Divide in Concord

Divide in Concord

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 like to spend my “latter years” as Jean Hill, the bottled water campaigner in the American town of Concord, featured in the movie “Divide In Concord”. In the film, Jean explains she reached a point in her life (in her 70s/80s), after the death of […]

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Monica Z

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 […]

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Croc-a-Dyke Dundee

Dawn O'Donnell - still taken from movie trailer

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 should be done with those engaging in homosexual behaviour in the early days of European settlement here. For me, that 1993 film was also an introduction to the larger-than-life character of Dawn O’Donnell, the subject of the movie I saw tonight, Croc-a-Dyke Dundee. For many […]

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Muriel’s Wedding

Muriel's Wedding - Goodbye Porpoise Spit

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” is a light-hearted comedy. For me, it’s actually a heart-felt comic-drama that has usually brought me to tears on the many, many occasions I’ve watched the film. The first time I saw “Muriel’s Wedding” was at a cinema in Canberra. I was living in Wagga […]

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88 Documentary

From 88 Documentary, image by Peter Solness

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 […]

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The Darkside and Frank Yamma

The Darkside

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, you need to work out your own “narrative” for The Darkside, as the film is based on a series of social history interviews with people about “ghost stories”. But rather than feature the original interviews, well known actors (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) are brought in […]

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Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge in the studio

We knew within seconds we were in the “wrong movie”. We had already felt a little uncomfortable about the size of the crowd and theatre, expecting a much larger crowd in a much larger theatre. But we sat there, chatting, half-watching the ads, until the opening credits appeared and within seconds we realised we were in the wrong theatre. We got up quickly, found the right theatre, and then made our way to the second front row, as the much larger theatre was close to capacity. We knew little about […]

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