Australian film

Sweet Country

January 25, 2018
Rough justice in 'Sweet Country'

Sweet Country is Warwick Thornton’s contribution to the Australia Day debate. It’s an issue that returns every year with growing force as left-wing moralism locks horns with the forces of right-wing populism. The polarisation is particularly disturbing in light of a recent survey that revealed 56% of the population couldn’t care less whether Australia Day … More


May 13, 2017
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It’s a happy fluke that the release of James Bogle’s documentary on Brett Whiteley coincides with an exhibition by Vincent Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Victoria. Of the many artists Whiteley idolised and copied, Van Gogh was his all-time favourite. They were on first-name terms, with Whiteley always referring to his hero as … More

The Daughter

March 10, 2016
Odessa Young in 'The Daughter' (2015)

Being only an occasional theatre-goer, I’ve not been able to form an opinion on the productions of local Wunderkind, Simon Stone, who has made his reputation rewriting classic plays by figures such as Chekhov and Ibsen. The one play I did see – based very loosely on Gogol’s The Government Inspector – was a pretty … More

Sydney Film Festival 2014

June 14, 2014
Ellar Coltrane in 'Boyhood' (2014)

Sydney’s passion for cinema is beyond dispute, but the annual Sydney Film Festival is as close as this hedonistic city gets to a religious experience. For two weeks diehards will submit themselves to four, possibly five films a day. It’s a luxury for those who don’t have to turn up at the office on Monday … More

Mystery Road & Exposed

October 19, 2013

Before Mel Gibson got a real American accent, the film Mad Max (1979) was dubbed to make it acceptable to a United States audience. Is that Australian twang still a barrier to international success? Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road should answer this question. The accents could hardly be more Australian but the film is pitched firmly … More

Paul Kelly: Stories of Me

November 3, 2012
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Archie Roach reckons Paul Kelly is Australia’s “bard”. It’s what people used to say about Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson back in the days when poetry was a popular art. But for every man-in the-street who could recite parts of The Man from Snowy River in the 1890s, there must be thousands today who can … More

The Sapphires

August 11, 2012
Screen shot 2012-09-02 at 11.43.07 AM

It has been a long time since the Australian film industry has produced anything so uplifting, so irresistible, as The Sapphires. After an extended run of murder, mayhem, bad dialogue, and simple embarrassment, we have produced a feel-good film that actually makes one feel good – as opposed to feeling as if one is drowning … More

I Am Eleven, The Curse of the Gothic Symphony

July 21, 2012
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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


December 10, 2011
Film Still, Decadence

‘Decadence’ is the kind of topic favoured by high school debating societies. Is western civilisation making progress towards a golden future, or are we in irreversible decline? It’s an issue that neatly divides us into optimists and pessimists. Pria Viswalingam may have debated this topic himself when he was a pupil at Aldenham, a British public … More


December 3, 2011
Film still, X

For some unknown reason Australian cinema has become mired in crime, violence, sadism and horror. This can’t be explained by the popularity of TV series such as Underbelly or the success of an earlier movie such as Wolf Creek. All of a sudden, this sunny, complacent, economically-successful country has gone over to the dark side. … More