Film & theatre

In a move that surprised many ― and symbolises Israel's growing isolation and global opposition to its crimes ― former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr has publicly declared his opposition to Israeli policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Carr's change in position was announced in a November 8 Australian opinion piece titled “Why I am now a friend of Palestine rather than Israel”.
Charlie's Country Directed by Rolf de Heer Starring David Gulpilil In cinemas now From the opening moments of Charlie’s Country you know that you are witnessing a different kind of cinematic experience. Co-written by its star David Gulpilil and its director Rolf de Heer, and produced by Aboriginal actor Peter Djigirr, Charlie’s Country presents an Aboriginal cinematic vernacular.

Les Miserables Now playing in Melbourne www.lesmis.com.au Les Miserables tells two stories: one of personal love, the other of revolutionary passion. It is no surprise that most Western adaptations of Victor Hugo's novel have, when deciding what to cut and what to leave in, favoured the clasped hands of romance over the clenched fist of insurrection. The story we all know -- the one that is left after adaptation pares away everything else -- is that of Jean Valjean, the ex-convict who redeems himself through acts of charity.

The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler Ben Urwand Belknap, 2013 327 pages, $39.95 (hb) Throughout the 1930s, movie-goers all over the world got to see the German Nazi’s cut of every Hollywood film. Any movie touching on Germany contained no mention of Nazism or Jews. Both these silences, as Harvard University’s Ben Urwand unearths in The Collaboration, were the result of a remarkable agreement allowing the Nazis to dictate Hollywood movie content in return for Hollywood studios keeping their access to the lucrative German market.
The premiere of new film Radical Wollongong was held in Wollongong, NSW, on May 18. About 230 people attend the event at the Gala cinema. Film writer and co-producer John Rainford introduced the film and Aboriginal leader Mark Bloxsome gave a welcome to country.
Radical Wollongong Written by John Rainford Directed by John Reynolds and Paul Benedek Produced by Green Left TV www.radicalwollongong.com Radical Wollongong, the first documentary produced by Green left TV, met with significant enthusiasm at its premier screening at the Gala Cinema in the Illawarra on May 18. With standing room only, in one of the region's few remaining theatres, we were shown a treat of a film on the history of Wollongong ― in particular, its most radical and interesting manifestations of class, politics and working life.
Noah Directed by Darren Aronofsky Starring Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connolly In cinemas now The self-avowed atheist Darren Aronofsky, who directed the recently released Hollywood epic Noah, called it the “least biblical biblical film ever”. Christian critics, such as National Religious Broadcaster president Jerry Johnson, were quick to agree. Johnson accused the film of having an “extreme environmentalist agenda” and supporting the theory of evolution.
“It's no secret that many of the actors at the Oscars were wearing borrowed clothes and jewellery after being feted by designers keen for a priceless plug,” the Sydney Morning Herald said on March 5. “But not many would have been lent a suit because they couldn't afford one.”
A farmer from Wyoming, who featured in the documentary Gasland, is touring Australia to warn locals about the health and environmental consequences of fracking for coal seam gas (CSG). John Fenton will speak about his experience of living with polluted ground water, polluted air and other effects of the gas industry. Fenton’s first meeting will be on February 22 in Sydney and will include 10 meetings in areas most affected by CSG mining, including regional NSW, Brisbane, Wollongong and Melbourne.
The Wolf of Wall Street Directed by Martin Scorsese Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler Showing at selected cinemas “There is no nobility in poverty. I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor and I chose rich every time. At least as a rich man, when I have to face my problems, I show up in the back of a limo wearing a $2000 suit and a $40,000 gold plated watch! ... I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich! Be aggressive, be ferocious, be telephone fucking terrorists!”
It's celebrity time again. The Golden Globes have been, and the Oscars are coming. This is a “vintage year” say Hollywood's hagiographers on cue. It isn't. Most movies are made to a formula for the highest return, money-fuelled by marketing and something called celebrity. This is different from fame, which can come with talent. True celebrities are spared that burden.
Utopia Directed by John Pilger
http://utopiajohnpilger.co.uk
The latest documentary by Emmy and BAFTA award winning film maker and journalist, John Pilger, contrasts two very different worlds: one of white aspiration on Sydney’s northern beaches, and the other the Aboriginal community in the ironically named town of Utopia, located in central Australia. The town has been assessed as the most disadvantaged and poorest community in Australia. The distinction could not be more stark.
One of the most extraordinary films about Australia is soon to be screed across Australia. This is Utopia, an epic production by the Emmy and Bafta winning film-maker and journalist John Pilger. Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. "This film is a journey into that secret country," says Pilger in Utopia. "It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance - from one utopia to another".
In the late 1960s, I was given an usual assignment by the London Daily Mirror's editor-in-chief, Hugh Cudlipp. I was to return to my homeland, Australia, and "discover what lies behind the sunny face". The Mirror had been an indefatigable campaigner against apartheid in South Africa, where I had reported from behind the "sunny face". As an Australian, I had been welcomed into this bastion of white supremacy. "We admire you Aussies," people would say. "You know how to deal with your blacks."
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth & Donald Sutherland Directed by Francis Lawrence In cinemas now The Hunger Games brings revolution to the big screen in an action-packed film adaption of author Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. The second film, Catching Fire, takes off nicely where the first left off. It lifts the bar in every aspect, from the intensity of the storyline, to the performances and production quality.
As an inveterate film fan, I turn to the listings every week and try not to lose hope. I search the guff that often passes for previews, and I queue for a ticket with that flicker of excitement reminiscent of matinees in art deco splendour. Once inside, lights down, beer in hand, hope recedes as the minutes pass. How many times have I done a runner? There is a cinema I go to that refunds your money if you're out the door within 20 minutes of the opening titles. The people there have knowing looks. My personal best is less than five minutes of the awful Moulin Rouge.

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