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02 October 2013 |
In Australia the reality of ongoing Indigenous disadvantage is proof of the effect of past atrocities on the structure of ensuing society. Likewise, despite some democratic progress in recent times, Indonesia's unhealed past remains a source of serious human rights problems. The Act of Killing demonstrates a direct continuum between the evils of the past and the present political reality.
25 September 2013 |
Polley approaches the subject with great patience, like an anthropologist who has a deep love for those whom she is studying. In the beginning she instructs her interviewees simply to start from the start and tell it how it was. She no doubt hopes to find clues in the detail, but she also dignifies each participant by allowing them to have a voice. She is self-effacing, yet the questions she asks are bound up in her very existence.
19 September 2013 |
Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
As a parent of a boy, I was concerned by Thomas' experiences doing 'sexual ethics theatre performances'. She recounts negative responses from teenage boys to one scenario dealing with pubic hair — the lads assuming that 'any girl with pubes would be so self-conscious about them that she'd avoid sex altogether', and that malekind is disgusted by non-exfoliated women.
18 September 2013 |
Jasmine is a tragic figure, and her fatal flaw is that she is entirely self-absorbed. But she is also a victim; the product of a society that expects women to conform to norms that disempower them. It was not her husband's downfall and the resultant material loss that caused her breakdown. It was the many years she spent in a marriage that was fundamentally abusive.
11 September 2013 |
A boy plays a treacherous prank on his brother while visiting the beach. A domestic violence victim finds comfort in a bizarre distortion of Christian faith. A man sees a news report and follows his memories back to the day of a childhood tragedy. A woman, grieving for a broken marriage, paws through her husband's box of memories. The filmmakers put their stamp on each story while paying due reverance to Winton's sublime prose.
04 September 2013 |
Ten years ago, my wife and I went to Dublin. Upon our arrival at the hotel there were three notes waiting from Seamus; the first suggested a meeting, the second drinks, the third 'Heigho, we'll have some scrags'. He picked us up in a Mercedes Benz. I said something about a poet and such a car, 'Never mind it's got a broken window'.
28 August 2013 |
A psychologically scarred war veteran struts about dressed as James Brown. An annual 'rocket' festival sees men celebrate explosives, in a country riddled with unspent American bombs. And a ten-year-old boy, who is accused by his grandmother of being a bad luck charm, sets out to prove that he is not to blame for the tragedies his family has endured.
22 August 2013 |
Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
Chopper's a racist, self-billed sociopath with acknowledged mental and physical health issues and a highly evolved if bizarre set of moral principles. A raconteur ever-ready to discuss the robbing, bashing, torture, murder and disappearance of various peers and colleagues. Yet he is also a man who recognises the damage done by the spiritual, emotional and physical abuse he took as a child.
21 August 2013 |
Frances and Sophie had been virtually co-dependent; a celibate lesbian couple, they'd joke. But with a new circle of friends and a new fiancé, Sophie is quickly outgrowing Frances, and this throws Frances into disarray. She approaches life with wide-eyed wonder, and tries to maintain the wonder no matter what life throws at her. But endless optimism can be wearying work.
14 August 2013 |
As social commentary Elysium clearly has in mind any country that receives 'unwanted' arrivals of refugees. But it seems particularly timely in Australia, where the political response to asylum seekers who arrive by boat is simply to stop them. The response by the fictional bureaucrat Delacourt, to blow the smugglers' ships out of the air before they reach Elysium, certainly takes the 'stop the boats' mentality to its extreme.
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