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politics | John McDonald

politics

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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


Sicario: Day of the Soldado

June 29, 2018

If this were one of those reviews that run in a box at the side of the page it would read: “A relentlessly brutal and stupid film that does no-one any favours.” The chief difference between this sequel and the original Sicario of 2015, comes down to two significant absences. Canadian Director, Denis Villeneuve, has … More


Head On Photo Festival 2018

May 18, 2018

Head On is still not getting the attention it deserves. We make a big fuss about the Sydney Biennale, we go wild for Vivid, we swarm over the Sydney foreshores during Sculpture by the Sea, but after ten years the Head On Photo Festival survives on a fraction of the resources devoted to other events. … More


Isle of Dogs

April 12, 2018

It may be the Year of the Dog but the Japanese are definitely cat people. Until recently Fido held his own against Kitty as a domestic pet but now the cats are in the ascendency and are surging ahead. It could hardly be otherwise with the ubiquitous Maneki Neko (“Hello Kitty!”) waving its paw in … More


The Other Side of Hope & Paul: Apostle of Christ

April 6, 2018

In pre-Enlightenment days ‘history’ was a mass of tall stories, myths and rumours. Authors were happy to recount tales of miracles and supernatural events, readers were happy to believe them. In the mid-1800s it was still scandalous when writers such as David Strauss and Ernst Renan began to challenge the historical basis of the Bible, … More


Sydney Biennale 2018 Part 2

March 30, 2018

Is it only me, or is there something intrinsically boring about art projects that involve community participation? I know there is a strand of thought in contemporary art that loathes the very idea of the master artist or the individual genius, believing every human being should be encouraged to harness his or her innate creativity. … More


Sydney Biennale 2018 Part 1

March 23, 2018

Few artists have dominated a Sydney Biennale as comprehensively as Ai Weiwei with his contributions to this year’s show. It’s partly because hardly any of the 70 chosen artists, or groups of artists, have a public profile in Australia, while Ai is an international art celebrity and media magnet. Two years ago the National Gallery … More


Human Flow

March 16, 2018

Human Flow is a relentless film about a relentless problem. There have always been refugees – people displaced from their homes by war, persecution or natural disaster – but we are living through an era when this activity has accelerated in many different parts of the world. Ai Weiwei takes us on a global tour … More


The Post

January 12, 2018

Steven Spielberg is to the cinema as Volvo is to the world of automobiles. Everyone recognises that a Volvo is an excellent, well-made car. It’s safe, reliable, high quality… but it will never get your pulse racing. With Spielberg we can be confident that each new feature will be a quality product. He’s too experienced, … More


Istanbul – The Art of Optimism

October 6, 2017

“We are a thin-skinned country,” admitted Selim Yenel, “We are intolerant.” There was no argument from the international journalists assembled around the table. In the face of successive questions about government censorship and repression, the Undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs Ambassador provided answers no-one could dispute. Asked about the political persecution of … More


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