Archive for the ‘films’ Category


Without fanfare

March 13, 2012

It almost passed by without notice, but yesterday marked the 5th anniversary of our arrival in London. Half a decade, just like that. Well, almost just like that, as much as any five years can be said to be.

For my part, during that time I’ve worked on something like 14 feature films (most of which you’ll happily never see) in two countries and a stack of episodes of various TV shows, both high- and low-budget (yay, Doctor Who!) I’ve done a ton of drawing, leading to an exhibition last year, which was fun. Not lucrative, but fun. I might try that again one day.

The weather has been one of the weirdest things to try to get used to. Five years on and it still doesn’t feel right on my skin. The differences between the seasons were a fun novelty to begin with, but after most of five sets of them what I really want is for them to settle down and be reasonable more of the year; none of this bipolar ‘ now everything’s sprouting, now everything has to die’ rubbish. I understand it, but the animal living at the bottom of my brain still doesn’t.


Tell ‘im ‘e’s dreamin’!

December 29, 2008

Or, There’s No Place Like Home.

It’s big, and we finally saw the damn thing. Australia, that is.
Despite Our Germaine, despite The Honourable Peter Costello, BA, LLB, MP, despite a host of people telling us to the contrary, we actually went and saw and judged for ourselves. And lo, it was good!
No, it’s not a documentary, as some seem to have assumed, despite the factual existence of the place in the title.
It’s a rollicking story, sentimental, sympathetic, funny and fictional, though hung on a framework of historical events, in the same way as a zillion other WWII dramas, comedies and romances have been.
I honestly don’t know why there’s been such a white, middle-class backlash against this film (as it seems that there’s been, given at least the two reviewers above,) unless it can be said that they either feel vaguely guilty about being white and middle class, or they just don’t get it.
Baz is telling a meta-story, a story about telling stories, and the importance of telling stories, and the importance of growing up with stories to tell. He has fun with that notion in a filmic way, using the language of cinema, quoting from other big film stories, using broad strokes on a broad landscape, and generally being entertaining. The film is long, but it didn’t feel long – I was never bored. It’s blatantly emotionally manipulative, but that comes with the genre, and I didn’t feel it was cynically so.
I remember seeing Strictly Ballroom at the Sydney Film Festival when it came out, and the horror that surrounded it. It was as though Australians had never heard their own accent played back to them before – the Cringe was palpable! How could that terrible Mr Luhrman portray Australians like this, people were saying, and yet that film has entered the Australian cinematic canon, it has been taken to heart around the world, even in the Mother Country, Our Germaine’s adopted home, the UK TV classic Come Dancing has become Strictly Come Dancing!
Maybe it’s time the cringe was dropped, and it was accepted that if we tell Baz Luhrman he’s dreamin’, that might be a good thing. Even Australians have stories to tell.


Out for the weekend

August 14, 2008

Woohoo! I have days off!

Now that the horror fillum Book of Blood has finished (and that’s a genre, not just a description – I think the director was going for Dario Argento mixed with Great Julienning Disasters Through History, ep.14) I have some time to enjoy the lovely English August. Currently hovering at 18-20C, during the day. Nearly warm enough for short sleeves!

So this weekend we’re off to Devon, spiritual home of the scone, I would assume. Debun, as one of the locals calls it. Maybe they all do. That’s two more research topics for this intrepid reporter. Stand by. The weather report is for mild and fine, until about the hour we arrive on the train at Axminster (I’m very keen to check out the local carpets – I intend to do some barefoot studies), at which point the rain is predicted to set in and keep us moistened for the weekend.

Our spirits will remain strong, however, as we are booked to dine at the River Cottage HQ eating establishment, professional home of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, champion of chickens and all-round good food guy. But more on that next time. Don’t even try to find the location of the restaurant on the website – it’s a closely guarded mystery, I think, and they send you instructions for the secret handshake in an encrypted email only after you’ve actually committed to the booking. Two months in advance. I could be corrected on certain details, maybe, but not without losing some of the fun from the story.