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Film Reviews

Love

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 Film Reviews, Uncategorized,

To imagine that a great cinematographer should make a great director is rather like saying a first violin should make a great conductor. Jack Cardiff had a long career as a leading cinematographer, but what did he leave us as a director? The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968) – one of the most pretentious, and […]

Film Reviews

Hysteria

Saturday, July 14th, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing, Uncategorized,

For centuries hysteria was one of the most mysterious conditions known to medical science. The ailment was exclusive to women, and is believed to have been first diagnosed by the ancient Greeks. Plato echoed the belief that its diverse symptoms were due to a “wandering womb” that floated throughout the body causing all sorts of […]

Film Reviews

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Saturday, July 14th, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing, Uncategorized,

Once upon a time in Anatolia… a minute passed. And then another minute passed, and another. Finally, after two –and-a-half hours, the film was over. Nuri Birge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is not for those with a low threshold of boredom, but like many slow films it has a mesmeric quality. The […]

Film Reviews

Spanish Film Festival

Saturday, July 7th, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing, Uncategorized,

Spain has always been known as a land of poverty, piety and cruelty, with a dark, fatalistic streak. The great break came with the Movida of the late 1970s – the counter-cultural awakening that followed the death of Franco. In the cinema the figurehead for this movement was Pedro Almodóvar, who has gone on to […]

Art Essays

The Clock, Marking Time

Saturday, May 12th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, General Art Essays, Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

Switzerland gave us the cuckoo clock, and Swiss-American artist, Christian Marclay, has created the most preposterous time-piece in the history of art. The Clock is such a unique artifact it defies all but the most impressionistic responses. This is obvious from Zadie Smith’s essay in the brochure published for the work’s showing at the Museum […]

Film Reviews

Coriolanus

Saturday, March 17th, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing, Uncategorized,

King Lear has some grim moments, but I’ve always thought of Coriolanus as the bleakest of Shakespeare’s plays. Ralph Fiennes has confirmed that impression with a film adaptation which adds ultra-violence to the singularly depressing view of human nature found in this story. Not only does Fiennes play the role of Coriolanus, the Roman general […]

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A Separation

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 Uncategorized,

One should hardly be surprised that Iranian filmmakers are the world’s best exponents of the moral dilemma. The entire country is one big moral dilemma, inhabited by charming, sophisticated, intelligent people condemned to live under a system that many find abhorrent. In Iran, as every visitor discovers, the extremist state routinely denounced by western politicians […]

Film Reviews

A Quiet Life

Saturday, September 24th, 2011 Film Reviews, Uncategorized,

Of all the national film festivals held every year in this country, the Italian Film Festival is second only to the French in both magnitude and popularity. 2011 is the twelfth anniversary of this event, which according to the publicity release includes: “31 new Italian films, including 29 features and 2 documentaries, plus 3 cult […]

Art Essays

The Mad Square

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

It happens from time to time that I fail to distinguish a cabaret from a crematorium – Joseph Roth From its traumatic birth, at the end of World War One, the Weimar Republic was an unstable experiment. The historian, Eric Hobsbawm charts its rise and fall in an introductory essay for the catalogue of The […]

Art Essays

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010

Saturday, November 6th, 2010 Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

In one of her detective stories Dorothy Sayers wisely observes: “For some reason, the word ‘artistic’ produces the most alarming reactions in those who know anything about art.” As such, it would be inadequate and belittling to describe Sculpture by the Sea as one of Sydney’s most eagerly awaited ‘artistic’ events. This annual sculpture-fest is an […]