FROM THE VINE: THE GRAPES OF FROTH

Joe Pantoliano plays Marco Gentile in FROM THE VINE, a mid life crisis return to your roots scenario based on the award winning novel of the same name by Ken Cancellara.

Pantoliano has made a career playing hard arse characters in series like The Sopranos and movies like MEMENTO, and it’s refreshing to see him soften somewhat in this wistful romantic comedy laced with magic realism.

Park the pervading tone of privileged despair and enjoy being driven around the region of Acerenza, as picturesque as any Italian province with its fair share of laid back lunatics including cops, squatters and priests.

After an altercation with the board of which he was CEO, Toronto based Marco decides to return to the area of his birth and restore his grandfather’s vineyard.

With little consultation with his wife, Marina, he lands in Acerenza, closes his retirement account and sets to making wine. She follows some weeks later in high dudgeon but she too falls under the spell of the more relaxed atmosphere of small town Italy as opposed to pressure cooker Canadian city.

Then his estranged daughter, Laura, flies in, in even higher dudgeon, and lo and behold, she is smitten by the place and a personable young Italian man.

It’s rom mom com and daughter too, so FROM THE VINE is a family affair, celebrating la dolce vita.

Location, location, location screams from the screen as Acerenza visually beguiles and bewitches, a bucolic fantasy of displaced bourgeois.

The cast is attractive, with Wendy Crewson as Marina, Paula Brancati as Laura, and Melbourne born Marco Leonardi as the local cop, Luca, a lovely louche and laconic performance.

Willem Wennekers workman like script suffices, ditto Sean Cisterna’s direction. The heavy lifting is the casting and the cinematography by Scott McClellan, who beautifully captures the stunning streets, country side and architecture of this amazing location.

From the Vine

UNSW GALLERIES PADDINGTON : THREE EXHIBITIONS WORTH VISITING

A kiln prop in ceramist Kirsten Coelho’s studio

Ceramicist Kirsten Coelho’s largest exhibition in Sydney is currently gracing an upstairs gallery at the UNSW Galleries in Paddington. The space is atmospheric with dim lighting and strategically positioned spotlights to best show off her delicate, predominantly white forms with a dramatic play of shadows. Their installations – groupings and solo objects – command the space with their presence. Their staging invites contemplation and reflection upon the artist’s theme and inspiration – The Return – Odysseus’ return to Ithaca – and the ruins of Pompeii.

Moving through the darkened room, lots of meanings come to mind. Where the names Ithaca and Shore are employed we are directed to think of a sea shore or ancient cityscape. As a metaphor of a city, the vessels are perfect with individuality in their shapes yet devoid of variety in their softly textured white surfaces – stating diversity exists without naming it. Each vessel houses untold stories – anonymous, untold lives.  Let each observer reflect their own understanding. Continue reading UNSW GALLERIES PADDINGTON : THREE EXHIBITIONS WORTH VISITING

LIVING LEGEND: GULPILIL MURAL

Check it out! https://youtu.be/N1jN6mp-o5U

The paint has just dried on a striking new mural celebrating the life and legacy of Yolŋu actor, dancer, singer and painter, David Gulpilil AM on the east wall of TANDANYA National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, on Kaurna Country, Adelaide.

Designed by South Australian artist, Ngarrindjeri man Thomas Readett and approved by Gulpilil personally, the hand-painted mural was commissioned by ABCG Film in collaboration with TANDANYA National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, and supported by Arts South Australia, Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Screen Australia’s P&A Plus program.

The mural acknowledges the extraordinary life and career of Gulpilil, referencing both his Yolŋu culture and Country, as well as his current chosen home of Murray Bridge in South Australia. The mural was hand-painted over three days by Readett together with Apparition Media artist Laura Jackson.

Artist Thomas Readett said “It’s my absolute honour to be involved in this project, painting David Gulpilil and creating a mural that celebrates his life and legacy. It’s really important to have murals like this that celebrate First Nations Peoples, and it’s great seeing how the public and community respond.”

Premier of South Australia, Hon Steven Marshall MP said “David Gulpilil is a national icon who has a long connection to South Australia, from his much-loved role in Storm Boy (1976), to currently living here, which is why we are thrilled for TANDANYA National Aboriginal Cultural Institute to be the home of a permanent mural in his honour.”

CEO of TANDANYA National Aboriginal Cultural Institute Dennis Stokes said “As the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, we pay tribute to the living legend David Gulpilil with this mural. It is important for our community to acknowledge and to thank him.”

General Manager of TANDANYA Gemma Page said “Bringing together First Nations artist Thomas Readett with Apparition Media – the team behind the stunning Adam Goodes mural in Sydney and the Gurrumul mural in Darwin – has created something very special, impactful and meaningful. We’ve had so many calls and emails with positive feedback.”

Apparition Media’s Tristan Minter said “Apparition Media is proud to be part of producing this amazing mural immortalising David Gulpilil. Thomas Readett is an amazing artist and we are privileged to support him in making this piece come to life.”

Filmmaker Rolf de Heer said “David’s impact on Australian cinema is profound. I think he’s changed the way we perceive it is possible to make cinema in this country.

Word of the mural has spread fast on social media with acknowledgement from all around Australia as well as the Pacific and as far away as the UK and Argentina, in a show of the worldwide respect for the national screen icon.

In 2021 Gulpilil marked his 50th year in Australian cinemas with the release of his film My Name is Gulpilil. The film received principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the Adelaide Film Festival and the South Australian Film Corporation. Financed with support from the ABC. Special thanks to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

ABOUT THE MURAL DESIGN

The images represented in the mural include a young David Gulpilil in 1978, from a filmed production in which Gulpilil performs traditional dances on Country representing The Kangaroo, The Emu and The Fish. 3 Dances Gulpilil can be viewed in the National Film and Sound Archive’s online David Gulpilil Collection. https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/3-dances-gulpilil

The second, older image was taken almost 30 years later, as part of the publicity campaign for Ten Canoes, by photographer Adam Taylor. Based on Gulpilil’s lifelong wish to make a film on his Country about his people, Ten Canoes (2006) was the first Australian feature film to be made entirely in Australian Indigenous language, and marked a turning point in Australian cinema history.

Directed by Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr Ten Canoes won the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize at Cannes, was Australia’s official submission for the Oscars and achieved almost $4mil at the Australian box office.

HAPPY DAYS : SAMUEL BECKETT MAKES THEM AS BLACK AS NIGHT

Lex Marinos in Red Line production of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Happy Days’. Pic Robert Catto

As theatrical images go, there is no starker image than that which greets audiences at the beginning of Act 2  of  Samuel Beckett’s HAPPY DAYS.  The main character, Winnie, is buried up to her neck in a mound.

Not far behind is the image, at the play’s climax, of her husband Willie climbing up the mound to reach  out to her.

Through the play Winnie has been trying to communicate with Willie to little avail. Willie has been responding to her in grunts.

Now Willie is trying to reach out to Winnie, when she doesn’t have a free arm to grasp onto him?!

Not funny. Just like the play isn’t about happy days. Hardly. Continue reading HAPPY DAYS : SAMUEL BECKETT MAKES THEM AS BLACK AS NIGHT

BANGARRA DANCE THEATRE : SANDSONG : STORIES FROM THE GREAT SANDY DESERT

 

Warning:  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains the name of someone who has passed.  The family of Ningali Lawford-Wolf has given the media permission to use her name.

‘Bangarra Dance Theatre’, founded in 1989 by American dancer, Carole Y. Johnson, evolved from both Johnson’s dance workshops in the 1970s, and the formation of the “Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre” in the 1980s.

‘Bangarra’ is a Wiradjuri word meaning “to make fire”.

Stephen Page was appointed Artistic Director in 1991, and Associate Artistic Director, Frances Rings, joined him in 2019.

‘Bangarra’ has established itself as Australia’s leading cultural performing arts company and tours nationwide and internationally. Continue reading BANGARRA DANCE THEATRE : SANDSONG : STORIES FROM THE GREAT SANDY DESERT

COME FROM AWAY : WONDERFUL THINGS HAPPEN WHEN PEOPLE WORK TOGETHER

 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, when terrorist attacks in Washington and New York closed US airspace for the first time in its history.

It was then that 38 planes carrying nearly 7.000 passengers from over 100 countries were diverted to a tiny island called Gander in Newfoundland, Canada affectionately known by locals as ‘The Rock’.

Over the following five days the locals took care of the influx of  passengers, affectionally known as the ‘come from aways’, until US airspace freed up again, and they were able to get up in the air again.

The operation undertaken by these Canadians was named Operation Yellow Ribbon.

Canadian writing team, David Hein and Irene Sarkoff

Continue reading COME FROM AWAY : WONDERFUL THINGS HAPPEN WHEN PEOPLE WORK TOGETHER

ONCE : THE STAGE TRANSFORMS INTO A PLAYING FIELD FOR THESE ACTOR MUSICIANS

ONCE started its life as a low budget movie back in 2007, directed by John Carney, and starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who wrote all the songs.

The stage adaptation, with book by Edna Walsh, premiered off Broadway in December 2011.

ONCE tells the story of an Irish busker simply known as Guy and a Czech immigrant simply known as Girl and their five day romance in Dublin.

As a romance ONCE doesn’t particularly stand out. It is  in its celebration of the Irish love and talent for music where it comes to the fore. Every character on stage plays an instrument and, as Robert Catto’s photos show, the cast just use the stage as their playing field. There is even a cast member who plays the violin. whilst skating across the stage on roller skates. Continue reading ONCE : THE STAGE TRANSFORMS INTO A PLAYING FIELD FOR THESE ACTOR MUSICIANS

BORDERLESS : AN OUTSTANDING ONE MAN SHOW EXPLORING LIFE IN THE MILITARY

BORDERLESS is a masterful monologue aided by excellent stage craft.  Writer and performer Peter-William Jamieson began researching the play after talking to a friend who had returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The result is an 85 minute solo performance performed by Peter and produced by the Street Kid Collective.  The play won the International Script and Storyboard Showcase and was shortlisted for the 2020 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award. 

BORDERLESS is the story of two step-brothers, Blake and Hussan, who join the Australian Army to fight the Taliban. Hussan came to Australia as a child refugee with his mother, who then married Blake’s father. The story is told by Blake.

It is a long-overdue telling of the long standing problem in the Military, that of soldier suicide. Early in the piece Blake speaks of the 700 suicides of Australian soldiers returning from the Iraq and Afghan wars, compared to the 46 soldiers killed in those battles. From that point on we suspect how the play will end. But that doesn’t diminish from the story as we follow Blake’s angst through the war, his return to Australia, his battle with drugs and his attempt to return to ‘normal’ life.  Continue reading BORDERLESS : AN OUTSTANDING ONE MAN SHOW EXPLORING LIFE IN THE MILITARY

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE – 2021 SYDNEY WEEK THREE @ AMPA TOM MANN THEATRE

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE – 2021 SYDNEY WEEK THREE @ AMPA TOM MANN THEATRE – – –

BRONTE/FAIRLIGHT PROGRAMME from 10th June 2021 until 13th June 2021 –

(1) HOW TO HEAL
Breatharianism (Inedia) at its best. Message play. Complicated drama, because Catherine went to her rapist David’s funeral, without telling her partner James. They discuss David’s marriage with Jessica, and all about her tiny vagina, and the non-consentual sexual assault by David upon Catherine.
Written by Natalie Calavas
Directed by Suzy Devery
STARRING
Catherine – Grace Graznak
James – Huxley Pierce

(2) LIFE LESSONS
Huge drama in this message play concerning upset-ness, is about Jack’s Statutory Sexual Assault (Statutory Rape) by her thirty-year old teacher (Lesley) when she was sixteen years old. Political correction of the past for todays expectations, by repainting the past narrative, what should never ever have been acceptable, is reconsidered and discussed when Tom discusses his girlfriend’s first sexual encounter, which was with her female teacher.
Written by Steve Wheat
Directed by Sari Simpson
STARRING
Tom – Oli Stening
Jacinta (Jack) – Camille Qurban

Continue reading SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE – 2021 SYDNEY WEEK THREE @ AMPA TOM MANN THEATRE

FROM THE VINE : TEN DOUBLE PASSES

A middle aged businessman arrives in Rome on a flight from Canada. At customs, the  border agent asks if the man is visiting Italy for business or for pleasure. But the man  cannot answer. It’s neither business nor pleasure. 

“Just pick one, Signore,” the border agent intones…and so begins From The Vine, the  story of Mark Gentile, an attorney and automotive company executive who travels to  his childhood home after a major humiliation in business. 

Mark returns to the tiny village of Acerenza in Southern Italy, where he visits the  vineyard where he grew up and finds it in a state of disrepair. Mark gets an idea to bring  the overgrown property back to life and start producing wine again. Mark convinces  various denizens of Acerenza, each with their own comedic personality, to aid him in  this seemingly impractical effort, promising everyone a share in the business if it is  successful. Concerned about his sudden and lengthy trip, Mark is eventually joined by  his wife Marina, and his twenty-something daughter, Laura, who’s purpose is lost. Continue reading FROM THE VINE : TEN DOUBLE PASSES

SILLY TO THINK: ABSURD IS THE WORD

Theatre as thesis, SILLY TO THINK is silly as in absurd and it certainly drives you to think.

Silly to think? Not on your Nelly, or your Aphrodite.

In SILLY TO THINK, playwright Sophie Davis conjures Aphrodite to ponder the internal sickness of the individual soul within the half shell of the absurd yet grimly deterministic as any Greek tragedy.

SILLY TO THINK was written in conjunction with the author’s master’s thesis, a paper pivoting on gender oppression inherent within the Theatre of the Absurd.

The play has Aphrodite visit two tramps, fishermen Theo and Rat, waiting for Cod, oh!, to bite.

There they are, rod in hand, like erect penises, equipped with a reel that knows no reality.

There they are, on a jetty, suffering pier pressure. They cannot catch fish as there is no water. And yet death by drowning is an imminent fear.

They are visited by Aphrodite, who one myth thread posits, was born of the castrated Uranus. Although the Goddess disclaims castration complex and daddy issues as permeating patriarchal play making and psychoanalyses, she doth protest too much, relents and relinquishes and incorporates such fetish into the show.

But by incorporation, Davis unfetters the fetish, gives Freud a fry, and furthers her quest for questioning.

Production values are strong. The set made of pellets serve as both ascension into heaven, Aphrodite’s eyrie, and earthbound dry dock. A black, backcloth has orbital projections – spheres of myth- that enhance the narrative.

Jordan Stam is a mighty Aphrodite, mixing the metaphor and wrangling the rhetoric. Aimee McQueen and Brodie Masini bring brio to Theo and Rat, fishing for reason, devoid of purpose, awaiting annihilation by a giant wave in a world without sea.

Davis co directs with brother Chris, grinding an axe where sometimes the sparks refuse to fly. That’s when thesis threatens the theatre. Thankfully, most of SILLY TO THINK is sharp and clear.

SILLY TO THINK at Old 505, Eliza Street, Newtown
SEASON DATES :

9th – 12th June

Wed & Thurs 7.30pm

Fri & Sat 8.30pm

DICTIONARY BY A BITCH : A NEW PLAY ABOUT BEA MILES

Pic by Stuart Spence

Beatrice Miles was born in 1902 in Sydney. She was the top of her class at the exclusive Abbotsleigh School for Girls.  She died 71 years later as a famous Sydney identity either loved or despised for her life as a rebel, bohemian, ratbag and vagrant. The transition from school dux to street identity is fascinating. What happened?

Actor Vashti Hughes expertly explores Bea in this 60 minute monologue in the very place Bea liked to haunt, the State Library. As you wait in the Metcalfe Auditorium for the show to begin, there are old photos of the places Bea liked to visit – her favourite sleeping spots, the cabs, the trams, parks and, of course, the library. These photos get you in the mood. Then Bea appears in a mad rush, talking to the audience, running behind the seats and climbing onto the small raised stage. You know straight away it’s going to be a fun hour. Continue reading DICTIONARY BY A BITCH : A NEW PLAY ABOUT BEA MILES

HILMA @ KLINT : THE SECRET PAINTINGS @ ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES

Joyful, feminine, enigmatic, visionary. Hilma af Klints monumental works are a delight to stand before and allow oneself  to become absorbed by the brilliance of their colours, sinuous lines and symbols. Modern, contemporary, abstract, but over one hundred years old, they are astounding. And not only for their beauty and age but because they were created independently of any other palette-wielding-boys-club – by a woman – at the birth of the 20th Century. Then, there were other artists who claimed to paint reality beyond the perception of sight and the four senses – symbolists, early expressionists and prophets, but their works couldn’t relinquish figurative representation like Hilma af Klint’s abstracts do.

Hilma Af Klint (1862-1944) invested her time, analytical reasoning and artistic immersion in searching and exercising colour theory and expressing ideas inherent in spiritual movements prevalent during her day. She drew upon Theosophy, Christianity, alchemy and Rosicrucian ideas and imagery. Consciously or not, she lifted visual motifs from medieval, renaissance and enlightenment manifestos, tweaking them and making them her own. Angels, swans crosses, light spectrums, circles and geometric forms, spirals and coils abound. Each recognisable element is used symbolically. Continue reading HILMA @ KLINT : THE SECRET PAINTINGS @ ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES

THE BOOKSELLER OF FLORENCE : A FASCINATING READ

This is a book about books.

Ross King has brought us a densely detailed and layered history of the history of writing, printing and books generally. It is divided into 27 chapters with a table of contents at the front, an extensive bibliography, a collection of footnotes and a well coordinated index. Illustrations are scattered throughout with the major illustrations in the middle. The book is of small to medium size.

Set in Renaissance Florence, King’s book is a biography of Vespasiano da Bisticci, ‘ the king of the world’s booksellers’. He learnt his profession beginning as a book binder and then he opened a bookshop that became one of, if not the intellectual hub of Florence, and, to a degree, Europe – a meeting and discussion place said to ‘contain all the wisdom of the world’.

Vespasiano had a hard working team of scribes and illuminators. (This is the era of exquisite illuminated manuscripts, all produced by hand, which made them very time consuming and expensive). We learn of the history of paper (think ancient papyrus and parchment), the making and the development of clearer easier to read calligraphy, and there are some fascinating digressions into the history of certain words. Before Gutenburg, hand produced manuscripts were treasured sought after rarities, the Urbino Bible produced for the count of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro, is often regarded as Vespasiano’s masterpiece. Continue reading THE BOOKSELLER OF FLORENCE : A FASCINATING READ

THE OBBLIGATO SONATAS : CELEBRATING THE GENIUS OF JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

 

Artistic Director and violinist Madeleine Easton is joined by two of Australia’s most lauded early music specialists Neal Peres Da Costa and Anton Baba to present a selection of Bach’s much loved obbligato sonatas for violin, harpsichord and viola da gamba. In a rare departure from his usual compositional style, Bach took the existing baroque trio sonata form and utterly excelled himself, producing a new and innovative example of three-part contrapuntal writing showcasing the depth of his musical expression and the apparently inexhaustible inventive resources of his genius. They are nothing short of perfection.

Program :

J.S. Bach Sonata No. 1 in B minor BWV 1014

J.S. Bach Sonata No. 2 in A major BWV 1015

J.S. Bach Sonata No. 3 in E major BWV 1016

J.S. Bach Sonata No. 5 in F minor BWV 1018

J.S. Bach Sonata No. 6 in G major BWV 1019

Friday June 18, 7.30pm

St James Anglican Church, King Street, Sydney

Booking link: https://theobbligatosonatas1.floktu.com/

This performance  will also be livestreamed on www.melbournedigitalconcerthall.com

Sunday June 20, 2pm

Parish of the Holy Name Church, Wahroonga

Booking link: https://theobbligatosonatas2.floktu.com/

Featured image : Artistic Director and violinist Madeleine Easton

 

 

AMERICAN PSYCHO THE MUSICAL : INTENSELY ENTERTAINING THEATRE

American Psycho: The Musical. Pic Daniel Boud

This show comes from a rich legacy, over several mediums and decades. Its precise execution benefits from a cast well warmed from the earlier 2019 production at the Hayes Theatre Sydney. This was directed by Alexander Berlage who also directs the Opera House season. It is good to see a show being remounted especially in the same city. The musical premiered in London in 2013, with a New York production following in 2016.

The musical features quick ensemble work centring on the highly theatrical character of Patrick Bateman, played at the Sydney Opera House with the precision of a razor blade and presence of an axe by Ben Gerrard. Before that there was the film, which used cinematic language of slow pans, crisp sets and closeups to create formidable emotions and terror. Finally there was the book by Brett Elliss. The last two works have been surrounded even mired by controversy for the unapologetic depiction of violence, at the hands of Patrick as a serial killer. The book was banned in Germany, of all places.  Continue reading AMERICAN PSYCHO THE MUSICAL : INTENSELY ENTERTAINING THEATRE

NOW THAT I SEE YOU : VOGEL LITERARY AWARD WINNER A DISAPPOINTMENT

This auto-novel won the 2021 Vogel Literary Award for unpublished manuscripts by writers under the age of 35. Allen & Unwin’s Australian office publishes the winner of this annual award. 

The award was started in 1980 by Vogel (the bread company) jointly with The Australian newspaper to encourage young writers. The manuscripts submitted must be unpublished. The rules include that the winner will be published by Allen & Unwin. 

In 2019, the judges did not award the prize due to the poor quality of entrants.  The promotions for this year’s winner are written by the former Literary Editor of the Australian and is promoted by the newspaper.    Continue reading NOW THAT I SEE YOU : VOGEL LITERARY AWARD WINNER A DISAPPOINTMENT

CAROL DANCE : A TALENTED MULTI DISCIPLINARY ARTIST

Carol with her daughter in law Julis Dance

The Short and Sweet Festival, one of Sydney’s well established annual theatre festivals, attracts some intriguing and talented participants. Like Sydney journalist, playwright, director and painter, Carol Dance.

Dance has reviewed over 200 plays for leading  Wentworth Courier in Sydney, whilst working as the editor at the University of New South Wales Press, and presently contributes reviews and articles to Sydney Arts Guide.

Whilst working as the  CEO of the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre, she observed the full spectrum of human emotions and decided to write plays herself.

Dance has had 14 plays produced in ten-minute play festivals (Sydney, Malaysia and India) and three full-length plays produced and three published by Australian Plays Transform.

For this year’s Short and Sweet Festival her entry is  a one woman work ‘The Metaphor’ playing. She is directing, and keeping it in the family, her daughter in law, Julia Dance, an experienced actress and singer, is performing the piece.

This the second time Carol and Julia have worked together for the Short and Sweet Festival. The first was in 2018 with another of Carol’s plays, ‘The Woman Who Thought She Thought a New Thought’, performed by Julia and Sasha Dance, Carol’s granddaughter.

‘Low Tide’ exhibited in the Ravenswood Art Exhibition

Dance says that she has painted most of her life. She has been able to concentrate it more since she retired 15 years ago Her first real project was as the artist-in-residence at the commercial art gallery in Port Douglas, followed by a solo exhibition at the Seymour Centre.

She enjoys painting alone, in a studio and getting into the ‘zone’. She has also made constructions, sculptures and etchings. Dance says she tends to work in a series, one set of paintings  at a time then move on to something very different.

You can catch Carol Dance’s play METAPHOR will play as part of Week 4 of this year’s Short and Sweet Festival on Friday June 18 at 7.30pm, Saturday June 19 at 2pm and Sunday 20 at 6pm at the Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills.

http://www.shortandsweet.org.au

Featured image -Carol Dance

MAJOR RICHARD BELL EXHIBITION OPENS @ MCA AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

The largest Australian solo exhibition by artist and activist Richard Bell opens tomorrow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). You Can Go Now brings together over 30 years of the artist’s practice from the early 1990s through to 2021. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public talks in solidarity and resistance that pay homage to and reflect the values of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Richard Bell is one of Australia’s most important contemporary artists. The exhibition You Can Go Now brings together all facets of Bell’s life, reflecting on the person, the artist and activist. Known as an eviscerating political commentator, who shifts between the personas of artist and activist, Bell is internationally renowned for his practice. He uses humour and satire to address important issues around representation, identity politics, nationalism and neo-Liberalism and the perceptions of Aboriginal art within a post-colonial history and framework. Continue reading MAJOR RICHARD BELL EXHIBITION OPENS @ MCA AUSTRALIA

STREAMED SHAKESPEARE – HENRY IV PARTS 1 AND 2

Streamed Shakespeare, in a production directed by Haki Pepo Olu Crisden , has brought us a terrific production of both parts of Henry IV.

The civil strife has been updated to 2402 and is very Star Wars in presentation, with plenty of special effects, ‘ alien’ makeup, aerial views of planets, impressive spaceships, exciting battles, and which include a touch of Blade Runner.

The digital set elements, as directed by Alex Perritt, were very effective. The ‘house stye’ of the use of split screens is continued.There is some doubling of roles ( which are gender fluid) and use is made of R2D2 like robots as waiters , messengers etc, and electronic comm links. David Castle’s sound effects and Paul Bremen’s score are also integral to the production Continue reading STREAMED SHAKESPEARE – HENRY IV PARTS 1 AND 2

HERSELF : AN INSPIRATIONAL NEW IRISH FILM : 5 DOUBLE PASSES

Single-mother Sandra (Clare Dunne) escapes her abusive partner with her two young children, only  to find herself trapped in temporary accommodation.

After months of struggling, she draws inspiration from one of her daughter’s bedtime stories and hits upon the idea of self-building an  affordable home.

She finds an architect who provides her with plans and is offered land by Peggy  (Harriet Walter), a woman she cleans for. Aido (Conleth Hill), a building contractor, appears willing to help too. 

As her past rears its head, in the form of Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson), her possessive ex,  and as bureaucrats fight back against her independent spirit, will Sandra be able to rebuild her life  from the ground up?

Continue reading HERSELF : AN INSPIRATIONAL NEW IRISH FILM : 5 DOUBLE PASSES

SAFF ON DEMAND: THE BEST IN SOUTH AFRICAN CINEMA AVAILABLE TO RENT ONLINE

Following on from another successful virtual Festival, the South African Film Festival (SAFF) presents SAFF On Demand, a curated selection films from the 2021, 2020 and 2019 SAFF Festival program available for rent online from 29th May – 13th June

Featuring the entire line-up of 17 films from the 2021 Festival, as well as seven favourites from the 2019 and 2020 Festivals, SAFF On Demand offers audiences access to some of South Africa’s most exciting, challenging and award-winning contemporary cinema. The films selected reflect South Africa’s diverse population, rich tradition of struggle for democracy and equality, and complex political and economic reality.

All ticket proceeds go to supporting Education without Borders in programs that assist young South Africans in some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities.

Films featured in the line-up include:

Liyana, a vibrant and moving family film where oral storytelling and innovative animation fuse to illustrate the plight of Swazi AIDS orphans. An award-winning hybrid documentary, Liyana is a true crowd pleaser that makes the therapeutic value of storytelling fully felt.

Beyond Moving, an uplifting documentary about Siphe November, a gifted ballet dancer discovered as a boy in the townships. A Billy Elliot story with a South African twist, the film follows Siphe as he trains with Canada’s National Ballet School and ultimately secures a premier position in the world of professional ballet.

Johnny Clegg, The White Zulu is an adventure into the life of one of South Africa’s most exceptional musicians. Apartheid wanted to separate blacks from whites, Johnny Clegg brought them together by mixing English and Zulu, African rhythms and rock.

Glory Game: The Joost van der Westhuizen Story follows the life of Joost van der Westhuizen, from his rise through the ranks to be selected as a Springbok, to his fight with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), the most severe case of MND, with only one prognosis, death. A compelling tale of redemption, set against the backdrop of sporting glory, this is the story of a modern day warrior forced to face his own human frailty.

Beyond the River is inspired by the true story of two men from opposite sides of the track, one who is escaping a life of crime and the other escaping heartache. The duo enter the gruelling Dusi canoe marathon hoping to heal their nation’s wounds.

Toorbos, South Africa’s moving Oscar submission. Based on a novel by celebrated Afrikaans author Dalene Matthee, Toorbos documents a woman blossoming against the destruction of her environment.

Barakat, offers a rare and insightful glimpse into the heart of the Muslim community of Cape Town, seen through the prism of one family’s travails as they grapple with the ups and downs of life, love and familial relationships.

Life is Wonderful, a documentary that features the surviving defendants and lawyers of the Rivonia Trial as they recount the apartheid-era court case that resulted in life-imprisonment for eight struggle heroes.

Influence, a revealing look at the immoral and weaponised influence that PR firm Bell Pottinger had in South Africa and the world.

As well as access to watch the films, tickets also get you exclusive content including filmmaker question and answer sessions, interviews with the directors and more.

Audiences can get access to the complete library of films for just $80.

Individual films are available to rent for $8.00 (single viewer) and $10 (more viewers) each and are available for the 29th May – 13th June.

Tickets can be booked online at www.saff.org.au

THE DETAILS

What: SAFF On Demand
When: 29th May – 13th June
Where: online at www.saff.org.au
Tickets: $8/$10 per film (one person/group). $80 complete program bundle.

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