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Friday, December 12, 2008


Lately I have been to see a huge, big-budget, famous film and a tiny, low-budget, Melbourne written and based play.  A nice contrast.

AUSTRALIA  I am not going to enter into the historical accuracy debate that is raging.  It was fiction, folks, and if you don't like the way Australia was portrayed in it, use your own version of history.  That means you, Andrew Bolt, in particular.

Loved it.  Expected to hate it, but came away feeling that this was our very own Gone With the Wind (OK, with similar debates about historical accuracy!!)  Pity it was two or three films cobbled together, but they were all quite good in their own way.  It could well have finished when the cattle were driven onto the ship and it would have been a good old-fashioned yarn.  

The scenery was the real star, plus Brandon whatever, the young Aboriginal boy, who was a superb actor.  I hope he has a good life and doesn't get caught up the hype of show business to his detriment.  It was wonderful to see David Gulpilill playing a dignified and resonant role.  Hugh Jackman was rather more deserving of that Sexiest Man in the World label than I had expected!  But Nicole Kidman ... why do people insist on casting her?  She can occasionally be funny, and Lars Von Trier did get one reasonable performance out of her with his own special brand of mental cruelty.  But SHE CANNOT ACT.  And how anyone can spend almost every minute of a nearly three hour film on screen WITHOUT MOVING HER FACE beats me.

CARELESS  In complete contrast, a local play performed in a tiny theatre. La Mama at the CArlton Courthouse is a very intimate space, and we sat in the front row and almost had the actors in our lap.  It was a wonderful experience to see them actually act for every second they were on stage.   The playwright, Russell Rigby, is a Melbourne barrister and it was about lawyers, deceit and dysfunctional relationships - plus the obligatory Lord Denning joke.  The director, John Higginson, has been a friend of ours for many years (his mother did a mature age degree at Monash when George was there) and he did a good job.  It was wonderful to see a women of my age act AND MOVE HER FACE CONSTANTLY!! (Carolyn Bock).  It being a real Melbourne play, the cast had all either been on Neighbours, or Blue Heelers, or both, except for the youngest cast member who had been in Underbelly.  It was very funny, very cutting, and very, very Melbourne.  And afterwards, in the pocket-handkerchief sized bar at the theatre, we mingled with the cast and drank cheap wine out of thick industrial tumblers.

Now that Womabt is off school and the flood of Christmas holiday movies will soon start to trickle in, I will be seeing a lot of kiddie movies.  Actually as my kids get older I enjoy their choice is films much more!

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