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The Gospel According to André

July 13, 2018

Those who watched The September Issue – the 2009 documentary that sparked a wave of fashion movies, will remember André Leon Talley as a larger-than-life presence in Vogue magazine’s inner circle. Loud, camp and flamboyant, Talley is the big black guy who seems to hang around the office doing nothing in particular. If Vogue’s uptight … More


Mary Shelley

July 5, 2018

During her lifetime Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was considered a minor player in the colourful lives of the Romantic poets, but her literary legacy has overshadowed them all. For every contemporary reader who admires the poetry of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, or their friend, Lord Byron, there are millions who have thrilled to the story … More


I, Tonya

February 2, 2018

Tonya Harding, my star Well this world is a cold one But it takes one to know one And God only knows what you are Sufjan Stevens claims to have spent 25 years trying to write a song about Tonya Harding. In the ballad that finally appeared late last year he still can’t seem to … More


Goodbye Christopher Robin & The Teacher

November 24, 2017

Two films released this week look at the damage that may be inflicted on children by parents and teacher. Goodbye Christopher Robin shows us how A.A.Milne virtually destroyed his son’s life by making him the hero of the best-selling Winnie the Pooh stories. The Teacher, set in Bratislawa in 1983, is a much darker affair, … More


Loving Vincent

November 2, 2017

Loving Vincent is one of those films that leans heavily on its novelty value. Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer was the first talkie; Alexander Sokurov’s The Russian Ark was the first feature to be shot in a single take; Thor:Ragnarok is the world’s first Kiwi superhero comedy; Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted … More


Battle of the Sexes

September 30, 2017

It’s strange to watch Battle of the Sexes from an Australian perspective, remembering how we barracked for Margaret Court in her rivalry with America’s Billie Jean King. Forty years on, Margaret Court looks like the most dreadful sourpuss – an outspoken homophobe, and allegedly an apologist for Apartheid. Billie Jean King has taken a very … More


A Quiet Passion

July 1, 2017

How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – To tell one’s name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog! For Emily Dickinson (1830-86) there was a distinction in being Nobody as opposed to Somebody. Now considered one of the greatest American poets, Dickinson spent almost her entire … 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


My Week with Marilyn

February 25, 2012

Before watching My Week with Marilyn I wasn’t aware that Colin Clark, the 23-year-old film flunkey whose memoir provides the basis of the story, was the son of Sir Kenneth Clark. Not only was Sir Kenneth a renowned art historian and cultural bureaucrat, he was the man who gave us Civilisation (1969) – the orginal … More