Vibrant , bold and colourful , lushly filmed , this is a terrific , fascinating biographical look at the illustrious post-Impressionist artist Paul Gaugin ( 1848 -1903) .

It is directed by Edouard Deluc, from a script he wrote with Etienne Comar, Thomas Lilti and Sarah Kaminsky, based on Gauguin’s travel diary “Noa Noa” (Tahitian for “fragrance”) . Starring Vincent Cassel as Gaugin ,It has a score by Warren Ellis and cinematography by Pierre Cottereau. We learn a lot about Gaugin’s life but the film concentrates on the years — 1891 to 1893 -when Gauguin fled the artistic and financial struggles of his difficult Paris life for French Polynesian archipelago.

The film jumps around the world to various important museums , Gaugin’s studio in Paris and also treasured caches on the islands Gaugin visited and the houses he built on the islands . So we see various installations of his works in Paris, Bretagne, Edinburgh, and to the most prestigious art museums of the United States, where most of his masterpieces are preserved: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; The National Gallery of Art in Washington; and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Curators , art historians and other experts talk about Gaugin’s rather turbulent at times life.

There are fabulous views of the islands of Tahiti and the surrounding area and the glorious, luxurious environment today. There is also fascinating black and white footage and or photographs of Paris and elsewhere where Gaugin lived from the period (eg his house Maison du Jour) . Continue reading GAUGIN IN TAHITI : PARADISE LOST


Mike Leigh’s latest big canvas production, PETERLOO, is a magnificent class struggle epic of prodigious weight that plucks a pivotal event in English history from the dustbin of obscurity.

Pic begins on the last day of the Battle of Waterloo, with a young soldier, Joseph, shell shocked, dazed, bewildered, overwhelmed on the field of cannon fodder, a haze of gunpowder shrouding the carnage and confusion.

Brain battered and spiritually subdued, Joseph returns to his loving but poor mill working family in Manchester. No state restitution, no monetary repatriation, no trauma counselling.

The victor of Waterloo, however, the high born Wellington, is handsomely rewarded in Parliament, a staggering seventy five thousand pounds, while soldiers the likes of Joseph struggle to survive.

Parliament also pays the King £2 million per annum and the Prince Regent £1.5 million per annum.

Wellington, too busy counting his war booty, abrogates his responsibility and sends his subordinate, General Byng, to deal with unrest in the North of England as, post war, working people suffer unemployment, bad harvests, and restrictions on corn imports.

They have no vote, and popular pro-franchise meetings are held by moderate radicals and more extreme firebrands. Joseph, his father and his brother attend these, but his mother is sceptical.

The oppressive brutality of the Manchester magistrates impose severe punishments that include transportation to Australia. Local and government spies abound within a corrupt constabulary, and in London the Home Office intercepts mail. The Prince Regent is attacked in public, so Parliament suspends citizen’s rights.

Lancashire radicals Bamford and Healey return home from the capital,
enthusing about the famous orator Henry Hunt, whom they suggest be invited to address a proposed mass demonstration at St Peter’s Field.

This plan takes hold, Female Reformers join and momentum builds. Whilst the brutal anti-radical local yeomanry prepare their weapons, leading
young radicals are imprisoned.

Arriving in Manchester, Hunt, furious to discover that the meeting has been postponed, reluctantly stays with the owner of the radical local newspaper. Committed to peaceful means, he overrides Bamford, who wants some marchers armed, and gets the hostile magistrates to promise he won’t be arrested. They in turn discover that General Byng plans to be absent from the meeting, attending a day at the races, sending a deputy instead.

Thousands of peaceable, law abiding citizens walk miles on the day, August 16, 1819, Joseph and his family among them. The magistrates dither and bicker before ultimately sending in the yeomanry and the military.

A massacre ensues.

Surveying the carnage, journalists, recalling Waterloo, dub the event The Peterloo Massacre.

Mike Leigh’s brilliantly rendered and beautifully realised film highlights the significant contribution that the so called ordinary folk have on the development, security and expansion of democracy. Terrible things will happen in any great revolutionary enterprise, the powerful must be held to account, the people must prevail.

To its honour, PETERLOO is no romanticised vision to working class life nor does it make Henry Hunt a hero.

Rory Kinnear’s performance as Henry Hunt is superb as the charismatic orator and pragmatic peacock strutting peacenik, grandiloquent and elegantly attired.

In stark contrast, Maxine Peake is terrific as Joseph’s mother, perennially pragmatic, sceptical, cynical, knowing full well that merely existing is exhausting, without expending time and energy on external forces but is willing to support the community in its challenge for change.

Two hundred years on from the event, PETERLOO is as pertinent today as it was then, and shall be ever so.


201118, Sydney: Andre Rieu in Sydney. Foto: Marcel van Hoorn.

One of the world’s most popular musical artists – Dutch violinist, conductor and entertainer André Rieu – has announced that his 2019 Maastricht concert will screen in more than 120 cinemas nationally across Australia on the weekend of July 27-28, as well as Sydney’s iconic State Theatre (Sunday, July 28 only).

André’s hometown concerts this year will be themed as a dedication to the waltz – the dance that helped launch his career more than three decades ago. André’s hugely popular Maastricht summer concert series is staged in the historic town’s atmospheric medieval square – the Vrijthof – where the Maestro will perform with his 60-
piece Johann Strauss Orchestra, who have toured the world with him for over thirty years, plus a cast of over 100 dancers, as well as special guests, renowned sopranos and his
Platin Tenors.

The concert in cinemas will take audiences behind-the-scenes and feature an exclusive stage-side interview with André, and there are always some surprises.

The majestic waltz has been such an inspiration to André Rieu throughout his career that its three-four beat has become, in many ways, the rhythm of his life. When he performed with a
salon orchestra as a violin student, the Maestro says the first waltz he played was a revelation and he was immediately spellbound.
Waltzes have starred in André’s work ever since.

From an international football match at Amsterdam stadium in 1995, when André filled the half-time interval with the performance of a classic waltz, to his Maastricht concerts of 2011, where André premiered ‘And The Waltz Goes On’, composed by Oscar-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins. André has composed
many waltzes and since 1987, he and his Johann Strauss Orchestra have been delighting audiences all over the world with their magnificent renditions of classic waltzes.

André says: “Once again I am delighted to welcome fans from Australia and New Zealand into my hometown of Maastricht, via their cinema screens in 2019! It is a magical way of seeing what for me every year is a wonderful occasion! This year will be extra special –performing the music of my heart: the Waltz. Come and join us for “The Beautiful Blue Danube” and many more surprises, some of which we will reveal during the weeks to come! I want everyone to be waltzing in the cinema aisles!’

Sydney Arts Guide has ten double passes to give away to this film. Be one of the first to email with Andre Rieu Giveaway in the subject heading and please provide your postal address. Winners will be advised by email.



In front of an audience of filmmakers both behind and in front of the camera, as well as veteran and aspiring movie folk, Sydney Film Director Nashan Moodley launched the 66th Sydney Film Festival at the Lower Town Hall, a venue hosted by Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, a keen and continuing supporter of the Festival.

The program is one of the most ambitious to date whereby the Festival will screen 307 films from over 55 countries including 33 world premieres, combining hundreds of international and local stories. There are 112 feature films and 79 documentaries several of which have received international awards.

As part of its pledge to have gender parity in the 2020 Festival, this year the program includes 2 retrospectives showcasing influential women directors : Viva Varda, a retrospective of Agnes Varda’s work, and 10 ground breaking Australian directors selected by David Stratton. Continue reading SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM ANNOUNCED


Acting heavyweight Antonio De la Torre reunites with director Rodrigo Sorogoyen to give another compelling performance in this unmissable hit political thriller which received every major award at ceremonies across Spain, including the Goyas, Feroz and Cinema Writers Circle.

Driven, motor-mouthed and smug, Manuel Lopez-Vidal (de la Torre) is a Spanish politician whose high-class lifestyle is based on enabling policies that include high-level government corruption. His calculating facilitation of illegal activities has steadily boosted him up the ladder and provided a very comfortable lifestyle for himself, his devoted spouse and their teen daughter.

When, on the verge of his huge promotion, a leaked tape exposes Manuel’s dealings to the public eye, he meets the cruel underbelly of his own system. The event reveals to him a larger realm of those even guiltier, not to mention more cold-blooded, than he, and radically shifts Manuel’s role from facilitator to whistle-blower. What follows is a tale that overflows with intrigue and suspense, before culminating with a confrontational end to this surprising, serpentine tale.

Sydney Arts Guide has ten in season double passes to give away to THE REALM which opens in cinemas on Thursday 16th May. Be one of the first to email  Please put THE REALM GIVEAWAY in  the subject heading and please put your postal address in the body of your email. Winners will be advised by email.


Move over Exotic Marigolds, THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIR is the new champ of sub continental romanticism, taking us on a wild ride of coincidence and circumstance with charm and elan.

In this Euro-pudding of a picture, Aja, a young fakir (magician) from the streets of India arrives in Paris in search of his past and his future.

He falls head-over-heels for American ex pat, Marie, whom he meets amongst the cabinets and couches in an IKEA store, and plans to meet up with her again the next day.

When he accidentally gets stuck in a wardrobe that is shipped in the night to the UK, Aja finds himself on the run from border police and bandits alike.

In England, he is interrogated by a belligerent border control officer who breaks into a Bollywood song and dance routine that assigns the mistaken asylum seeker to Spain.

Back in continental Europe, Aja comes into the orbit of a glamorous film star and pompous producer. On his travels, Aja has written about his adventures using his shirt rather than paper. The actress persuades the producer to take an option on the shirt, which leads to a ton of cash in a briefcase that becomes a pivotal plot device.

Director Ken Scott’s film is an adaptation of Romain Puértolas’s novel, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Stuck in an IKEA Wardrobe, and unfolds as a fabulous fable of a magical quest.

It boasts a charming central performance by Dhanush as Aja, with strong international support from Berenice Bejo as the glamorous movie star, Erin Moriarty as Aja’s true love, Barkhad Abdi as wise Somali asylum seeker, Gerard Jugnot as a wiley Parisian taxi driver, and Ben Miller as the British bust-a -move border patrol officer.

Like a modern take on Around the World in 80 Days, THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIR is a cavalcade of adventure, misadventure, love lost and found against a panorama of exotic locations that span India, Europe and the UK.


Can Fred Flarsky ever forget Charlotte Field and find true happiness?
It’s a long shot brought to short stop in LONG SHOT, a deliciously captivating, deliriously romantic political comedy.

I don’t think its drawing a long bow entertaining the idea that LONG SHOT is the type of movie Frank Capra might be making if he were alive today.

Socially, sexually and politically pungent, LONG SHOT delivers over lumbering charades of contemporary comedy that are unsparingly insipid and uninspiring.

There’s a mordancy in LONG SHOT that is refreshing and congenial.

Charlotte Field, played with dazzling glamour and poise by Charlize Theron is the Secretary of State for the United States government. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she’s a powerhouse diplomat with political ideals.

When The President, a former TV actor who played The President to great acclaim and then was elected to the Office – shades of recent Ukraine antics – announces that he wont be running for a second term, Charlotte asks for and is given endorsement to run for the Office.

Enter Fred Flarsky played in affable everyman mode by Seth Rogen, a gifted and free-spirited journalist with an affinity for trouble. The two have nothing in common, except that she was his babysitter and first crush.

When Fred unexpectedly reconnects with Charlotte, he charms her with his self-deprecating humour and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter, much to the dismay of her trusted advisors.

A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamorous lifestyle in the limelight. However, sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents.

LONG SHOT takes a long, laugh filled look at the pressures of keeping true to your ideals in the world of politics, how compromise, a sometimes positive thing, can be corrosive and cynical.

It presents a vain and narcissistic ninny in the White House and a reptilian media tycoon pretty much calling the shots, that tips the comedy into satire.



Mike Leigh’s latest film is an epic portrayal of the events surrounding the infamous 1819 Peterloo Massacre, where a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter’s Field in Manchester turned into one of the bloodiest and most notorious episodes in British history.

The massacre saw British government forces charge into a crowd of over 60,000 that had gathered to demand political reform and protest against rising levels of poverty. Many protestors were killed and hundreds more injured, sparking a nationwide outcry but also further government suppression.

The Peterloo Massacre was a defining moment in British democracy which also played a significant role in the founding of The Guardian newspaper.

PETERLOO is opening in cinemas on May 16.

Sydney Arts Guide has five in season double passes to give away to this film. Be one of the first to 

Please put Peterloo competition  in the subject heading  and please include your postal address in your email.

Winners will be advised by email.


This film is part of the Moro Spanish Film Festival. Ballet lovers will love this extraordinarily revealing and intimate film based on the life of Cuban premier danseur Carlos Acosta, the first black dancer to perform some of the most famous ballet roles.( eg in Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet , Albrecht in Giselle and Siegfried in Swan Lake for the Royal Ballet) . English National Ballet,  Houston Ballet , American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Cuba .In June 2008 he guested with the Australian Ballet . He was a permanent member of The Royal Ballet between 1998 and 2015 and celebrated his farewell after 17 years at The Royal Ballet, dancing his last performance in November 2015 in Carmen which he both choreographed and starred in. In January 2020 he will succeed David Bintley as artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet . The film also features Acosta’s Cuban dance company, Acosta Danza .

Acosta is also an author – the film is based on his autobiography, A Long Way From Home – a Cuban Dancer’s Story . as well as fiction, and Acosta has also produced a dance work loosely based on his life , Tocororo . YULI is a blend of biographical drama , use of historical footage of Acosta performing ,and a contemporary dance piece
The film jumps back and forth between ‘now’ , Acosta overseeing classes and rehearsals and flashbacks inspired by the memories that the scrapbooks his father kept conjure up . Continue reading YULI : THE STORY OF A REMARKABLE DANCER



Part of the Art on screen series , the latest film TINTORETTO A REBEL IN VENICE celebrates the 500th anniversary of his birth and examines the life and times of one of the great Mannerist painters : Jacopo Robusti, known as TINTORETTO, (1518/9–94) from the early years of his artistic career until his death in 1594 in the city that inspired and challenged him. He took the nickname ‘Tintoretto’, ‘little cloth dyer’, after his father’s trade. David Bowie was a huge fan and described Tintoretto as “a proto Rockstar “ . Jean-Paul Satre called him “the first film director in history” because of his use of light and composition drawing the viewer in and the way he ‘froze the moment’ in his paintings. The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter and also features the film director Peter Greenaway.

There are lots of wonderful shots of Venice today and the film highlights Venice’s vulnerability but sometimes the images are dizzyingly fast .Tintoretto was born , bred and worked in Venice and loved it , rarely leaving the city- he is regarded as one of the true masters of Venice. His work is at times somewhat overwhelming but this is contrasted by other works that are full of delicate, filigree detail. Continue reading TINTORETTO : A REBEL IN VENICE


Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown ..

This is not your ‘standard’ version of Shakespeare’s THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD 11, nor think for instance of the landmark versions starring Derek Jacobi, Fiona Shaw or David Tennant. Directed by Joe Hill- Gibbons , it is part of the NT Live series and was filmed at the Almedia Theatre in London earlier this year. Rather it is a sparse cold, dark, bleak, blustery version that has been abridged and has ‘only’ a cast of eight most of whom except Simon Russell Beale in the eponymous role play multiple characters .Beale gives a magnificently powerful performance in the title role but the production is somewhat unsatisfying and almost all of the poetry is lost. There is a lot of shouting the lines and sometimes they are spoken almost too quickly, lessening the impact.

The cast, who are onstage the whole time , are trapped in a cold, silver room with no doors or windows and a frosted glass ceiling (as designed by ULTZ).  Rivets in the walls echo their process of construction and can provide a star like effect. There are no chairs or tables, just several buckets (labelled Water, Soil, Blood etc ) against the back wall that are used at particular points in the performance to dramatic affect. The cast wear contemporary casual grey or black clothes and at first large gardening gloves. At times the excellent ensemble work together like a pulsating, whirling mass and become like a Greek chorus. As they are on stage the whole time there is no let up and sometimes it feels as if they are stalking Richard. Some of the scenes have an intense build up of energy, with characters shooting off the walls at times – for example the repeated explosive challenges where hurled gauntlets (here what look to be gardening gloves) are thrown and collect in a pile, or where King Richard confronts Bolingbroke like a boxing match. Continue reading NT LIVE : THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD 11