My Mum’s mantra about modern movies is “Why don’t they make films like they used to?”
Well, guess what, Mum? They still do.
At least Lone Scherfig’s latest film, THEIR FINEST, is about how they made films back in the Forties, and so finely made is it, that it does, in fact, feel like a picture made back then.
In the midst of the Second World War, the population of England and her allies were in need of something uplifting they could relate to, to help raise the spirits of the nation during this bleak time.
Going to the pictures became more than just an exercise in entertainment, but an excursion into hope and optimism.
Gemma Arterton stars as Catrin Cole, a creative copywriter who catches the eye of the Government section that produce propaganda feature films. She is employed to create engaging scenarios and write female dialogue, to tap into the emotions and imaginations of the fast growing women’s workforce, to stroke the heart, stoke the hearth, and keep the home fires burning.Continue reading THEIR FINEST : A MOVIE LIKE THEY USED TO MAKE→
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Anne Fontaine (Coco Avant Chanel, Nathalie, Gemma Bovery), THE INNOCENTSis based on actual events and set in Poland at the end of World War 2.
The film chronicles a largely forgotten piece of history based on the astonishing true experiences of Madeleine Pauliac and deals with complex issues of war and faith.
She is a young doctor at a Red Cross hospital who responds to a desperate plea from a nun and breaks protocol to visit a local Benedictine convent, where she is shocked to find a nun in the midst of a complicated labour and several more in various stages of pregnancy.
As she uncovers the truth of what happened, she begins the demanding task of caring for these women, whilst navigating the reluctance of the wary Mother Superior, who wants to keep the events that brought her charges to this situation, a secret from the outside world.
THE INNOCENTS will screen at selected arthouse cinemas from Thursday 27th April.
Sydney Arts Guide has ten in season double passes to give away. Be one of the first to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be advised by return email. Please provide your postal address in your email.
A slap in the vagina with a piece of veal to vegans and vegetarians, RAW is about a couple of cannibal sisters who certainly like their meat rare.
These self same samplers of human flesh and sinew are veterinarian science students at a well heeled university, where fees cost an arm and a leg.
This is the alma mater of their parents, so they are carrying on an alpha tradition.
Another tradition that runs deep in the family is their dedicated veganism, so when initiation rituals include meat eating and blood splattering, we know we are in for some extreme angst, conflict and life altering experience. Continue reading RAW : IN YOUR FACE FILMMAKING→
Colossal entertainment of a bent and skewed kind awaits audiences with COLOSSAL, Anne Hathaway’s brave heart take on domestic violence, male manipulation and the canker of unrequited hanker.
COLOSSAL is a film in which a recognisably universal story is manipulated through a monster mash of genres – part rom com, part creature feature – and it works a treat in a meteoric, metaphoric euphoria.
The plot follows Gloria who has lost her high flying job and fiance due to being a tragic hostage in the battle for the bottle. She is the very opposite of her name.
One cannot help muse that the defiant, deluded Holocaust denier, David Irving, must have been duped into thinking the case he brought against Penguin Books and their author, Deborah Lipstadt, was going to be heard by Jewry rather than a jury when he agreed that the matter be adjudicated by a judge alone.
Of course, the truth of the matter is brilliantly argued in the astonishingly gripping court room drama, DENIAL.
This is a funny, sexy and scary new French film which has already won a slew of awards.
RAW tells the story of Justine (Garance Marillier), a brilliant 16-year-old whose admission to a prestigious veterinary school sparks a coming-of-age like no other. With her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf) watching on, Justine partakes in a bizarre hazing ritual where she is forced to eat raw meat for the first time, defying her vegan upbringing and unleashing an insatiable desire for flesh.
Tapping into the violence of youthful rites of passage and the power of sisterly bonds, RAWis emotionally and physically visceral, and totally unforgettable. The film imaginatively and intelligently expands contemporary horror cinema, announcing French writer-director Julia Ducournau as a key figure in an exciting and bold new wave of female genre filmmakers.
The NT Live screening of Hedda Gabler brings us a bleak, sparse and shattering version of Ibsen’s classic play, written in 1891.
Under Ivo Van Hove’s assured direction, the play is updated to now, with a crisp, supple translation by Patrick Marber that makes it seem new and vivid .
The set is an almost bare, anonymous apartment in the inner city, in the middle of renovation. There are vertical blinds, a fridge and a security camera at the door. Jan Verswyveld‘s lighting is splendid.
The soundscape features a mix of popular songs including Joni Mitchell’s classic ballad Blue all of which go to depicting a person in crisis.
Forty four years on and THE DAY OF THE JACKAL is still as taut, tense and terrific as it was when released in cinemas in 1973.
Helmed by master craftsman Fred Zinnemann this original adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s best selling book is 143 minutes of precise methodical planning, suspenseful in a cool, measured way that reflects the cold calculating calm of the assassin code named The Jackal.
In a precision piece of police procedural, the movie painstakingly maps the trajectory of the hiring of the hitman to the cat and mouse chase and capture.
Dark and at times somewhat disturbing . POLINA marks the directorial debut of renowned French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and his wife, filmmaker Valérie Müller.
The film is wonderfully, at times moodily photographed, with some glorious landscape shots, including a striking early solo outside in the snow against the backdrop of the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant , and later some enchanting use of mirrors and shadows and unusual angles. and much use of intimate closeup. The interior of the Bolshoi Theatre and school are glowingly portrayed.
The film’s sections of electronic score, by 79D, works well with the shift away from classical music to something more edgy and contemporary.
POLINA is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Bastien Vivès and is about a ballerina and her artistic development.
“An artist’s interest in gardening is to produce pictures without brushes.” Anna Lea Merritt
The latest luminous film from Exhibition on Screen is from the Florence Griswold Museum in Connecticut located at the former boarding house in Connecticut where the artists gathered .
Narrated by Gillian Anderson and directed by Phil Grabsky, with some voice over of artist’s letters of the time, it documents how the American impressionist movement followed its own path, whilst taking heed of leading French impressionists such as Renoir and Cezanne.
Remember when the ownership of a Holden or a Ford was tribal? The same kind of one car nation or the other raises its quaint and parochial head in the Swedish episodic comedy, A MAN CALLED OVE.
Curmudgeon sexagenarian Ove is a Saab man through and through, with unmitigated disdain for Volvo drivers, although that at least is better than Audi, – “four zeros on the grille and one behind the wheel” is his disparaging default.
Recently widowed, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door, the self appointed and opinionated neighbourhood watchman, with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave.
When suddenly retrenched, Ove decides that life is finally not worth living. He decides to commit suicide, but after a series of attempts, it appears that life is not ready to give up on Ove. Continue reading A MAN CALLED OVE→
If you think the Sydney lock out laws are Draconian, consider the Queensland State Government’s Alcohol Management Plan affecting the town of Doomadgee – a first offence penalty for possessing a full strength alcoholic beverage is a fine of $44,175 or incarceration if unable to pay.
Imagine that imposition to the beer swilling burgers of Sydney. The weekend paralytic would be apoplectic, yet this appalling apartheid prohibition is levelled at the indigenous inhabitants, further pathetic paternalism by a white society.
Back in 1930, white Christian missionaries thrashed indigenous culture out of the locals, now there is a concentrated effort to claw it back. Out of a population of a thousand, there were fourteen suicides in twelve months, due partly to alcohol and drugs which is part of the problem of dissociation that prevails in these communities. Continue reading ZACH’S CEREMONY : A NEW FILM BY AARON PETERSEN→
“The Smurfs” (2011) was the first film in the current franchise, and was quickly followed by the very successful “The Smurfs 2” (2013), and both were hybrids skillfully combining a live-action universe with a digitally animated CGI characters.
SMURFS – THE LOST VILLAGE is the latest film in the smurfs franchise, this time is fully digitally animated, and presents a brand new take on the Smurfs, and as experienced at the media screening, yet again SMURFS – THE LOST VILLAGE is a huge hit with very young children and their parents, with magnificent voice talents attached to the cast, and this is a very child-friendly kids fantasy movie for three-to-nine-year-olds.
One of the best films of the year, LAND OF MINE, is the cinematic cousin, or soul mate of The Hurt Locker and The Hill.
In a nutshell, this bombshell of a movie is set in the days following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, when German POWs held in Denmark were put to work by the Allied Forces. With minimal training in defusing explosives, they were sent to remove in excess of two million of their own landmines from the Danish west coast.
The film begins with our introduction to Sergeant Rasmussen, military moustached veteran of the Nazi occupation, going berserk at the sight of a soldier, part of a column of vanquished Germans soldiers filing down the road, draped in a Danish flag.
Originally created in 2015 this is a welcome return of resident choreographer Wayne McGregor’s three part work based on the life and works of Virginia Woolf.
McGregor’s three acts delve into three of Woolf’s novels, interwoven with images from her own life. The choreography is athletic and extremely demanding at times with death defying leaps and catches in the partnering and laser sharp legs .The Royal Ballet dancers are AMAZING.
Part of the French Film Festival, THE DANCER is exquisitely, lushly photographed with some sensational performances. A feast for the eyes, it is fascinating for those who love dance, even if the film is heavily fictionalised. Some of the film is in English, at other times it is in French with subtitles.
Stéphanie Di Giusto’s film follows the life of avant- garde dancer Loie Fuller (Soko) who was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, lived with her father in the boondocks, and after his sudden tragic death was sent to live with her strict, God fearing mother in New York before becoming a sensation in the world of dance, first in New York and then in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, inspiring artists the like of Toulouse- Lautrec and Rodin and esteemed scientists such as Marie Curie.
George Bernard Shaw’s ST JOAN, in a production directed by Josie Rourke at the Donmar, is the latest play in the NT Live screenings.
I had mixed feelings about Rourke’s production.Gemma Arterton as St Joan is superb, and the idea of updating the play to now with computers, mobile phones and rolling screens of financial statistics was intriguing but didn’t feel like it worked that well.
When the animated film BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was released in November 1991, the film became an instant classic.
With the film’s rich, beautiful, high quality level of animation and musical numbers that everyone loves and remembers, it belongs to an era known as the Disney Renaissance which includes films such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King.
This was a time when the studio was enjoying a resurgence in producing hit animated films. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the third highest grossing movie of the year, just behind Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The film made over $400 million; the highest ever grossing animated film up until that point.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song and was the first animated film in history to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It spawned direct to video sequels, a TV series, an award winning live theatre adaption and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
In recent years Disney has been experiencing success with live action remakes of its back catalogue of old animated films. First it was Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, then Maleficent, aremake of Sleeping Beauty in 2014, The Jungle Book in 2016, remake of the 1967 version. To list a few in the works are live action remakes of: The Lion King, Aladdin, Dumbo, Mulan and even a sequel to Mary Poppins scheduled for sometime in 2018.
I saw LOVING back in November and loved it. I saw LOVING again last week and loved it even more.
As good as Emma and Natalie and Isabel were, I was fervently rooting for Ruth Negga to win the Academy Award for her beautifully poised performance as Mildred Loving, a black woman who had the temerity of accepting a marriage proposal from a white man, Richard Loving, in the state of Virginia, United States of America, 1958.
The United States of America, contrary to its appellation, was not united in everything, as the Appalachian state continued with a miscegenist law about marriage. It was the state of Virginia, where the appropriately named Loving’s were making their home and starting a family, that first terrorised and humiliated them, then jailed them and then banished them for defying its law against interracial marriage. Continue reading LOVING : AN EXCEPTIONAL FILM BY JEFF NICHOLS→
Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Sam Neil, Judy Davis, Jackie Weaver, Rachel Griffiths, Geoffrey Rush, Bryan Brown and Eric Bana. To name a few. That’s the incredible line-up amassed for DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE.
A film critic can sometimes unearth an audience for a film that does not have the vast advertising techniques and budget that ensures a mass audience for a major movie, usually from a studio in Hollywood.
Such an excavator is David Stratton whose exuberance for the wide exhibition of quality films, especially those made in Australia, is extolled in this brilliant exultation of local films, DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE. Continue reading DAVID STRATTON : A CINEMATIC LIFE→
We’ve all probably done it. Pressed the intercom key release indiscriminately, thinking the caller is someone expected.
That’s what Rana does, expecting her husband as she prepares to take a shower.
The upshot is a devastating seismic incident, a potent aftershock to the earthquake that begins THE SALESMAN, this years recipient of the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
This Iranian bombshell explodes into an exploration of a couple imploding. School teacher Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and his wife Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) need new digs when their home is devastated by an earthquake.
The couple are also actors in an amateur Tehran production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and a member of their troupe arranges for them move into a new apartment, until recently occupied by a mysterious young woman. Continue reading THE SALESMAN→
The Alliance Française French Film Festival will return to Palace Cinemas throughout March and April with a host of contemporary movies and documentaries exemplifying the very best of France’s vibrant film industry.
Brimming with highlights, the 2017 event will present 45 films, unveiling the artistry of renowned directors ranging from Emmanuelle Bercot, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Nicole Garcia, Benoît Jacquot and Mia Hansen-Løve, to Philippe Lioret, Martin Provost, Jérôme Salle, Bertrand Tavernier and Roschdy Zem.
Helming the Festival for the first time, Artistic Director, Philippe Platel, has assembled a brilliant programme encompassing romance, adventure, comedy, historical tales, thrillers and dramas, that will be showcased across 10 aptly named sections, incorporating many Australian première screenings. Continue reading ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2017→
Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi’s feature film, THE SALESMAN, winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, tells the story of Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), actors playing the roles of husband and wife in a Tehran production of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
They are also husband and wife off-stage, sharing an apartment that is devastated by an earthquake.
Forced to move, a tragic incident changes their lives in ways they could never have predicted.
THE SALESMAN has been described as a powerful social critique that touches on themes of family, gender, and the chilling psychology of vengeance.
The film will be released nationally next Thursday, March 9.
The double passes offered with this post have been won.
Directed by Phil Grabsky this is an autobiographical exploration of the great Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s life based on his voluminous correspondence (over 2500 letters). The letters are mellifluously, eloquently read by Henry Goodman and in the background there is a dreamy soundscape including compositions by Satie.
Many of Monet’s works, over a hundred, now scattered around the globe, are luminously photographed in closeup so we can see the swirling brushstrokes.