorts of … More

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

July 14, 2012

Once upon a time in Anatolia… a minute passed. And then another minute passed, and another. Finally, after two –and-a-half hours, the film was over. Nuri Birge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is not for those with a low threshold of boredom, but like many slow films it has a mesmeric quality. The … More

Spanish Film Festival

July 7, 2012

Spain has always been known as a land of poverty, piety and cruelty, with a dark, fatalistic streak. The great break came with the Movida of the late 1970s – the counter-cultural awakening that followed the death of Franco. In the cinema the figurehead for this movement was Pedro Almodóvar, who has gone on to … More