“I hadn’t realised it was so soon after his death when the book was released”, I told my friend. We had just been to see a screening of the movie version of “Holding The Man” at Sydney’s Verona Cinema. We were right in the midst … Continue reading Holding The Man
I’ve been thinking lately about my “latter years”. In part, it’s the passing of a dear friend who spent the last few years of his life living with dementia. In part, it’s because I’ll be fffff fffff fifty next year. Last night I’ve concluded I’d … Continue reading Divide in Concord
The last couple of weeks have been reasonably busy, and so I haven’t managed to immerse myself in the Scandinavian Film Festival as I’d hoped. There was one film, however, I definitely wanted to see on the big screen, having previously seen it only a small screen: the movie about the life of Swedish jazz singer, Monica Zetterlund.
I’d first heard about Monica twenty or thirty years ago, as Frida from ABBA had described her as one of her idols. The story of a jazz singer from a small country town who, in 1960s Sweden, has to find a balance between career and family is a theme in both their lives.
In the time since, I’ve come to know and really enjoy Monica’s work. I think my favourite song of hers is her Swedish language version of “Take 5”: it’s a great tune, sung with passion and energy. The film explains this particular song, and many of her others, comes from Monica’s desire to sing (mostly in Swedish) about things in her life. The film details a meeting with Ella Fitzgerald, where Ella, quite directly tells her not to sing about New Orleans and other such things (the staples of 1950s and 1960s jazz), but about stuff she knows.
Monica’s own experiences of travelling to New York are documented in the film: an early disastrous performance where the show was shut down because her backing musicians were black; and a later more successful show that brings her family and friends to tears. The film documents a difficult relationship with her father who lives in the small town of Hagfors. “Do you have any idea where that is?”, I whispered to Grant. Later, over a drink, we looked it up, locating it in the middle of Sweden, towards the border with Norway. There’s a really funny scene in the movie (which I won’t spoil) about Monica’s personal vow never to return to Hagfors.
I really loved this film. It’s a great story. Great music. Features great performances. And has beautiful cinematography which deserves the big screen. I really hope the film gets a broader cinematic run in Australia.
PS: After watching the movie we went out for a drink and a chat. We joked we should have played the “Monica Zetterlund Drinking Game”. It’s the game where you watch the film and have a drink every time she does. You would end up pretty sloshed pretty quickly. She liked a drink or 25,000, it seems.
Years ago I remember watching a really fantastic documentary about the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras called, Feed Them to the Cannibals. As I recall, the title was a reference to the words of an Australian government official, who was asked what he thought … Continue reading Croc-a-Dyke Dundee
A few friends have been noting of late it’s twenty years since the film, “Muriel’s Wedding” was released. I guess it was the article in the Sydney Morning Herald the other day which prompted most of the nostalgia. For a lot of people, “Muriel’s Wedding” … Continue reading Muriel’s Wedding
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned this post contains an image which may feature deceased persons.
Thought I’d give a mention to a documentary my friend, Michaela Perske has produced and co-written called “88”.
The documentary goes back to 1988, the year of the Australian Bicentenary, and tells the story of some of the many thousands of Indigenous people who travelled from all over Australia to join in protests on January 26. As well as being a seminal moment in the development of modern Indigenous affairs in Australia, it was also a seminal moment in the lives of many of those profiled.
The program goes to air on ABC1 on Thursday, January 30 at 8.30pm. A lot of hard work over a long period of time has gone into this, so I hope you’ll be watching :)
There’s more info about the program on their Facebook page.
I went to one of (maybe the first public screening) of the new film by Warwick Thornton, previously known for such brilliant works as Samson and Delilah (director) and The Sapphires (director of photography). In contrast to the clear, strong narrative of those two films, … Continue reading The Darkside and Frank Yamma