The episode of the vandalized bus, therefore, works in the film more as an opportunity for camp theatricals than as a way to document the marginalization of the gay community: before Adam paints over the homophobic inscription, there is a long sequence showing the defaced bus moving through the red desert with Felicia, dressed in a sparkling silver leotard and a massive headdress, and enthroned in a giant silver slipper on the roof.
This is what Brophy accuses the film of: although it was sold to the audiences as outrageously irreverent, it actually did little to subvert the dominant mind-set, and particularly the masculinist prejudices that prevailed in Australia. In fact, although Tick and his friends have obviously never been to the desert when they leave the last built-up areas they are actually shocked by the sight of the wide expanses before them , the few women they come across in the outback are made to look more alien than the drag queens themselves.
A form of rivalry between the nameless woman and the trio is established because they set out at exactly the same moment and they are going in the same direction, but Tick and his friends have a crowd cheering them off and she only has a tiny group of drab company officials.
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As the camera rises to a crane shot, both the bus and the woman are caught in the same frame but while the former moves off left into the sunset, romantically wreathed in dust, the woman keeps to the main road on the right with a doggedness that is made to look boringly conservative. Her imperviousness to her surroundings contrasts with the journey of self-discovery undertaken by the trio and establishes her as an absurd, comical character. She is a South-East Asian woman who tricked Bob, the ageing hippie turned car-repair man, into marrying her and bringing her back to Australia with him.
She only speaks gibberish and behaves like a hysterical shrew. She finally leaves Bob when he begs the drag queens to perform but cuts short her own stripper act. We first see her roughly elbowing her way forward when Bernadette tries to order cocktails. A medium, power-enhancing low angle shot reveals her as the only aggressive presence in the bar.
Before she pushes her way forward, the men behave passively, merely falling silent and backing away to let Bernadette and the drag queens through. When Shirley begins taunting the trio, they crowd in behind her but look on with disbelief rather than hostility. They seem cowed by her bullying ways and allow her to speak in their name until she is made an object of ridicule. The portrayal of the miners as a meek and peaceable crowd is rather different from the one that films like Wake Up In Fright Ted Kotscheff, have accustomed the viewer to. Is she being punished for having usurped male prerogatives?
Is the film suggesting that homophobia is fed by the resentment and hostility that castrating middle-aged women manifest towards those men they see as threatening their power with their sexiness? It would not make much sense for the film to show Shirl being humiliated just for having crossed the gender divide, so the idea that the scene is meant to convey is more probably that she is punished for having conformed to the stereotypical form of masculinism that is so dominant in the outback that it allows for no diversity. The camera then cuts back to the clock tower looming over a crossing.
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Deep focus photography allows us to see people crossing the street in the middle distance, but it is difficult to tell the few women from the men because everyone seems to be wearing pants, cowboy hats and boots. This seems to be confirmed later, when the trio walk down the main street, by the baffled yet good-natured reactions of the passers-by and three successive close-ups of the staring faces of a little girl, a middle-aged rustic and a fenced-in dog.
The solitary exploration of the desert, rather than the communal experience of the pub, seems to be what best defines the Australian imagined identity. In her study of the representation of the desert in Australian fiction and art, Roslynn D. Haynes presents this as an imperial legacy:. This figure was inspired by the sublimely heroic and grotesquely overblown figures of the imperial explorers of the mid th century, but also by the Judeo-Christian imagery of self-renunciation in the desert. The journey into the desert led the explorer to divest himself of the trappings of social identity and stoically face alienation and even extinction, his self-sacrifice allowing him to lay spiritual claim to the land.
This is the kind of imagination that the surreal story of two gay men and a transgender woman dressing up in grotesquely unsuitable clothes and shoes to go into the desert both plays along with, and most efficiently subverts by putting into relief its campy excesses. Thousands of people had been out in the desert doing Mad Max films wearing brown or black, but my simple concept in all of this is to do the opposite colour. As was mentioned before, the reasons why Tick and Bernadette want to make a six-week journey into the desert are, respectively, to come in aid of a wife, and to recover from the death of a partner.
But when Adam is asked why he wanted to come on the trip, he says that he always wanted to climb a mountain in the desert dressed in drag. After all, there is a scene in the film where Adam flies and then lets go of an angel-like kite fashioned out of a bare-breasted, scarlet-clad blow-up doll that a Shinto monk in Japan retrieves and furtively fondles while the end credits roll.
The audience may have been used to seeing drag queens on screen or on the Sydney streets, but what makes the sequence seem radically novel is the relocation of a Sydney float in the desert. Yet, this too can be seen as a rewriting of the tradition of the Australian sublime. This use of the opera in the film may remind the viewer of the desert scenes in the novels by Patrick White, David Malouf or Randolph Stow.
Back in Sydney, Tick is reinstated as a self-confident father, thanks to, but also far from, his potentially domineering wife who is symbolically relegated to a marginal position in Alice Springs. Not only is Amazing Grace technically masterful in terms of audio and visual quality, but the footage has been beautifully edited to convey the sensation of what it must have been like to be in the church audience on those nights, in the presence of perfection.
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Due to the way I felt while watching this film, I suspect that sensation was euphoria. Australia has confronted its violent colonial past before in films from The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith to The Tracker , but the unflinching and unrelenting brutality and rage the permeates The Nightingale results in a breathtaking film that is bursting with urgency and fury, which is going to be very hard to forget. The film evokes a lot of pain and anger — as it should — but the film wisely allows critics of Goodes to dig their own graves while the voices of support ultimately deliver a message of defiance, awareness and reconciliation.
Midsommar draws from a variety of horror tropes to deliver an experience that is unsettling, humorous, traumatic and gleeful. A riff on folk horror and the tradition of arrogant American tourists abroad being preyed upon by the locals, Midsommar follows the fate of a grieving college student who travels to a Swedish commune with her less-than-supportive boyfriend as his academic bro friends.
Booksmart follows the misadventures of two best-friends as they attempt to cast off their studiousness and sense of responsibility during the night before they graduate from high school. It is not unusual for a teen film to be funnier, more insightful and more heartfelt than most romcoms and dramas aimed at adults, but this is a particularly special example of the genre.
The performances are excellent, the depiction of the various social subgroups is refreshingly overhauled and made to feel contemporary, and the film effortlessly blends the laughs and the pathos. If nothing else Apollo 11 is a brilliant example of how to assemble archival footage of a historical event to construct an engaging narrative through editing and sound design.
Despite the outcome of the mission being known and documented for five decades, this incredible documentary still delivers an exhilarating and profound experience that left me breathless. The US documentary Hail Satan? Few filmmakers are able to so artfully slide from one genre to another as Bong Joon-ho, who once again demonstrates his mastery of tonal shifts in Parasite. Beginning as a mix of social realism before moving into something that comes close to farce — and then to something entirely different — the initial set-up concerns a family of hustlers who find a way out of poverty by taking various service jobs for a wealthy family.
While Toy Story 3 was the perfect conclusion to the deservedly much-loved and acclaimed Pixar trilogy about the secret lives of toys, Toy Story 4 is a brilliant coda. The winning mix of characters from the original films and a great ensemble of new characters, maintain the blend of heartfelt sentiment and humour.
Most interestingly — and satisfyingly — is how this new film expands on the theme of companionship, which is so central to the previous instalments, to suggest that even for toys there are different ways to form bonds and family units, and needs change over time. High Life explores the tenuous boundaries between what are and are not acceptable social norms when it comes to sexual desire and procreation, juxtaposing the body in all its abject glory against the sterility of outer space. Claire Denis creates a bewildering and intoxicating science-fiction fever dream that is as transgressive, ambiguous, beautiful and confronting as any of her previous works.
As the film unfolds it becomes increasingly apparent that the impact of climate change is permanently affecting their culture, tradition and way of life. The result is a quiet tragedy, but also a tribute, to a way of life that is not continuing with younger generations, mostly because the modern world has made it impossible.
The final shot of this film left me shattered in a way I did not see coming. Chela Ana Brun , the reclusive middle-aged protagonist in The Heiresses , is coping with looming bankruptcy, having to sell off her prized possessions, the incarnation of her partner and having to make ends meet by becoming a car service for her wealthy friends.
Despite the bleak premise and visual style this is a sweet and subtly uplifting film as Chela realises that her partner and the trappings of her social class have been stifling her, and she develops a new lease on life. The result is a restrained feel-good film about transformation and new beginnings. Secretary of State Charlotte Field Charlize Theron and speechwriter Fred Flarsky Seth Rogen are clearly mismatched in terms of social status, but their mutual respect for each other results in an enjoyably refreshing dynamic, and Theron and Rogen have magnificent chemistry.
Following four women campaigning against the Democratic establishment in the US midterm elections, Knock Down the House inevitably focuses on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who unsurprisingly is an engaging documentary subject. The themes of women and people of colour rising up to challenge the conventions of entrenched political discourse with grassroots campaigns of sincerity and authenticity is something to celebrate and draw some hope from. Streaming on Netflix. The Night Eats the World , which I enjoyed a lot, is yet another take on the zombie film; this time taking a more low key or even minimalist approach.
It functions more as a lone survivor film with the majority of the action taking place in a Paris flat where a musician has barricaded himself after sleeping through an overnight zombie apocalypse. We watch him explore his surrounds, figure out how to adapt to his new life, and fight boredom and losing his sanity. Sunny Suljic as Stevie in Mid90s.
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Set at the height of the street skateboarding scene in Los Angeles in the s, the film is less an exercise in nostalgia and more an empathetic portrait of a distinct subculture and its appeal for a somewhat lost soul who is seeking approval and a sense of belonging. On the surface it is a love-triangle drama that becomes a paranoid thriller, but throughout the film there are issues of sexual jealously, fragile masculinity, class exploitation and even questioning the perception of reality.
While the film unfolds over a surprisingly long running-time there is still a sense of urgency that is completely captivating. Woman at War is a wonderful blend of self-reflexive absurdity, touching family drama, and droll humour, and a gleefully defiant thriller about radical environmental activism. As interested in character interaction as it is with plot, the film follows a pair of brother on a job as hired assassins.
Cory Michael Smith as Adrian Lester in Nicole Kidman as Erin Bell in Destroyer. Nicole Kidman is astonishingly good as Erin, giving her character just the right amounts of toughness, pathos and despair to make her a classic anti-hero detective figure in this gritty hardboiled crime thriller, which delivers all the meticulous plotting, low-life supporting characters, sun-drenched cynicism and fury that you would want from a Los Angeles-set neo noir.
Leaving Neverland. It also raises many issues about how children experience abuse and the way the law and public opinion often fail them.