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Tag: history

Film Reviews

De Gaulle

Friday, May 7th, 2021 Film Reviews,

Charles De Gaulle was an imposing figure, both physically and morally. Standing at 196 cms, he was a man almost everyone looked up to. As leader-in-exile of the French Resistance, the head of the provisional post-war government, and the nation’s dominant political figure of the 20th century, De Gaulle enjoyed an unshakable power and prestige. […]

Film Reviews

Judas and the Black Messiah

Saturday, March 20th, 2021 Film Reviews,

“Fred Hampton” may not be a name that rings any bells, but after watching Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah you wont be forgetting it quickly. This historical drama of the 60s is driven by a memorable performance by Daniel Kaluuya in the role of the youthful Black Panther supremo. King’s theme, needless to […]

Film Reviews

Ammonite

Friday, January 15th, 2021 Film Reviews,

An ammonite is a mollusc with a distinctive spiral shell that flourished in the Devonian period, (400 million years ago) and died out at the end of the Cretaceous, (roughly 66 million BCE). In biological terms that was a pretty good run. Homo sapiens will be lucky to survive for even a fraction of this […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Endeavour Voyage

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In the Bicentenary celebrations of 1970 Captain Cook was hailed as the discoverer of Australia. At primary school we received a special booklet telling us about the great navigator and his achievements. There were commemorative coins, badges and postage stamps. Every form of sporting competition had its dedication to Cook – from surf life-saving to […]

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 […]