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Tag: history

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Koo Bohnchang

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“In matters of art,” wrote the erudite poet, Paul Valéry, “erudition is a sort of defeat.” The argument is that the freshness of first perceptions may be destroyed by specialised knowledge. Imagine, for example, an expert on ceramics standing in front of a great piece of pottery. There are questions about where and when the […]

Film Reviews

Hillary

Friday, September 11th, 2020 Film Reviews,

In his classic study, In Defence of Politics, Bernard Crick argued the case for a messy but flexible political discourse underpinned by ethical beliefs. The art of politics maintains both social order and personal freedom, standing guard against those ideologues who seek to pervert the process. One can only wonder what Crick, who died in […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Art of the Spanish Flu

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Anyone who thinks COVID-19 has claimed a huge number of lives should look at the Spanish flu of 1918-20. In Pale Rider (2017), a compelling history of that earlier pandemic, Laura Spinney writes: “Between the first case recorded on 4 March 1918, and the last sometime in March 1920, it killed 50-100 million, or between […]

Film Reviews

The Great

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 Film Reviews,

With films based on actual people it’s always tempting to take a peek at the historical record. Fictional characters will invariably be created and genuine ones omitted, myths will be treated as facts. No-one can resist adding a dash – or a bucketload – of romance to prosaic reality. In the case of The Great […]

Film Reviews

A Hidden Life

Friday, February 7th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Terrence Malick is the only Hollywood director to have translated a book by German philosopher, Martin Heidegger. I haven’t checked, but I’m fairly confident that Cecil B. DeMille or Steven Spielberg never felt the urge to dabble in the impenetrable utterances of the sage of Freiburg. Before he began making movies Malick lectured in philosophy. […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Cornelia Parker

Friday, November 15th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A good deal of contemporary art is wilfully opaque but the work of Cornelia Parker is distinguished by a consistent, lucid intelligence – which is not to say there aren’t plenty of puzzles. I’ve never been a fan of wall labels that explain a work but with the survey Rachel Kent has put together for […]

Film Reviews

The King

Thursday, October 24th, 2019 Film Reviews,

It would be foolish to expect the cinema to accurately portray historical reality but some films leave one itching to get home and pick up a reference book – or more likely, ask Google. Whether your preferred route is paper or digital, David Michôd’s Netflix drama, The King, is a film that cries out for a […]

Film Reviews

The Nightingale

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 Film Reviews,

Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale won the Special Jury Prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival, but made headlines because an enraged Italian film critic shouted abuse from the audience. This is not the only place the film has proved controversial, with viewers walking out of screenings at the Sydney Film Festival, complaining about “gratuitous violence”. The […]

Film Reviews

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan

Friday, August 9th, 2019 Film Reviews,

A film script is one area where the old adage about “too many cooks” almost always rings true. Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, has employed no fewer than five writers, but the dialogue and characterisation never seem to have gotten beyond a first draft. This would be fatal if the film set out […]

Blog

Danie Mellor

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 Blog,

NATSIAA may not be the most mellifluous of acronyms but it generates an incredible amount of excitement, as finalist Danie Mellor can attest. In 2009 Mellor won the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, which is held every year at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, in Darwin. It’s good […]