WUDJANG: NOT THE PAST

After Welcome to Country, the house lights flicker and the audience is plunged into pitch black.

Bangarra’s bold new enterprise, WUDJANG: NOT THE PAST, begins in the present, the lights slowly dawning on the image of a metal mouth mining machine, an awesome auger, a metallic ogre, while a Yugambeh man sings in language of the anticipation of the exhumation of ancestral bones.

Epic in its sweep of history, culture and spirit, WUDJANG: NOT THE PAST is part musical, part opera, part drama, part ceremony making it fully theatrical – a potent potion of pure theatre.

Ceremony can be sombre, and certainly there is an underlying sadness in the story, but in essence, WUDJANG: NOT THE PAST is celebratory, a celebration of resilience, a celebration of resurgence, a celebration of regeneration.

Putting the celebration into perspective, WUDJANG: NOT THE PAST examines the precedents that have have brought us to the present, depicting the coming of the colonisers, starting with their flag planting pomp and disrespectful description of the land as His Majesty’s royal pigsty.

This morphs into a brilliant ballet about the introduction of sheep, a jolly jumbuck choreography that pulls our eyes over the woolly concept that the nation was built on the backs of sheep. Really? Whose backs?

Through song and dance and music and story, we are swept through the tumult of resistance and the trauma endured by massacre and misogyny, assassination of culture and language through forced assimilation.

Coruscating imagery created through movement and light conjures a choreographed equivalent of a zombie apocalypse, an unnatural disruption and displacement, a tangible dispiriting of a people.

There’s a healthy anger on show here and a rightful shaming for the commodifying of indigenous people, the rape of the women, the assault of spirit. In the spirit that it’s offered, accepting this healthy anger can only help in healing. Within the venom, there is the antivenin.

The truth is that the debt to truth is long overdue and the ledger needs to balanced.

Director Stephen Page has assembled a striking cohort of collaborators – co writer, Alana Valentine, language consultant, Donna Page, composer, Steve Francis, set designer, Jacob Nash, costume designer, Jennifer Irwin, lighting designer, Nick Schlieper, and musical director, Alan John.

The ensemble of actors and musicians is superb as is the core of Bangarra – the dancers, athletic, aesthetic, electric and thrilling.

WUDJANG: NOT THE PAST is unmissable and unforgettable.

 

DANCERS
Beau Dean Riley Smith, Rikki Mason, Rika Hamaguchi, Glory Tuohy-Daniell, Baden Hitchcock, Ryan
Pearson, Lillian Banks, Bradley Smith, Courtney Radford, Kassidy Waters, Kallum Goolagong, Gusta
Mara, Kiarn Doyle, Maddison Paluch, Daniel Mateo, Emily Flannery
CAST
Elaine Crombie, Jess Hitchcock, Elma Kris, Justin Smith
MUSICIANS
Brendon Boney, Amaru Derwent, Tessa Nuku, Véronique Serret
Wudjang: Not the Past
19 January12 February 2022Rosyln Packer Theatre, Sydney
1819 February 2022Theatre Royal, Hobart
1518 March 2022Adelaide Festival Centre
Tickets are available at: https://www.bangarra.com.au/productions/wudjang-not-the-past/

Photos by Daniel Boud.

Richard Cotter

THE PARK @ THE NEW THEATRE

This play, written by Simon Thomson, is a world premiere production. The play was shortlisted for the 2020 Silver Gull Play Award.

A small group of characters traverse a park, accosted by both the fantastical and the earthly. What terrors are brutally real, and what are imagined? And how do they deal with the consequences of their journeys as narrative threads reveal themselves to be increasingly intertwined?

In our collective psyches, parks are places of fun and relaxation during the day but take on darker, more threatening aspects at night. The benign becomes sinister as the sun goes down. Continue reading THE PARK @ THE NEW THEATRE

MONO : A THREE PERSON ONE MAN SHOW

Bunbury Productions is delighted to announce the first national tour of MONO, a comedy tour de farce from three of Australia’s best loved performers. 

Noeline Brown (The Naked Vicar Show), Max Gillies (The Gillies Report) and John Wood (Blue  Heelers) are the entire cast of “Mono”; the brand new classic comedy by Angus FitzSimons  (Senior Moments).  

“It’s always been a dream of mine to perform together individually with Max and John” says  Noeline Brown “I also still dream about sitting my final Latin exam and realising I have  forgotten to wear clothes, but this has nothing to do with promoting “Mono”. 

“It is an honour to be asked to do “King Lear” for the Bell Shakespeare Company,” says Max  Gillies “But they didn’t ask, so I’m doing “Mono”. 

“I think we could all do with a laugh at the moment” says John Wood “That’s why I watch  “Fawlty Towers” after rehearsals for “Mono” are thankfully over”.  

Producer and Dictator Angus FitzSimons says “It is a privilege to have these three legends as  the cast. Max, Noeline and John are household names and also recognised in flats.” 

MONO is a comedy revue play in the tradition of Joyce Grenfell, Alan Bennett and Bob  Newhart; with nine brilliant comic characters brought to life through hysterical monologues  in 90 minutes of wit, fun and laughter. 

What is MONO about? It’s about 90 minutes. It’s also about a hectoring Headmistress, a bad  Bush Poet (and he don’t know it), a puzzled Policeman, a meandering Minister, a chaotic  Conductor, a mindless “Mindfulness” teacher, a surreal Sotheby’s Auctioneer, and a very, very  sozzled Mother of the Bride. It’s about pure fun and about to be at a theatre near you in 2022.  

Tickets for “Mono” are available now via https://monoshow.com.au/ 

 

FILM CRITICS CIRCLE OF AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES NOMINATIONS FOR THE FILMS OF 2021

FCCA Nominations listed in Alphabetical Order

Best Film

High Ground
Producers: David Jowsey, Maggie Miles, Witiyana Marika, Greer Simpkin, Stephen Maxwell
Johnson

Nitram
Producers: Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell, Justin Kurzel, Shaun Grant

The Dry
Producers: Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Matterson, Steve Hutensky, Rob Connolly, Eric Bana

Best Director

Robert Connolly, The Dry

Stephen Maxwell Johnson, High Ground

Justin Kurzel, Nitram

Best Screenplay

Chris Anastassiades, High Ground

Robert Connolly & Harry Cripps, The Dry

Shaun Grant, Nitram

Best Cinematography

Sam Chiplin, Penguin Bloom

Andrew Commis, High Ground

Stefan Duscio, The Dry

Best Actor

Eric Bana, The Dry

Caleb Landry Jones, Nitram

Jacob Junior Nayinggul, High Ground

Best Actress

Judy Davis, Nitram

Noni Hazlehurst, June Again

Naomi Watts, Penguin Bloom

Best Actor Supporting Role

Anthony LaPaglia, Nitram

Sean Mununggurr, High Ground

Stephen Hunter, Ruby’s Choice

Best Actress- Supporting Role

Essie Davis, Nitram

Claudia Karvan, June Again

Miranda Tapsell, The Dry

NT LIVE : LEOPOLDSTADT : TEN DOUBLE PASSES

NTL 2022 Leopoldstadt – Clara Francis (Wilma). Photo Credit Marc Brenner
NTL 2022 Leopoldstadt – 11. Mark Edel-Hunt (Fritz). Photo Credit Marc Brenner
NTL 2022 Leopoldstadt – 19. Sam Hoare (Percy). Photo Credit Marc Brenner

The  latest National Theatre Live theatrical release Leopoldstadt is coming to select cinemas  on Thursday 5th February, 2022.

The play, written by “Britain’s greatest living playwright” (The Times), Tony and Academy Award-winner Tom Stoppard and directed by Patrick Marber is a passionate drama of love, family and endurance in the 20th Century.

Filmed live on stage in London’s West End, “Tom Stoppard’s masterpiece is magnificent” (Independent) and should not be missed.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Leopoldstadt was the old, crowded Jewish quarter of Vienna, Austria. But Hermann Merz, a factory owner baptised Jew now married to Catholic Gretl, has moved up in the world. We follow his family’s story across half a century, passing through the convulsions of war, revolution, impoverishment, annexation by Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. A company of 40 actors represent each generation of the family in this epic, but intimate play. Continue reading NT LIVE : LEOPOLDSTADT : TEN DOUBLE PASSES

OPERA AUSTRALIA : TURANDOT @ DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE

Above : Members of the Opera Australia Chorus. Photo credit: Prudence Upton. Featured Image: Members of the Opera Australia Chorus, Opera Australia Children’s Chorus and Yonghoon Lee as Calaf.

Many solid elements in this production ensure a fantastic night at the theatre is to be had. Any 2022 crowd, hungry for a dazzling live event will not be disappointed with this version of Turandot. Only the fantasy, finesse and joyously exaggerated visuals of opera could provide the mix of drama, divas, design success and music dripping in atmosphere to be enjoyed here.

Puccini’s tale of revenge, loyalty and love conquering cruelty is in safe hands here, almost two centuries after its as creatives and stellar cast bring this revival version back to the stage. Revival Director and former dancer Shane Placentino preserves the dynamic pacing and  momentum of Graham Murphy’s original direction and choreography.

The movement of the adult and children’s chorus in particular show the enduring success of Murphy’s genius in harnessing the courtly masses on the compact but beautifully lit Dame Joan Sutherland Theatre stage.  The chorus-heavy opening to this opera, with the court in the violent vice-like grip of vengeful Princess Turnadot is enhanced by the slick blocking and execution of the group emotion. The fine control of nicely nuanced chorus utterance was made complete with super-effective group movement.

Above : Yonghoon Lee and Lisse Lindstrom were strong adversaries in this production. Photo credit: Prudence Upton.

The set and costume design by Kristian Fredrikson continues to be a stunning starting point for this production. There is a paletteof  dark earthy tones in worn robes and strong tunic when the trio of King Timur, slave girl Liu and Prince Calaf unite. The visitors to court are played by Yonghoon Lee, David Parkin and Karah Son. They meet and travel in a blaze of humility across the extremes of the royal court, with outlandish royal costumes and sets to match.

Keen atmospheres with Asian flavour in Puccini’s score are nicely rolled into each other by conductor Renato Palumbo. Puccini’s shape-shifting through-composed soundtrack in Palumbo’s interperetation exquisitely supports stories from all characters in this troubled palace where suitors die if they cant guess impossible riddles.

The onstage chemistry between the characters of Liu, Timur and Calaf is definitely no ambiguous riddle. The stability in Yonghoon Lee’s powerhouse tenor is equally penetrating in the tender early scenes with the slave girl and his long lost father. Embracing  multifaceted choices for the various lyric moments, Lee sings with warmth of tone and expansive phrasing. This is heard  both in the dialogue surrounding the conforting ‘Non piangere Liu’ or the firm fighting spirit in the cleverly phrased and punctuated declamations in the mighty ‘Nessun Dorma’ much later on.

The acting and caricature in voice and well as movement endears David Parkin’s father figure of the persecuted Timur to us. His bass utterances are imbued with perfect bristling fragility.

Above: Ministers Pong, Pang and Ping. Played with great dramatic range, visual comedy and vocal variety by Virgilio Marino, Iain Henderson and Luke Gabbedy.

Impressive use of the stage and believeable verismo vignettes are  always present in Karah Son’s riveting depiction of Liu. The challenging vocal trajectories of her pleas to Calaf to forget the riddles of the cruel Turandot and stay safe show restraint and  admirable vocal control (‘Signore, ascolta!’ )

Karah Son’s intelligent verismo approach weaves her vocal lines around the music, stage setting and elasticity of emotion in the text. Shimmering, sudden leaps to silvery high register beauty or slow but steady orgzanic growth to climaxes as in the horror of the chilling pre-suicide ‘Tu che digel sei cinta’ to the cold, loveless Turandot are signs of a true diva in the making.

The trio of ministers tired of oranising rolling executions of suitors  are a joy to watch before the grisly treatment of Liu and Timur. Pong, Pang and Ping (Virgilio Marino, Iain Henderson and Luke Gabbedy) sing with lovely, veiled cantabile the nostalgic retirement-hungry ballad,  ‘Ho, una casa nell’ Honan’.

Above : Karah Son gives a compelling dramatic and vocal performance as Liu. Photo credit: Prudence Upton.

The role of the bitter princess Turandot is ruthlessness and anger personified, appearing first by travelling on a rolling bad-girl board. Experienced diva Lise Lindstrom towers above all others on the wheeled plinth, shining with icy fire in her non-earthy white gown and dark helmet of hair. Her dramatic soprano voice barks orders as mighty mute arm movements warn challenge about this larger than life body carve up the stage.

Thankfully the vocal sparring of the principals is up on the level of Lindstrom’s instensity. Her fiery and harsh arcs heard in the history lesson on ‘In questa reggia’ about her wronged female ancestor are matched in ensuing scenes by the choruses, other principals and especially the consistently full tone from Yonghoon Lee in the riddle guessing sccene  and in achingly beautiful scenes where he introduces the principessa to the sweet sound of love.

The challenging quick turnaround of evil princess to gentle lover that Puccini’s work demands of Turandot is handled with athletic scaling down of gesture and vocal colour by talented soprano Lise Lindstrom. The result is not trite or clumsy here and the warmth of this denouement on an attractive full stage is why people have been flocking to Puccini for centuries. Live opera still matters, and we are lucky to have Opera Australia and this production back with a virtuosic, variegated vengeance.

Turandot plays at the Sydney Opera House until March 14.

A CHORUS LINE @ RIVERSIDE THEATRE PARRAMATTA

A CHORUS LINE opened on Broadway in 1975. This classic Broadway musical has a unique storyline, and is one of the greatest musicals of all time according to critics and audiences, winning 9 TONY Awards, the Pulitzer Prize and 9 Drama Desk Awards. Played a record-breaking 6,137 Broadway performances over 15 years. Helpmann Award-nominated director and choreographer Amy Campbell, has added brand new choreography.

Production photography by Robert Catto

Huge fan of all the Broadway stories told during A CHORUS LINE, and this Sydney production is quite the best of the best, and even better than when A CHORUS LINE was at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney. This cast is perfect, each singing voice is perfect, each dancer is perfection, the entire cast are triple-threats. Yes I am biased, the casting, the direction, the costumes, the lighting and the set-design, are the best I have ever seen for A CHORUS LINE, and I will be seeing this production multiple times during the run.

Following two postponements due to the pandemic, this brand-new Sydney production will finally lay bare the struggles that performers face to be seen, heard, recognised and respected. “The back stories behind these twenty amazing roles, are based on the real-life anecdotes of Broadway dancers interviewed by Michael Bennett in his East Side studio, during one weekend in January 1974. Rivalry and wine paved the way to a weekend of divulged secrets about their upbringing, coming-of-age, sexuality and careers.” Conceived and originally directed on Broadway by Michael Bennett, and features music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban.

Quite unexpectedly, this production of A CHORUS LINE has an interval.

NOTHING is last song before the interval.
DANCE TEN, LOOKS THREE is the first song after the interval.

Just loved the clever use of the extra mirrors, in the ex-girlfriend Cassie sequence, with the song “The Music and the Mirror”.

“What I Did For Love” is superbly presented, and an absolute delight.

The finale show-stopper is “One”, and the costumes for “One” looked beautiful in silver, that perfectly matched the silver back drops. Highly recommended.

DURATION of approx. 140 minutes including the 20 minute interval.

Extra special thanks go to their Voice and Dialect Coach – LINDA NICOLLS-GIDLEY as the words “21 years old, I was born on a full moon in Herculaneum, Missouri . . . I’m from St. Louis, Missouri” were all correctly pronounced for a native speaker born in Missouri USA.

ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCES – The performance on Friday Night had two Auslan interpreters, bringing this musical to a brand new audience.

Sydney Festival presents the Darlinghurst Theatre Company production of A CHORUS LINE in association with Riverside Theatres.

A CHORUS LINE at RIVERSIDE THEATRE PARRAMATTA.
13th January until 22nd January 2022.

https://riversideparramatta.com.au/show/a-chorus-line/

Production photography by Robert Catto
Production photography by Robert Catto

Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Co-Choreographed by Bob Avian

Original Broadway production produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, Producer, in association with Plum Productions, Inc.
A CHORUS LINE is presented by permission of ORiGiN™ Theatrical on behalf of Tams-Witmark LLC, A Concord Theatricals Company.

STARRING
Zach – Adam Jon Fiorentino
Greg – Ryan Ophel
Don – Harry Targett
Mark – Maikolo Fetikoa
Mike – Lachlan Dearing
Al – Ross Chisari
Bobby – Max Bimbi
Larry – Brady Kitchingham
Paul – Ethan Ritchie
Ritchie – Tony Oxybel
Cassie – Angelique Cassimatis
Sheila – Nadia Coote
Maggie – Madeline Mackenzie
Judy – Angelina Thomson
Bebe – Natalie Foti
Vicky/Dance Captain – Molly Bugeja
Diana – Mariah Gonzalez
Val – Rechelle Mansour
Kristine – Suzanne Steel
Connie – Ashley Goh

CREATIVES
Director/Choreographer – Amy Campbell
Musical Director – Damon Wade
Music Supervisor – Andrew Worboys
Associate Director/Associate Choreographer – Sally Dashwood
Set Designer – Simon Greer
Lighting Designer – Peter Rubie
Costume Designer – Christine Mutton
Associate Musical Director – Zara Stanton

Company Manager – Jonathan Ware
Production Manager – Amellia Bruderlin
Stage Manager – Maree Delvecchio
Wardrobe Supervisor – Evelyn Everaerts-Donaldson
Head Electrician – Matt Quince
Voice and Dialect Coach – Linda Nicolls-Gidley
Assistant Stage Manager – Lillian Lee
Microphone Technician – Ashleigh King
Production photography by Robert Catto

ELYSHA MANIK
Assistant to the Choreographer/ Sheila cover and Kristine cover

NATASHA MARCONI
Diana cover

TIM DASHWOOD
Zach cover

https://www.darlinghursttheatre.com/achorusline

Production photography by Robert Catto





C’MON C’MON WITH JOAQIN PHOENIX : FIVE DOUBLE PASSES

 

In  Mike Mills’s Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story about the connections between adults and children, the past and the future, from writer-director Mike Mills.

The  film was the Official Selection in the Telluride Film Festival 2021, the New York Film Festival 2021 and was shot in glorious black and  white.

Written and directed by Mike Mills the film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffman and Woody Norman.

You can watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/IDRgBcqz2V8

C’Mon C’Mon will release  in cinemas  on Thursday February 17, 2022.

Courtesy of Transmission Films Sydney Arts Guide has five in season double passes to give away.

Email editor.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com with C’Mon C’Mon Promotion in the subject heading and your postal address in the body off your email.

Winners will be advised by email

 

 

 

 

SYDNEY FESTIVAL : JOSEPH TAWADROS QUARTET @ SPEAKERS CORNER.

Above :  The Sydney Festival Speakers Corner venue was perfect to showcase the works of Joseph Tawadros. Photo credit : Prudence Upton.  Featured image : The Joseph Tawadros Quartet: Matt McMahon-piano, Jospeh Tawadros-oud, Jamess Tawadros-Egyptian percussion, Karl Dunnicliff -double bass. Phot: Prudence Upton.

The vibe at this year’s Sydney Festival’s Speakers Corner venue is one of a safe, special chilled excitement. We escape from the larger Sydney environment with its current challenges to focus on quality
collaborations and fresh musical experiences on a well designed and expertly lit stage space complerte with close-up screens on each side.

The compositions on offer this night were taken  from  Joseph Tawadros’ five Aria-Award winning albums, including the recent Hope In An Empty City, as well as Permission to Evaporate plus live albums and recordings collaborating with major exponents of blues, jazz and other genres. These versatile works, often of substantial length were seamlessly laid out before us with spontaneity, finesse and easy virtuosity.

The engaging ensemble dialogue between all virtuosi on stage maintained the  requisite immediacy of atmosphere  for contrasting  sections and the colouring -in of the intelligent narrative or theme for each descriptive title. No mean feat as much of this music was conceived or often performed for much larger ensembles, orchestral-plus-oud world music and classical music crossovers or quite contrasted instrumentation  to the quartet here heard.

Above: (L to R) Joseph Tawadros playing oud and his brother James on req. Photo credit : Prudence Upton.

Tawadros’ presentation at Speakers Corner, a return to the stage after returning to Australia, from years in the UK confirmed his matured prodigy’s intelligent and respectful approach to all source cultures, musical systems and humanity  inspiring the writing. His brief, no-holds barred commentary was dripping with down-to-earth humours, much needed at this time.  These introductions briefly alluded to the diverse architectures and emotional snapshots of the  fusion works, this artists’s local and international experience  and his obvious love of ensemble collaboration.

The proof of any level of creative and perforning genius is in the ease  and clarity with which the story is told and each fresh scene set. Track after track here was brought to magical life through the energy of Tawadros’ huge stamina on the oud,  providing a varied tapestry over which the group’s interactions unfolded.  His joy in collaboration and in the trajectory on the tracks was gripping and contagious in all the right ways.

Keyboard music in the hands of Matt McMahon on piano was full of multifaceted hues and penetrating tone. His skilful inflection transmitted accompaniments and interludes-such as the scene setting in ‘Permissiion To Evaporate’ with excellently paced mood-setting. This was music to sink right into, only to be further built on by oud, percussion and bass.

Above : The Joseph Tawadros Quartet. Photo credit : Prudence Upton.

Joseph Tawadros’ empathy for and experimentation with non-Egyptian musics such as Baroque, blues and contemporary classical has always extended this musician’s core musical position, and extended the potential and compositional canon for the oud.

The conclusion of the programme with ‘Bluegrass Nikriz’ from the Aria -Award-winning 2014 album  Permission to Evaporate was a perfect example of the above, and the perfect showcase for the other Tawadros virtuoso on the stage, James on the Egyptian req, a traditional tambourine-like. instrument.

James Tawadros’ super-sensitive and outstanding degree of dextrous nuance on this instrument was a stunning start to this work.  An incredibly joyous melange of oud as bluegrass banjo and elaboration of the Nikriz mode was a thrill to witness. . The introduction of James’ instrument and the muqum nikriz alongside typical blugrass progressions was a successful finale. It celebrated this quartet too as it capably performed music often distributed across a large orchestra.

Song titles such as ‘Give or Take’,  ‘Sleight Of Hand’, ‘Chameleon’  and  ‘Dreaming Hermit’ promised interesting stories and musical attitudes. We were not disappointed at the expanse of gesture, extent of performing energy and richness of exchange between the instruments which followed the introductions to each moment of music.

The blend of instruments from their states of cultural origin and instrumental families across the James Tawadros Quartet in this reunion was strong and so well suited to delivering the popular tracks from this musicians discography. For those used to orchestral versions and many recorded guises of the music, the shift to this quartet accent was never jarring.  This talented groups individual and combined ensenble lines filled the venue, our Festival hearts and the still night in an incredibly deep and rewarding way.

 

 

 

JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL ONLINE FEBRUARY 2022

THE JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL UNVEILS FREE ONLINE PROGRAM FEATURING CUTTING-EDGE JAPANESE CINEMA 

From a futuristic existential animation about androids to a culturally rich documentary delving into the art of ramen-making, the Japanese Film Festival: Online returns from 14-27 February 2022 with a free streamed Festival featuring the best in Japanese cinema.

The 2022 Festival presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney will screen 17 films nation-wide for free, including feature films and documentaries. JFF Online 2022 marks the second time The Japan Foundation, Sydney will screen the festival across Australia to enjoy online.

Japanese Film Festival Director, Yurika Sugie said, “JFF Online invites Australian audiences to celebrate the richness of Japanese cinema from the comfort of their own homes, with an eclectic virtual program traversing the hottest new international film festival award-winners, past JFF favourites and cult hits.”

Japanese Film Festival Programmer, Susan Bui said, “Enjoy cutting-edge titles from Japan’s finest auteurs in tandem with Japanophiles from 25 countries world-wide as part of this exciting global initiative.”

FEATURES

Aristocrats | 2020 | Director: Yukiko Sode
A humanistic drama that questions the state of contemporary life through the perspectives of two female protagonists of different backgrounds.Winner of 2021 Luxembourg City Film Festival Grand Prix Prize.

AWAKE | 2020 | Director: Atsuhiro Yamada
A thrilling coming-of-age drama depicting the fateful battle between a professional shogi player and a shogi software developer.

Bread of Happiness | 2012 | Director: Yukiko Mishima
Heart-warming dramedy about a cafe in the middle of the great outdoors serving delicious bread and coffee to people with pain in their hearts.

Happy Flight | 2008 | Director: Shinobu Yaguchi
An ensemble aviation comedy delving into the response of on-the-ground staff, cabin attendants and pilots during an emergency flight from Tokyo to Honolulu.

Her Love Boils Bathwater (JFF 2017) | 2016 | Director: Ryо̄ta Nakano
Featuring Japanese Academy Award winning performances from Rie Miyazawa and Hana Sugisaki (Pieta in the Toilet, JFF 2015), the film delves into the powerful bond between a strong-willed and deeply-loving mother and her family.

It’s A Summer Film (JFF 2021) | 2020 | Director: Sо̄shi Masumoto
An innovative coming-of-age masterpiece about a high schooler who is obsessed with old samurai films and sets out to craft her own film project.

Ito | 2021 | Director: Satoko Yokohama
A touching drama about a shy country girl who chooses a part-time job at a “maid café”. Winner of the 2021 Osaka Asian Film Festival Grand Prix and Audience Award.

Masked Ward (JFF 2021) | 2020 | Director: Hisashi Kimura
A tense mystery set in the eerie confines of a hospital, where a chilling psychological battle unfolds and eventually leads into a chain of surprising twists.

Mio’s Cookbook (JFF 2021) | 2020 | Director: Haruki Kadokawa
An invigorating period drama exploring friendship and the art of cooking about a young chef who dreams of being reunited with her best friend.

Oz Land | 2018 | Director: Takafumi Hatano
An adventure-drama exploring the journey of a new employee assigned to an amusement park, and the fun-filled chronicles of her growing pains.

ReLIFE (JFF 2017) | 2017 | Director: Takeshi Furusawa
A peculiar love story about a 27-year-old who is granted the opportunity to re-live his high school years and explore new destinies.

The Chef of South Polar (JFF 2009) | 2009 | Director: Shuichi Okita
A classic Japanese comedy film that follows the bittersweet and charming daily lives of a group of men living in the Antarctic, where their only joy is to eat.

The Floating Castle (JFF 2012) | 2012 | Director: Shinji Higuchi and Isshin Inudо̄
Riveting historical spectacle about the samurai who stands up for their dignity during Japan’s civil war period.

Time of EVE the Movie (JFF 2010) | 2010 | Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura
A moving exploration of the nature of emotions seen through the lens of interactions between humans and androids.

Until the Break of Dawn | 2012 | Director: Yūichirо̄ Hirakawa
Spiritual drama starring award-winning Japanese actor Tо̄ri Matsuzaka (The Blood of Wolves) in a tale about the inner conflicts of those who seek contact with the dead.

DOCUMENTARIES

Sumodo ~ The Successors of Samurai ~ (JFF 2021) | 2020 | Director: Eiji Sakata
An eye-opening and rare behind-the-scenes exploration of the lives of famous sumo wrestlers.

The God of Ramen (JFF 2013) | 2013 | Director: Takashi Innami
A mouth-watering examination of the life of Kazuo Yamagishi, founder of a legendary ramen shop in Tokyo, who had an immense influence on the Japanese ramen industry.

Full program and streaming details available at: www.japanesefilmfestival.net 

FESTIVAL DETAILS:
WHAT: Japanese Film Festival Online 2022
WHEN: 14 Feb – 27 Feb 2022
WHERE: Streaming online in 25 countries including Australia
TICKETS: FREE, registration required
LANGUAGE(S): Japanese with English subtitles
Stay up to date with JFF:
JFF Australia website: www.japanesefilmfestival.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/japanesefilmfest
Instagram: www.instagram.com/japanesefilmfest
Twitter: www.twitter.com/japanfilmfest

Continue reading JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL ONLINE FEBRUARY 2022

CASULA POWERHOUSE ANNOUNCES 67TH BLAKE PRIZE FINALIST

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) has announced 65 finalists for the 67th Blake Prize – one of Australia’s longest-standing and most prestigious prize.

The Blake Prize is a biennial event that engages local and international contemporary artists in conversations on the broader experience of spirituality, religion, and belief. The selected finalists will show their work at The 67th Blake Prize exhibition on 12 March – 22 May 2022.

The majority of this year’s finalists come from Australia, representing every state and territory in the nation. Many cultures and religions from across the globe are represented in the works, including Mexico, Japan, Iran, the Philippines, Israel and China. The themes explored within the finalist works include introspective explorations of spirituality, the natural world, xenophobia and racism, gender, Australian identity and COVID-19.

“This year’s Blake Prize finalists have delivered an incredible range of artworks, from painting, photography, sculpture, installation and digital media works exploring the wider experience of spirituality, religion and belief,” said CPAC Director Craig Donarski. 

Continue reading CASULA POWERHOUSE ANNOUNCES 67TH BLAKE PRIZE FINALIST

SUMMER CITY STREET CLOSURES TO KICK START 2022

Glorious Sousaphonics are among the performers at the KX Streets event on 22 January

The City of Sydney is making more outdoor space available to the community as it kicks off 2022 with a series of special street closures that will allow residents to enjoy the outdoors and support business.

Spread across a number of weekends in January and February, the ‘Summer Streets’ program will see main streets in some of the city’s villages closed to traffic from 11am to late in the evening to encourage people to re-engage with the businesses in their local area.

“Having brunch with friends, a wine after work or grabbing a quick bite and watching the world go by are some of the best moments of urban life. Being able to shop, dine or drink on our footpaths and roadways make it easier for us to enjoy those things and support local businesses in a Covid-safe way,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

Retailers and hospitality venues in the city’s villages are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summer Streets’ program with special events or offers. Roving performers and entertainers will help bring the streets to life during each event. Continue reading SUMMER CITY STREET CLOSURES TO KICK START 2022

GALLERY Guy Morgan Artist : A NEW GALLERY FOR INNER SYDNEY

Guy Morgan

A vibrant new Surry Hills gallery is presenting exhibitions, artist talk dinners, music and life drawing sessions every Friday from 28 January 2022!

Guy Morgan, the well-known, award-winning local artist – with multiple hangings in Australian art exhibitions including the Archibald Prize – opened his 531 Crown Street Gallery last year. Now – post-lockdown – Guy has launched a must-see program of events in his gallery to start the new year in style.

Friday Nights in the Gallery has teamed with City of Sydney and local businesses to bring terrific events to Surry Hills:

  • New exhibitions monthly from 28 January;
  • Fortnightly Life Drawing sessions from 4 February; and
  • Exclusive special art dinners – each with intimate talks from two celebrated contemporary artists and art professionals.  The first dinner on 11 February features Tania Wursig and Prof. Shane Smithers.

Continue reading GALLERY Guy Morgan Artist : A NEW GALLERY FOR INNER SYDNEY

THE GODFATHER TURNS 50 : EXCLUSIVE RE-RELEASE

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award®-winning* masterwork The Godfather, Paramount Pictures announced today that the film will have a limited theatrical release in Dolby Vision beginning February 25, 2022. 

All three films in the epic trilogy have been meticulously restored under the direction of Coppola and will be made available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever on March 23, 2022.

“I am very proud of The Godfather, which certainly defined the first third of my creative life,” said Francis Ford Coppola.  “With this 50th anniversary tribute, I’m especially proud Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is included, as it captures Mario and my original vision in definitively concluding our epic trilogy. It’s also gratifying to celebrate this milestone with Paramount alongside the wonderful fans who’ve loved it for decades, younger generations who still find it relevant today, and those who will discover it for the first time.” Continue reading THE GODFATHER TURNS 50 : EXCLUSIVE RE-RELEASE

NEW YEAR EVE FIREWORKS 2022

As was the case last year, there was  a lot of controversy as to whether this year’s fireworks should be held.

Nonetheless, as with last year, the decision was made to once again light up the Bridge and Harbour.

In these gloomy times it gave some fiery and  glittering explosions of hope and  escape from pessimism.

 

 

All images by Ben Apfelbaum

44 SEX ACTS IN ONE WEEK @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

44 SEX ACTS IN ONE WEEK is just so much wonderful cabaret fun for adults, who just want to laugh out loud. Especially during a pandemic, that never seems to want to go away. The huge laughs are set in these two years, 2022 and 2080. A very live and fully staged radio play, a quite sexual rom-com with audience participation, plus live sound effects, even funnier when un-synced too. Just what the doctor ordered, when the end of civilisation is upon us, via covid-19-omicron.

Celina is the clickbait journalist, that is forced to repeatedly have sex with her enemy, the office mail boy Alab Delusa. By Friday, she must fully experience a brand new sexual journey for herself, by using the book called “The 44 Different Kinds of Sex Acts That Will Change Your Life”, she will be participating in trying all 44 kinds, starting with vanilla, and then loads of kinky kink, including greek, roller-door, pegging, fetishes, BDSM, polyamory, exhibitionism, role-play, orgies etc. Safe sex using a condom is also explained.

The book and the play ignored some additional sex acts that probably can be found in the book JOY OF SEX and completely missed out on showing/explaining heavy-petting, ménage à trois, soixante-neuf, spanish, french, hand in the bush, golden showers, double penetration, etc etc.

Smacking the rockmelon with a banana, and eating out the watermelon, in order to simulate sex on stage, multiple fruits are destroyed. Plastic aprons and tarpaulins are put to very good use, as is the swimming pool built for four.

Developed with the support of Belvoir, 44 SEX ACTS IN ONE WEEK is part of the Artists at Work Initiative.

STARRING – Rebecca Massey, Keith Robinson, Emma Harvie, Priscilla Doueihy, Matt Hardie.
Playwright – David Finnigan.
Director – Sheridan Harbridge.
Lighting and Set Design by Trent Suidgeest.
Foley Director, Sound Design and Composition by Steve Tolumin.
Photographs by Brett Boardman.

Duration of 75 MINUTES with NO INTERVAL.

Content Warnings: Adult themes, sexual references, strong language, strobe lighting and haze. Only suitable for adult audiences.

Seymour Centre from the 12th until 16th January 2022, as part of Sydney festival.

https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/events/44-sex-acts-in-one-week

 






 

 

 

AT WHAT COST? : COMING TO UPSTAIRS @ BELVOIR STREET

Young Palawanese playwright Nathan Maynard (The Season, Hide the Dog), a Trawlwoolway, Pakana/Palawa man, was awarded the Balnaves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship in 2019, supporting the writing and development of At What Cost?.

In Maynard’s home state of Lutrawita (Tasmania), Boyd’s got enough on his plate between keeping a family together and his responsibilities to land and people. But something’s happening. Every year more and more folk are claiming to be Palawa too. Folk no-one’s heard of until now, who haven’t been ‘round before. Are they legit? Or are they ‘tick-a- box’? Who decides? And how? If Boyd’s going to take everyone forward, they’re all going to have to go back, old mob or new, into the island’s knotty past. And they might not like what they find there… Continue reading AT WHAT COST? : COMING TO UPSTAIRS @ BELVOIR STREET

HEAD ON PHOTO EXHIBITION @ BONDI BEACH

It is our good fortune that the Head On Festival decided to extend the photographic entries to its competition until the 30th January .

Inclement weather meant that many people were deterred from visiting and viewing  this cornucopia of photography. In addition stormy conditions at Bondi Beach damaged some of the photos along  its promenade.

Kinder weather means that you can visit the exhibits which stretch from the very north of Bondi to the very south near the Bondi Icebergs.

This north of the wide steps to the sand comprise of mainly photo essays.

There are also some photos essays to the south but the main attraction here are the prizewinners and finalists in the various categories of the competition.

Many of the photos and essays have detailed captions explaining the aim and context of the images. Continue reading HEAD ON PHOTO EXHIBITION @ BONDI BEACH

SKETCH COLLECTIVE GALLERY : SYDNEY’S NEWEST ART GALLERY

Sydney’s already bustling neighbourhood, Surry Hills, welcomes a new addition this month with the opening of the hybrid creative environment Sketch Collective. Part art gallery and part integrated agency, the destination will be home to original works from a plethora of up and coming artists as well as operating as a marketing business.

Opening with its inaugural show to the public as of now, Sketch Collective Gallery, the art side of Sketch Collective, is the brainchild of art-loving marketeer Caroline Heslop. Driven by her vision to make art more accessible, Heslop has spent the best part of 2021 curating a roster of emerging Australian based artists. Sourcing talent through a range of traditional and novel routes, the team secured artists by scrolling on Instagram and striking up conversations on the street.

Speaking about the opening of Sketch Collective’s new space, Founder & Director Caroline Heslop noted, “I wanted to create a space that combined my dual passions and experiences in art and marketing. The gallery will focus on celebrating, promoting and growing the domestic emerging art scene as well as educating newcomers to the world of art and collecting original works. The goal is to democratise art and that is why pieces will be capped out at $5,000 with an entry-level of $350. Continue reading SKETCH COLLECTIVE GALLERY : SYDNEY’S NEWEST ART GALLERY

JOSE LUIS PUCHE : THE LEGACY OF WATER @ THE OLSEN GALLERY

JOSÉ LUIS PUCHE
Poppy Seeds, 2021
oil pastel, charcoal, pencil on Saunders Waterford Paper
113 x 153 cm

OLSEN proudly presents ‘The Legacy of Water’, an exhibition of new paintings by José Luis Puche (b. Spain, 1976) curated by Kate Smith.

“In my work, water is the driver that transforms everything, the driver of my drawings, created by water splashing and pounding the paper, occasionally with some violence, as nothing new can exist without the material and visual onslaught of what had formerly been there. Water nourishes us, connects continents and begets life, even beyond the confines of our planet, in the universe, where water might be a sign of life. Thus, water applied to drawing can be understood as the last communicative language, from constructive and procedural sketching to its transformation into artistic matter, according to how the water has fallen upon the charcoal and the paper, how it might organically drip down, tracing its own furrows, rivers and tributaries, dragging down all the matter along its course until whatever is not meant to be part of the work has dripped onto the ground. What is left behind, by way of evidence, of the action, the drive and the force is the legacy that water leaves on the work, what infuses life and existence to it.
 
These works are reflections on victory, light, magic, unsettling landscapes and objects that quietly connect with the observer, an array of situations that rather than belong to the realm of images, actually pertain to the eye of the beholder, who arranges and interprets them – based on his or her past experience – in order to grant the observer’s very own and even intimate sense to every one of the works.” José Luis Puche

Exhibition runs 19 January – 05 February 2022

Olsen Gallery
63 Jersey Road, Woollahra NSW 2025
T: +61 2 9327 3922
info@olsengallery.com

Tuesday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm

THE 355 : BY THE NUMBERS

 

Make room 007, there’s a new number to figure in the espionage action genre – THE 355.

Comparisons with 007 are irresistible – the globe trotting, the glamour, the gadgets. But this is more a team effort, more Mission Impossible than the Bonds, and more equitable in its representation of individuals from various intelligence agencies forming a collective to kick arse and save the world.

A sort of leadership is supplied by wild card CIA agent Mason “Mace” Brown, who, after initial scuffles with rival German agent Marie, instigates an “if you can’t beat em, join em” invitation to a unit consisting of former MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist Khadijah, and skilled but reluctant field agent, Colombian psychologist Graciela.

True to formula, THE 355 rockets around the globe from the cafes of Paris to the markets of Morocco to the wealth and glamour of Shanghai, as this quartet of kick arse women shoot, punch, run, jump, drive, dive, fly, flirt and generally run rings around big swinging dick boys with toys.

It is preposterously good fun with a cast that commits to the fantasy. Penelope Cruz is especially good as the gun shy shrink and Diane Kruger displays the athletic agility, dogged determination and astounding stamina you want in an alpha actioner.

After a fairly tight and tense opening sequence, THE 355 settles into the comfy settee of formulaic action film with some explosive set pieces and plot holes you can fly a Hercules through but what the hell, the chemistry of this cast is the exquisite experience here as well as the lush locations.

THE 355 is a darn site better experience than Charlie’s Angels and may or may not spawn a series of sequels, or a franchise in the jargon of studio suits.

But if they can conspire to coerce the same cast I, for one, won’t object.

Directed by Simon Kinberg from a screenplay by Kinberg and Theresa Rebeck, THE 355 plays as a guilty pleasure of popcorn accompanying mayhem, competent without being surprising, solid without being sensational, geo-politically naive but gender political on point.

The blokes don’t come out of this at all well, nor does the CIA. The title comes from a clandestine code for a deep cover female agent intrinsic in the American War of Independence. Now there’s an origin story I’d like to see.

FLICKEFEST SHORT FILM FESTIVAL ALMOST HERE

Flickerfest is almost here!

Now in its 31st year Flickerfest, Australia’s only Academy and BAFTA Qualifying short film festival returns to Bondi Beach kicking off on Friday 21st Jan with a red carpet opening night highlights screening and afterparty.

The perfect celebration of summer and cinema, Flickerfest screens over 200 of the best short films from at home and across the world, handpicked from a record 3,200 entries in a kaleidoscopic carnival of shorts.

Flickerfest will be held in a Covid Safe bespoke festival garden on the shores of Bondi Beach which will include The Famous Spiegeltent for indoor screenings, an outdoor deckchair cinema under the stars and a panoramic garden bar area.

Come along and enjoy 200 of the best short films from at home and across the world handpicked from a record 3200 entries and curated into an inspiring contemporary mix of International, Australian, Comedy, LGBTQI, and family sessions that offer an upbeat, entertaining and unique cinema experience. Continue reading FLICKEFEST SHORT FILM FESTIVAL ALMOST HERE

SYDNEY REVIEWS OF Screen + Stage + Performing Arts + Literary Arts + Visual Arts + Cinema + Theatre +