Lady Macbeth Anything but a Dozy Period Drama

Lusty, dark, shocking, subversive: all words you will see used to describe the new film by director William Oldroyd, Lady Macbeth.  This gothic tale of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who  turns to sex, manipulation and  ultimately violence to escape from her confines, is also quiet, beautiful, thought provoking and intelligent.  For lovers of period drama expecting another Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice or even Jane Eyre, maybe this is not the film for you.  Even if you are unaware of the novel this film is based off, the Shakespearean reference to Lady Macbeth in the title will send warning bells, leading a tenseness to the beginning of the film which starts slowly and gently, but always hinting, whispering of the violence to come.

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Karel Zeman: Fantasy and Technology

I am not a huge fan of CGI.  I certainly has its place, but give me some puppets and a bit of whimsical animation and I’ll be over the moon.  Even when it looks outdated it still holds it’s own a lot better than outdated CGI.  And there is something beautiful about the work that goes into creating puppets animation and elaborate sets and costumes.  However, like the skills used to build the pyramids, some animation and special effects are now a mystery to us.  One such example is the magical combination of live action, animation and puppetry used by Czechoslovakian director Karel Zeman.  The secrets of his craft are so fascinating that they are now the focus of a documentary Film Adventurer Karel Zeman.  In this documentary film students attempt to remake three of the most famous of Zeman’s scenes.  Zeman’s fascination with Jules Verne highlights his own desire for adventure and exploration in the world of film making and special effects.  His choices of subject are brave and perfect for the experimentation of his field.  Never one to back down from a challenge, Zeman accepted a bet to create an animation using glass, resulting in the film Inspirace 1948.
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Henri’s Journey to the End of the Night

I like to think that I am an adventurous eater, I will try most things, but that is not to say that I am not fussy and that there is nothing that can put me off.  When offered a delicacy I feel I am often a little nervous, after all many so called delicacies can be hard to stomach.  Caviar, chicken’s feet and snails just to name a few.  But I always feel the need to try them, surely there is a reason these foods are so highly revered?

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A Day at the Fair

The Melbourne Art Book Fair is the perfect melding of the old and the new, the famous and the soon to be, global and local and the corporate and the independent.  Here zines sit side by side with monographs of well known artists, publications are created right before your eyes, and ideas are shared across time and space. Continue reading

The S Word: Lurid Beauty at the NGV

Siamese shoes IBarry Humphries,Siamese Shoes I, 1958, remade 1968.

Shoes

There is nothing like the seductive beauty of a tapered stiletto.  Why do we love them so much despite the agony they cause?  Originally high heels were worn by men but now they are predominately the refuge of women.  They are worn for a multitude of reasons.  Status being one of them, they put you literally eye to eye with men in height, and there is nothing like the flash of a red sole to show wealth, or fashion.  And then there is sex. Continue reading

All Dressed Up

Rosalie Ham was born in Jerilderie, NSW.  Haven’t heard of it? Me neither.  Yes, Rosalie Ham knows about small town Australian living, and it isn’t pretty.  Her novel The Dressmaker has been made into a film that has just been released in cinemas across Australia starring the insatiable force, Kate Winslet, the heart-throb Liam Hemsworth, the show-stealing Judy Davis and our beloved Hugo Weaving, reprising a variation of his fantastic role in Pricilla Queen of the Desert. Continue reading

It’s Just a Feckin’ Colour

Stumbling into The Enclave it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust, first to the dark, then to the layout, and then there’s the pink.  Elsa Schiaparelli would have called it “shocking”.  As a surrealist fashion designer working between the two world wars, this lurid shade was to become her signature colour.  Richard Mosse describes it as: “Ludicrously palleted bubblegum pink.” Elsa Schiaparelli described it as: “Life-giving, like all the light and the birds and the fish in the world put together, a colour of China and Peru but not of the West.”  And in this instance a colour of the Congo, beautiful, life-giving, but violent in it’s assertion of dominance over the landscape and people.  But it is this beauty which Richard Mosse describes as “the sharpest tool in the box.”  Not only does in create a conflict for the viewer between horror and awe, but it highlights the limitations of photography and film as a documentary medium, the images we see are always heavily edited, selected, and often the real story goes on behind the scenes. “People are so offended by the colour pink,” Richard jokes, “It’s just a feckin’ colour.”  But how differently we would react if the images were black and white, or colour.  We associate black and white with “truth with a capital T” and yet pink highlights this inherent fallacy. Continue reading