Barry Healy

Tout le Monde Debout (Rolling to You)
Directed by Franck Dubosc
Starring Franck Dubosc, Alexandra Lamy, Elsa Zylberstein
Showing as part of the French Film Festival across Australia in March and April

Remember Pretty Woman back in 1990 where rich guy Richard Gere raced off fallen-woman sex worker Julia Roberts? 

Un Amor Impossible (An Impossible Love)
Directed by Catherine Corsini
Starring Virginie Efira, Niels Schneider, Jehnny Beth, Estelle Lescure, Ambre Hasaj & Sasha Alessandri-Torrès Garcia
Showing as part of the French Film Festival across Australia in March and April

This film is based on the controversial novel by Christine Angot, one of France’s angriest public intellectuals. The story is plainly autobiographical and leaves no painful fact unrevealed.

Les filles du soleil (Girls of the Sun)
Written & directed by Eva Husson
Starring Golshifteh Farahani, Emmanuelle Bercot, Erol Afsin, Evin Ahmad
Showing as part of the French Film Festival across Australia in March and April

This is a war film unlike any other that you will see, written and directed by a woman, focusing on a squad of the Kurdish autonomous women’s protection units (YPJ). The systematic female enslavement and mass rape by ISIS are its subject matter. 

The Darkening Age
By Catherine Nixey
Pan Macmillan, 2018
352 pp, $32.99

Do you remember the horror in 2015 when ISIS seized the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, killed archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad who had protected its monuments and attacked the 12-metre-high statue of Athena?

It wasn’t the first time that statue was attacked by religious fanatics. As Catherine Nixey records, in the 4th Century, Christian zealots attacked Palmyra and pulled the statue down. It lay in ruins until Muslim experts put it back together.

An Imperial Disaster: The Bengal Cyclone of 1876
Benjamin Kingsbury
Hurst, 2018
256 pp, $45

In the early hours of October 31, 1876, there was a terrible convergence of storm, tide and full moon in the Bay of Bengal. Its immediate effect was to send a giant wave, 12 metres high, over the low lying islands and coastal areas.

At least 215,000 people drowned.

It was followed by famine as shocked communities tried to scrounge what food they could. Then at least a further 100,000 died in a cholera epidemic.

The best documentary films are ones that tell a story. Backtrack Boys allows Aboriginal kids from around the Armidale region in NSW to express themselves and show how hard life is for them.

Australia’s waste disposal crisis is set to worsen with other Asian countries following in China’s footsteps and banning imports of recyclables.

2028
By Ken Saunders
Allen & Unwin, 2018
$29.99

This satirical novel is set in Australia’s near future and revolves around an accident-prone Liberal Prime Minister running a hopeless election campaign.  

The setting is near enough to be uncomfortably recognisable but allows Ken Saunders to stretch out today’s neo-liberal realities to the point of absurdity. 

Amateurs is a poignantly funny film that raises serious questions about Swedish multiculturalism, without ever preaching. There is plenty of harsh racist behaviour demonstrated — but the worst of it is committed by migrants against each other.

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