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Tag: history

Film Reviews

The Last Duel

Thursday, October 21st, 2021 Film Reviews,

Clang! Crunch! Swish! On leaving the cinema after seeing Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, the sounds of battle still ring in one’s mind. Over two-and-a-half hours Scott unleashes a series of ferocious battle scenes, and a final showdown between two armoured combatants that leaves nothing to the imagination. As we remember from features such as […]

Film Reviews

How to Become a Tyrant

Saturday, July 17th, 2021 Film Reviews,

Politics is a fascinating game, but hard to win. Under the yoke of a tyrant people clamour for democracy but after generations of democratic rule they hanker for a strongman to come and make all their decisions for them. As we watch the United States careening towards a complete crack-up, with millions of people obsessed […]

Film Reviews

Martin Eden

Friday, June 18th, 2021 Film Reviews,

Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden is getting a limited release in Sydney and Melbourne but it deserves a much bigger audience. It’s a huge film – not in terms of running length, but in its themes, its characters and ambitions – the latest in an outstanding sequence of foreign-language titles that have overshadowed anything produced by […]

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 […]