Name: Jeanette

Web Site: http://www.littlepinktypewriter.com.au

Bio: Jeanette is a writer/editor by day and film nerd by 'whenever she has time'... Within her journo degree, she dabbled in a bit of film studies and semiotics, so loves deconstructing both the aural and visual elements of film. She's written a few film/arts reviews in her time, been an 'odd guest' on Ireland's 'leading' film review podcast, Spoilerama, and loves a good opening night, film festival, special event, immersive experience... An adventurer at heart (both literally and metaphorically), she loves the power of cinema to transport and transform. When the lights dim, generally with wine in paw, she sinks into that delicious world only films can take you.. She loves a good drama, films with underlying philosophical narratives, and stuff that makes ya think, but can also giggle her face off at a silly rom-com or animation loaded with jokes for adults... She loves telling the story about meeting film director Mike Leigh and that one time that William McInnes asked her for a lift on the back of her pink scooter (#truestory).

Posts by Jeanette:

    Scribblers Festival Needs Your Support

    July 1st, 2018

    Keen to help kids from under-resourced schools?

    As you probably know – or will soon get to know – The Curb is pretty passionate about community, elevating lesser heard voices, and embracing unity and diversity.

    So I was pretty happy when Andrew asked if I’d like to write a short post about an event that also embraces those values.

    Scribblers Festival is a literature and arts festival for kids, and made its debut in Perth’s busy cultural scene in May 2018.

    The inaugural festival was brought to life by cultural non-profit FORM and Town of Claremont, and included local, national and international authors and illustrators across a three-day Schools Program and a, largely free, Family Program.

    It was developed as part of FORM’s Creative Learning program and strives to inspire creativity and learning, via storytelling in its many forms.

    Crowdfunding campaign for 2019

    But… to reach a wider audience and continue to make the festival accessible – and free – to as many young people as possible, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign.

    Hoping to raise $10,000 by 20 July, the funds will provide tickets and bus transportation for 10 under-resourced schools to attend the 2019 Schools Program. Any additional funds raised will help ensure the festival’s Family Program remains free.

    Even $10 makes a difference!

    They’re offering some pretty cool perks for donors. 2018 Festival guest, word-nerd, David Astle, has kindly donated a downloadable crossword – every donor receives one of these! They’ve also got goodies from The Goods Shed, signed books, and a VIP Festival Experience up for grabs!

    The campaign only runs until 20 July, so they’d love your support now.

    Share the love

    They’d also love it if you could share the campaign with your networks and on social media.

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    I, Tonya

    February 7th, 2018

    I love films based on true stories. I love sports (not all, and not necessarily sports films purely focused on the sport aspect). I love dramas. I love black comedy. And, I remember the mayhem around the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan ‘incident’ in the nineties. So, I, Tonya was always going to appeal to me.

    But it was tricky to stomach in parts – for numerous reasons.

    As noted pretty much everywhere, Margot Robbie’s transformation into the character of ‘disgraced’ American ice skater Tonya Harding is fabulous – and award-worthy. As is Allison Janney’s portrayal of the horrendous, well, tough-love-slash-extremely-questionable parenting style of Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden.

    But, like any film about a controversial, real-life story that has, at least, ‘two sides’, it’s always hard to know how accurate or embellished the characters and scenarios are. And, as its name deliberately states, it’s clearly Tonya’s account, albeit told through both hers and other characters’ conflicting points of view, blending anecdotal accounts with actual footage and reenactment scenes – maintaining the ‘blur’ of what really happened. But even if the characters and circumstances are exaggerated caricatures, if some of the major elements are true (if nothing but the abuse she endured from both her mother and ex-husband), then sheesh, you can’t help but build some empathy for her. The film of course doesn’t portray her as the perfect human being who was hard done by (the victim of ‘the incident’ in which she wasn’t the actual victim!), but the amount of crap in her personal life, which cumulatively impacted her professional – and public – life, should earn Tonya Harding a little more respect than she initially received.

    To most people, Tonya Harding is undoubtedly synonymous with ‘the incident’ – due to the media circus around it – and probably remembered as ‘the one who injured rival Nancy Kerrigan’ or ‘was implicated in some way’. Most people wouldn’t remember the details (nor do we know what actually happened) – they typically remember the ‘good girl versus bad girl’ media narrative. This film sets out to modify that.

    Aside from the horrific abuse she lived through and the stress she would’ve experienced from the case while seemingly trying to a) stay alive b) stay sane and c) maintain her fitness to perform as an elite athlete (albeit a smoking asthmatic one!), what interested me most about the film was the way it amplified the notion of commercialisation of sport and marketability of athletes. The beauty-pagent-esque ice princess versus the muscular, athletic tomboy who corporate America didn’t want as their champion – or to sponsor. While this stuff still goes on, everywhere, and ice skating actually has aesthetic elements in its judging criteria, the film highlights the notion that someone equally or better skilled than a competitor could be penalised both on and off the rink – for non-technical/socio-economic/personal attributes. Brutal, in sport, and something of a metaphor for other ‘unfair’ aspects of life.

    Oddly, in Australia, we LOVE the Aussie battler/underdog. Maybe if Tonya Harding was Australian, we’d’ve embraced the abrasive, resilient bogan fighter! Until ‘the incident’ at least.

    It reminded me of ballet writer Elizabeth Kaye’s accounts of the rivalry, contrasting styles and public portrayal of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyevb. I’m a tennis tragic, so it also reminded me of the contrasts between poster girl Anna Kournikova versus muscular Serena Williams, Evert versus Navratilova, Federer versus Nadal. But at least with sports like tennis, and while marketability/sponsorship plays a huge role in elevating and sustaining someone’s career/lifestyle (and there is preferential treatment), the scoring system isn’t overtly manipulated.

    Rather than focus on the did she/didn’t she narrative, the film made me question if figure skating should (still!) have so much emphasis on classical style and grace? Why can’t a muscular athlete bust some technically brilliant moves to Acca Dacca? What if Tonya proved to be a catalyst for change in the way figure skating is judged – metaphorically and literally? Just when I was pondering whether the perception and/or rules of ice skating have changed, I stumbled up on this recent article. So perhaps change is afoot.

    But I digress. I, Tonya doesn’t go into ‘what if’ territory, but it certainly points firmly at how one, albeit horrific (and horrifically stupid) incident, exacerbated by all the other negative influences in her life, really did compound into quite the shit show for her, and ‘significantly’ impacted her life thereafter. We don’t hear much from Kerrigan’s side, and based on the other docos and archive footage I’ve seen, she seems to’ve stayed out of the spotlight as much as possible at the time and has continued to, which, again, says even more about their contrast in character. So it wasn’t exactly balanced, and risked being a stream of ‘shit things that have happened to Tonya’, it at least focused on her resilience – or perhaps, stubbornness. She’s rough around the edges, she doesn’t apologise for it, she doesn’t want to be squished into a box, she owns it and just gets on with it. So that was a positive!

    Style-wise, I struggled with some of the to-camera moments, ie in the middle of the abusive scenes, it seemed even more jarring to have Tonya speak to the camera while getting her face smashed in, and some of the to-camera interviews, ie “Now this is the bit where my storyline disappears”… I assume they were meant to be humorous additions to the multi-angled narrative, but I think it would’ve worked just as well as straight ‘mockumentary’ interviews. Likewise, some of the parts my audience was laughing at (perhaps it was meant to be funny; perhaps it was just my audience) didn’t seem funny because it was such dark material. The abusive stuff is obviously not funny and the ‘stupidity’ and ‘absurdity’ of some of the characters and ‘the incident’ was not funny, and almost poked fun at mental health. These were deeply troubled humans who did ridiculous things. I didn’t find that funny.

    Whether you buy it, some of it or none of it, build empathy or not, you can’t deny the impact of personal trauma on anyone’s life – played out publicly, or not.

    Score

    Technical: brilliant performances from Robbie and Janney.

    Aesthetic: insanely good trashy 90s hair, make-up, costumes and soundtrack.

    Overall: High-achieving routine, including a superb triple axel, but didn’t always execute the landing.

    3.5 out of 5

    Director: Craig Gillespie
    Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
    Writer: Steven Rogers

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    Swinging Safari

    January 17th, 2018

    Boy oh boy. That was quite the ride. In the family station wagon, to the beach, in the seventies.

    Directed by Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), coupled with its huge, high-profile cast, including Jeremy Sims, Asher Keddie, Guy Pearce, Radha Mitchell, Kylie Minogue, Julian McMahon and even Jack Thompson, Swinging Safari was bound to be a hoot. It is a hoot – but it is also a bit confusing at times. More on that in a sec.

    Following the lives of three families in beachy suburbia, its plot reads: “a teenager comes of age in a small Australian town during the 1970s when a 200-tonne blue whale gets washed up on a local beach.”

    Semi-autobiographical, the film is ‘kind of’ told via the kid (Elliott-esque)’s gory home-movie-making obsession and the beached whale side plot – however, each time it moved from the kid’s horrendous gore films to the whale plot and back to the general swinging families mayhem, it felt like three different stories – and genres.

    Cast-wise, the adults were all pretty great. Except Kylie. Sorry. Towards the end she managed to deliver a few lines, but for the most part she awkwardly spat out half a line, a word, a face – or was just downing vodka. On the other hand, Sims and Pearce absolutely nailed it – as the reckless, somewhat cringe-worthy 70s dads. The abundant scriptwriting puns and Pearce’s delivery of lines like, “it’s not fucking on the beach; it’s on the fucking beach and stop fucking swearing” was pure gold.

    The lead kids, Atticus Rob as Jeff, and Darcey Wilson as Melly, were outstanding, and provided the underlying heart of the film. However, again, just when you thought it was going to develop that heart and go somewhere deeper, it’d revert to the cack-your-face-off brash and crass scenes. Just when the emotion was building (like a wave), the outrageous scenes would come crashing down (like an exploding whale!)…

    If you grew up in the seventies (as I did), you’ll absolutely love the attention to detail in the sets, the costumes, the LINGO (a couple of modern terms drop in, but for the most part, it’s bang on!), the sounds, the scents of the seventies (you can hear the squelch of the plastic house mats and smell the KFC buckets on the beach) – the brilliant time capsule that it is – and the seemingly outrageous pre-PC/helicopter parenting. It’s jam-packed with hilarious digs at the loose-reined seventies, like the ‘hilarity’ of kids getting set on fire or injured in general, plying them with booze, rewarding a doctor-defined ‘active’ daughter with the Pill, ‘harmless’ sunburn and cigarettes, to digs at heavier stuff like abuse, paedophilia, and homophobia – all fair game for visual and verbal assaults.

    Carried by its laugh-out-loud script and visually and verbally brilliant scenes like the couples gathering in the sunken lounge (a visual treat!), talking about ‘how to fondue’, and having conversations about ‘exotic’ things, some ‘far away in Papua New Guinea’, the tongue is firmly in cheek – and occasionally in each other’s mouths. There is so much detail – it’s like one of those “You grew up in the seventies if…” internet lists. It’s all in there. And it’s all bloody hilarious.

    Aside from the silly, crass movie versus heart movie dilemma, it does cross the line a touch – or a lot, depending on your sensitivity – in parts, some of which, well, you can’t un-see!

    During the film, I exchanged many g’faws and bahahahas with the woman next to me as we recognised the many seventies things, sayings and moments, and at the end, she turned to me and said, ‘the seventies weren’t that bad were they?’ Well, it all rang pretty true for me, so I guess while it was deliberately amplified using humour, as the narrator (Richard Roxburgh) says, ‘our parents did the best they could with the bent tools they were handed.’

    Director: Stephan Elliott
    Cast: Guy Pearce, Jeremy Sims, Asher Keddie
    Writer: Stephan Elliott

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    Louis Theroux: Heroin Town

    November 28th, 2017

    Heroin Town is the latest ‘feature’-length documentary from Louis Theroux, although it is not a feature film in the way My Scientology Movie was – specifically made as a feature-length film. It’s part of the three-part series for the BBC, Dark States, which focuses on, well, dark subjects in three states in America.

    Or, as IMDb says, “Louis Theroux visits three American cities and examines a uniquely devastating human crisis in each – opioid and heroin addiction in Huntington, sex trafficking in Houston, and murder in Milwaukee.”

    Given that, and therefore if you lived in the UK or accessed BBC tele series by other means, it did make me wonder who would come out on a balmy Friday eve in Perth (when the majority of the city has been gagging for summer vibes), and shell out for what is essentially a TV ep – albeit on a big screen. Seeing as it is only on limited release (in the cinema) in Australia, and the special pre-recorded intro by Louis Theroux before the film was promoted, this possibly added to its appeal.

    Well, let me tell you, the opening night premiere at Luna Leederville was jammers. Many people, it would seem, were more than happy to pay to watch a telemovie on a Friday night in Leedy. A gaggle of gals next to me even ordered a bottle of wine and settled right in.

    The pre-recorded intro by Louis was an interesting addition. I thought it was going to be a two-minute, “Hi Australia, I’m Louis Theroux and I hope you enjoy my new film, Heroin Town” promo vid that was tailored for each country. However, it was 35 minutes of Louis reading out and answering questions about, well, himself, his career, his process, why and how he does what he does. The content reminded me of what he covered in his sit-down tour of Australia last year, but, if you’ve never heard of Louis Theroux before (though I can’t imagine who hasn’t!), it was a pretty solid Louis 101. And for the already-converted, well, my audience was pissing themselves at Louis being, well, Louis.

    So, onto Heroin Town. If you’re familiar with Theroux’s work, there are no surprises here – merely new subject matter and characters. In following the lives of a few of the many opiate-addicted residents of Huntington (a quarter of its population has some form of opiate addiction), it doesn’t focus on the day-to-day horrors (though there are some shooting-up shots), withdrawal scenes reminiscent of Trainspotting or violence, crime or desperation (though certain ‘tricks’ get a mention) associated with maintaining a drug habit, so much as it does the why and the how it all comes to this, and, of course, getting to know the people and families impacted by addiction.

    He follows the lives of three people in particular – a 21-year-old addict in a horrendous relationship of power-imbalance, who relies on her abusive partner to keep her habit alive, at the risk of herself and sense of self, a recovering addict whose child is born addicted (as per the 1-in-10 babies in the town), and a resident of ‘tent city’ on the river banks, who for the most part says he’s happy as can be – ‘why would I give it up?’, until a more honest admission is revealed later. A deliberate, poignant edit.

    One thing I found a little incomplete is what is alluded to in the trailer as well as through his interviews with the local emergency services crew, who are constantly reviving people from ODs (11,000 per year; fatal ODs 13 times the national average), is the suggestion that most of these people ended up in this situation from an addiction to prescription drugs, and subsequent legislative changes that made them no longer available. Can’t get pain killers – next stop heroin. A huge leap, I would’ve thought? But, in Huntington, not so huge at all. One-in-four. There are some references to the pharmaceutical companies and government, but it is not further explored in the way that films like Thank You For Smoking do.

    It’s not that kind of film. It’s Louis Theroux, so it’s about the people. And what Louis does so well. He asks the most direct, personal questions that in the hands of other interviewers could be perceived as invasive, brutal, judgy. Not an ounce. No pun intended. Louis does his thing in the most calm, polite (British!) manner – and it works. His subjects reveal all with honesty and candour, rather than defensiveness or shame.

    I really love Louis. And I really enjoy these kinds of films. And, despite its subject matter, there are some moments of light in the dark.

    Director: Louis Theroux

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    Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards

    October 30th, 2017

    Squeeeee! Okay, disclaimer: I do love a good shoe. Some might even (rightly!) say I’m a shoe-aholic, so I was always going to be very interested in this film – and its subject matter. The shoes – and the man behind the shoes – the King of Shoes, Manolo Blahnik. You know you’ve made it when people refer to you by your first name, and turn it into a (hardly) common noun to describe your products, ie Whoa momma! Check out those Manolos! Swoon!

    But, on the contrary, Manolo doesn’t really get what all the fuss is about, and at one point in the film, says, “never take yourself too seriously, or you’re finished.” Unlike other celebrities and fashionistas who are often portrayed as or perceived to be (fittingly or not) these larger-than-life caricatures, Manolo is quite the opposite, quite uncomfortable with the idea of fame – and fairly awkward about a film being made about him. But he obviously agreed to it somewhere along the line…

    As I saw the film as part of the Cunard British Film Festival, and the promo invited me to “put your fashion foot forward”, my biggest decision was of course what shoes to wear… rather ironic, given I’d be sitting in a dark room for a couple of hours with no one to flash ‘em to!

    Nonetheless, opting for (shoe spoiler) peeptoe heels with wide, cream, leather cross-straps and grey, suede, knotted, toe detail, and with my complimentary G&T (or Sofi spritz, tea [#BritishFilmFestival] and chocolates) in paw, I took my seat in the dark in the beautiful Windsor Cinema, ready for some shoe porn… oh, and to get my head around the unusual subtitle, “The boy who made shoes for lizards.”

    I don’t know if the decision to use that title was to evoke Manolo’s abundant humility and humble (ish) beginnings or to entice the audience to expect something more? Are lizards a metaphor for the chameleon-like celebrities he dresses, who morph into various roles and personas through fashion? Diverse, colourful exteriors – the façade of celebrity? Who is the real lizard underneath? How shoes transform an outfit, a person, a lizard? Well that detail is taken care of on the first ten minutes, and it’s as literal AF! Growing up in Santa Cruz on the Canary Islands (as you do!), he literally made tin-foil shoes for the lizards he caught in his rather lush ‘backyard’. That’s it.

    The film promo also read, “Synonymous with whimsical, yet elegant heels and Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, less is known about the humble and camera-shy man behind the iconic brand of Manolo.” I think a lot of people (myself included) first heard of Manolo via Sex and the City (ugh), which is strange because I was never really a SATC fan, but so huge was his impact on footwear fashion, even I had heard about him via occasional run-ins with that show. And, fortunately (for me at least!), the film only references SATC once – the scene where Carrie is mugged for her beloved Manolos (a term even the mugger uses – “give me your Manolos too!” Ha!)

    The film is chronological, which not only makes for an easy narrative to follow, but an enjoyable snapshot of each decade of his career, not only in terms of fashion, but the cultural and social pulse of the time.

    And, seeing as Manolo is such a reluctant subject, the film is interspersed with third-party endorsements, ie personal accounts from celebs, models, colleagues, designers and fashionistas, which is a lovely way of hearing about the man behind the brand. There is also some black and white imagery to represent his childhood and earlier life, and some reenactment sequences, which, well, they could’ve been left out or shown more creatively, perhaps through drawings or animation?

    Speaking of drawing, there are some beautiful moments where he is drawing his beautiful designs and he’s so self-deprecating and embarrassed to be doing so in front of the camera, and yet in doing so, his ridiculous talent shuts down that self-deprecation in an instant. Stunning shit. Effortless. Almost unaware of how darn good he is!

    He is a quirky character, and we get to see him in his various habitats, moving from poetic descriptions to shrill laughs (which themselves made our audience laugh every time!) to emphatic, unapologetic biting comments (though never nasty) that make it very clear why he lives alone! And while he says he can’t stand being around people at times, he hardly leads a solitary life. He’s a rather nice control freak! The film touches on, but doesn’t bother to indulge too much in his personal life – which I thought was great. You still get a sense of his personality without having to go into relationship territory.

    We also see him visiting one of his factories, revealing how he still insists on carving each sample (and apparently refers to himself as a mere ‘cobbler’), and his silly, friendly banter (and singing!) with the workers. I don’t think this is to suggest he hangs out with factory workers all the time (like some kind of hi-vis-wearing politician, kissing babies and mixing with ‘the people’) but it was definitely included to demonstrate his passion for his craft and respect for the people who realise his designs and get them on the shelves all around the world. Quite the opposite of the “Miranda Priestly” caricature in The Devil Wears Prada. Interestingly, Anna Wintour (who Miranda Priestly’s character is based on) gets plenty of screen time, and actually shows quite a soft side, particularly in describing Manolo’s warmth, humility and artistry.

    Another example of his humility is when he’s asked “who wore it best?” or rather, which celebrity he thinks wears his shoes best, and he takes a moment to reflect, and says a “secretary”-esque woman with a blonde bun he saw walking down the street one day – ie a complete stranger. An “ordinary person”, he says; he loves seeing ordinary people wearing his shoes.

    As well as the decades the film moves through, it takes you to some beautiful cities, linking Manolo’s life and inspiration from and impact on each. It particularly shows how he embraces all forms of art and culture, his passion for photographer Cecil Beaton, painter Francisco Goya, and favourite film (that he watches twice a year!), The Leopard. So before you say, “Oh come on, the guy just makes shoes.” Seriously, no, the guy truly is an artist. His designs speak for themselves. But the way he takes in his surroundings and other life influences to create particular shoes for a particular person or around a particular theme – the florals inspired by his garden, in which he spends a LOT of time, his take on Africa (which leads to an odd gorilla suit scene!), sexual shoes with whips and chains, the absolutely to-die-for Marie Antoinette shoes (yep, I think I peaked at those ones!), they’re not ‘just shoes’, people. The interview with the Museo de Prado curator explains it best as she adds insights about his love for feet (without being a foot fetishist!), his craft and attention to detail.

    As a film, it’s a bit of a mish-mash of styles and segues (so, yes, thankfully it’s chronological to keep things moving and logical), some of the shoe-porn montages and (arguably unnecessary) explanation of each shoe style at the end were a bit powerpointy – and not in a powerful pointed pump kinda way. And it may not be as interesting to people who don’t love shoes as much as I do, but it certainly makes me appreciate him as a designer and as a person even more! I don’t own any Manolos, but the film has certainly inspired me to rectify that tragedy asap!

    So yeah, it’s not a film that’s gonna change the world, and even though he changed the fashion world, it’s almost like he never intended to. So it is what it is. It doesn’t take itself too seriously.

    Director: Michael Roberts
    Featuring: Manolo Blahnik, River Hawkins, Rick Kissack

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    David Stratton: A Cinematic Life

    October 5th, 2017

    I’m not sure where to begin with this, so will just dump my thoughts on paper and go from there. In fact, I really wish I’d taken pen and paper to the cinema for this. Not that I’d anticipated reviewing it in this way, but it did so much more, and gave me so much more than I was anticipating, so now I feel compelled to do this… ain’t cinema grand the way it does that to you… Not always, but when it does, it does

    I guess my surprise by the depth of what this film gave me shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, given its subject matter, and main character – the iconic David Stratton… and the life and times thereof… but to be honest, I thought it was just going to be a lovely little romp with a few flashbacks of his amazing career, interspersed with a bit about this personal/family life – just a fun romp for everyone who loves David Stratton… and/or cinema.

    But, the reason I shouldn’t’ve been surprised that it gave so much more is that I suspect David would not let it be any other way – he wouldn’t allow such a film to be released that didn’t pay such attention to narrative and editing and montage and pathos.

    So yes, I loved it, and yes, it was so well crafted. David even corrected himself in the post-screening Q&A when he baulked at calling it a documentary, and referred to it as a hybrid. Because it really is a film within a film.

    You’re taken on a journey – that is almost less about David as it is the evolution of the Australian film industry, but intertwined with his life, well, film-related life story, using, you guessed it, films. So clever. That may sound obvious, but I wasn’t expecting them to do this. From the first cut to a film… to continue the narrative, I was like ‘ahhhhhh!’. Because I was expecting something like, “David Stratton was born in the UK, loved cinema from an early age, had some issues with his father/family, ended up in Aus, has enjoyed a cracking global career and become a household name and global cinema icon. These are some of films that impacted his life and career. The end.”

    I had no idea it was going to focus purely on Australian cinema – and because it was done so beautifully, I already want them to make one about his international film experience, film festival gallivanting, interviewing actors, directors, producers, etc. It didn’t even touch on his incredible foreign film knowledge and experiences.

    There were a couple of Australian films that sprung to mind that didn’t get a mention or much air time (Blessed – one of my all-time favourite Australian films, though they did include interviews with its director, and Candy, and no mention of Heath Ledger, and others…), but honestly, how do you decide which ones make the cut? Well, that is why it is so well edited, I guess!

    It made me want to see – and/or revisit – so many Australian films and want me to see more of these kinds of films about David and film! David’s French collection, David’s silent film analysis, David’s actor/director/producer series.

    I laughed – boy did I laugh, particularly at the David & Margaret scenes (I think we all still pine for them!) and the cleverly edited jokes – visual or verbal.

    I was moved… so many times… I was scared to see some of the films it urged me to want to see (Wake in Fright), dying to re-watch Shine and Picnic at Hanging Rock, and genuinely moved by the nostalgia of The Castle… In my screening, the audience was cackling at these old Aussie jokes that have become part of the vernacular, and reciting back to the screen, “tell ‘im ‘e’s dreamin’”.

    But, importantly, it wasn’t just a look back at Australian cinema – and particularly not just the ones that put Australian cinema on the map – it looked at the challenges of film-making, in general, the role of women in cinema, the role of Indigenous Australians in cinema – particularly as an outsider looking in – David’s campaigning against censorship… so much stuff, all within a narrative and his personal story.

    And, I think, what I really wasn’t expecting, was in him reflecting on different films at different points in his life and/or why film has made such an impact on him or rather, how he has made such an impact on the Australian film industry, made me realise how much he has impacted my life, and when film became such a big part of it. I was always interested in film/arthouse films at uni, etc, and as an artsy/music reviewer in my early 20s, film was an extension of that, but I think my bigger love for it came from people like him, bringing international film festivals to Australia, and talking about/reviewing foreign films. Perhaps I would not’ve explored it much further after uni if it wasn’t for At The Movies with David & Margaret? Who knows… and I didn’t really know how much he has done for Australian cinema.

    What was interesting was that while it showed mostly glowing, respectful accounts of him in the cameos – as you would expect in a tribute to him – there was an inclusion of a couple of snarky remarks about ‘pompous David and his fecking reviews’ (again, humorously edited), when he gave someone’s film a poor review, and he acknowledged that he revisits films if he feels like he might’ve been wrong the first time, or he’d changed his mind, and how he said he possibly should’ve given Romper Stomper a review instead of not reviewing at all because of the moral issues he has with the film… So while it was largely a positive account of his life, it was authentic, and showed his humility and the high regard in which he is held.

    There’s a reason many of our audience gave him a standing ovation… and as he thanked the audience, he was seemingly emotional, saying, ‘we’ve only screened it a couple of times, and you seem to’ve, well, to’ve received it warmly’, in his very David, very under-stated, humble way.

    Director: Sally Aitken
    Starring: David Stratton, Margaret Pomeranz, Geoffrey Rush

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