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White messiah rides Rwanda's cycle of hope

1 Comment
04 June 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Rwandan cyclistIn 2002 US Cycling Hall of Famer Jock Boyer was convicted of lewd behaviour with a minor and served time in prison. Today he is the coach of Team Rwanda, a team for Rwandan cyclists, associated with aid organisation Project Rwanda. In Rising From Ashes, the traumatic experiences of his team members, all of whom were living witnesses to the 1994 genocide and lost family members to it, are footnotes to Boyer's redemption story.

Sex and alienation in Scotland

28 May 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Scarlett JohanssonThe succubus of medieval legend is a female demonic being, sexual intercourse with whom can result in sickness or death. This resonates uneasily with the attitudes of contemporary 'men's rights' movements who view women as social and sexual aggressors. The greatest irony confronting the 'succubus' of Under the Skin is that the femaleness that she had wielded as a weapon proves also to be what marks her out as a victim.

Feelgood celebration of white male privilege

1 Comment
21 May 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty on a skateboardGiven last week's unequivocal iteration of the dire state of Australian politics, perhaps we've earned the right to a bit of escapism. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty proves adept at turning the warm-and-fuzzies up to 11. Still there's no escaping the sense that Walter's ability to jet around the world in order to find himself is implicitly an expression of affluent, white male privilege.

Malcolm Fraser whacks lackey Australia

15 May 2014 | Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk

'Dangerous Allies' by Malcolm FraserFraser was a ruthless, conservative political animal who today is one of our most prominent human rights champions. The elder statesman is quite the angry young man in print. He delights in telegraphing his haymakers and following through with a well-placed elbow or two. Put bluntly, Fraser suggests we need to shed our lackey status. 'We need the United States for defence,' he argues, 'but we only need defence because of the United States.'

Seeing double in Hockey's dystopia

14 May 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Two Jesse Eisenbergs in The DoubleThe Double proffers a nightmare vision in which the human spirit is no match for the corrupt and corrupting power of a society obsessed with productivity and material achievement. In a week where we have seen an Australian Budget that gives favour to economic rationalism and the wellbeing of the wealthy, over that of some of our society's most needy citizens, such cynicism resonates powerfully. That is a tragedy.

Hugo Weaving's grief and healing

07 May 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Hugo WeavingWeaving's latest character is inspired by a real-life minimum-security prison officer whose daughter had died. This man helped develop a program for rehabilitating injured raptors, that would be overseen by prisoners as part of their own rehabilitation. 'The program encapsulated the positive side,' says Weaving, 'of someone trying to deal with their own grief, and healing himself by setting up a kind of living memorial to his daughter.'

Dangerous, sensual young love and sex

30 April 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Marine Vacth in Young & BeautifulDuring the summer of her 17th birthday, Isabelle manufactures the circumstances of her first sexual encounter. Not long afterwards, she finds herself working as a prostitute. By making men pay her, Isabelle exerts control over the manner and circumstances of her objectification. These are drastic and tragic measures that condemn the everyday exploitation of women by men, from pop culture to pornography.

My pop's Anzac nightmares

23 April 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Silhouette of a soldier playing a bugleAs a stretcher bearer, he tended to two landmine victims, including one who had lost his leg. He spent the night darting between the two men, providing physical aid, and whatever comfort and assurance was possible. Turns out he was lucky that he didn't end up laid out alongside them: the next morning he discovered that the entire narrow ridge was riddled with mines. 'That was fairly close,' he admitted. It was an understatement.

Exploitation in gay adoption story

16 April 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming in Any Day NowCloseted gay lawyer Paul operates under a well-founded fear that his sexuality will imperil his career. He and his partner, drag queen Rudy, find that their status as a gay couple is used against them as they fight to retain custody of Marco, an abandoned teen with Down syndrome. This is a story marked by grave injustice, though we are expected to accept on face value that Marco will be better off with Rudy and Paul than in foster care.

Punk's holy fools still putting it to Putin

10 April 2014 | Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk

Cover of Masha Gessen's Words Will Break Cement features members of Pussy Riot in balaclavas dancing Journalist Masha Gessen describes the members of Pussy Riot as 'Putin's ideal enemies'. In recent months, their nemesis has hosted the Olympics, taken control of Crimea and clamped down on media. For a group born out of 'the repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights', Pussy Riot still has much to roar about, even if its signature 'punk prayer' sounds more than ever like a plea.

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