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Tag: history

Film Reviews

The Death of Stalin

Friday, March 30th, 2018 Film Reviews,

It’s conservatively estimated that 20 million people were murdered during Joseph Stalin’s reign.“So why were they all killed?” asks Simon Sebag Montefiore, in his devastating book, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. Nadezhda Mandelstam, who lost her poet husband, Osip, gave a succinct answer: “for nothing”. Montefiore suggests that under Stalin the supreme offence […]

Film Reviews

Mary Magdalene

Friday, March 23rd, 2018 Film Reviews,

Of all the figures in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene has been the most misunderstood. This is partly because early commentators found it hard to distinguish between Mary of Magdala, Mary of Bethany, and the ‘sinful’ woman in the Gospel of St. Luke, who anoints Jesus’s feet in Simon’s house and dries them with her […]

Film Reviews

The Post

Friday, January 12th, 2018 Film Reviews,

Steven Spielberg is to the cinema as Volvo is to the world of automobiles. Everyone recognises that a Volvo is an excellent, well-made car. It’s safe, reliable, high quality… but it will never get your pulse racing. With Spielberg we can be confident that each new feature will be a quality product. He’s too experienced, […]

Film Reviews

All the Money in the World

Friday, January 5th, 2018 Film Reviews,

Everything has a price. That’s the philosophy of life put forward by J.Paul Getty – not simply the richest man in the world in 1973, but allegedly the richest man that had ever lived. Getty applied the same principle when he sought to beat down the ransom demands of the gangsters who had kidnapped his […]

Film Reviews

Detroit

Friday, November 10th, 2017 Film Reviews,

If ever a film were poised on the edge of the great divide that exists in the United States today, it’s Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. Like Ava DuVernay’s Selma (2015) it draws on the turbulent history of American race relations to make a not-so-subtle point about the present. After almost two-and-a-half hours, one leaves the cinema […]

Blog

Lore of the Land: Songlines

Friday, October 27th, 2017 Blog,

Under a blue, cloudless sky the road is one long strip of red earth, hemmed in by expanses of dry, tufty grass and scrub. The dominant colour is a pale yellow-grey, offset with the faintest tinges of green. The major landmark is Mount Conner, a long flat-topped monolith of reddish rock overshadowed by Uluru’s celebrity. […]

Film Reviews

Russian Resurrection Film Festival 2017

Friday, October 27th, 2017 Film Reviews,

Why Russian Resurrection Film Festival? Is it a reference to Tolstoy’s famous novel, or to the revival of the Russian film industry in the post-Soviet era? A bit of both, I imagine, as the 14th RRFF is preocuppied with history and the literary classics. This year’s festival features a retrospective of films by Andrei Konchalovsky […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Anri Sala: The Last Resort

Friday, October 20th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Historians can never agree about the so-called “Age of Enlightenment”. The narrow definition has it beginning with the death of Louis XIV in 1715 and ending with the French Revolution in 1789. The long version begins somewhere in the late 1600s and fizzles out in 1815 with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. As the dates are […]

Film Reviews

Battle of the Sexes

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 Film Reviews,

It’s strange to watch Battle of the Sexes from an Australian perspective, remembering how we barracked for Margaret Court in her rivalry with America’s Billie Jean King. Forty years on, Margaret Court looks like the most dreadful sourpuss – an outspoken homophobe, and allegedly an apologist for Apartheid. Billie Jean King has taken a very […]

Film Reviews

The King's Choice

Friday, August 25th, 2017 Film Reviews,

Scandinavian history may not be a pressing concern for most Australians, but we can all recognise the importance of political courage – if only by its absence in Canberra. The King’s Choice deals with the dilemma that beset King Haakan VII of Norway when his country was invaded by the Germans in April 1940. Erik […]