section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fighting the ancient urge to kill a free fire

    • Brian Doyle
    • 12 September 2016
    5 Comments

    One time when I was about 12 my friends and I found a smouldering fire in the little woods behind our town's fire station. So we pulled it apart, and stomped it out, and threw dirt over the embers, and cleared brush away from the site, and then, dusty and sooty and inordinately proud of ourselves, we trooped into the fire station to report our feat. The fireman who met us listened carefully, and then he told us grimly that if ever we did such a thing again he would report us to the police.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fraught existence of a fantastic family

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 08 September 2016
    2 Comments

    Don't mistake this for an idyll. Incongruently, the youngest child has built a bone shrine to Pol Pot. The father oversees a rigorous physical exercise regime; later he will boast that they have the fitness levels of elite athletes. Yet during a rock climbing expedition, Ben is unsympathetic when one of them injures himself, insisting the boy draw on his personal resources to extricate himself from very real peril.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Moonlight conventions

    • Ross Jackson
    • 06 September 2016
    2 Comments

    I put in my journal: 'a full moon tonight, crisp and splendidly clear for our walk around the shore and back to the resort' ... What did the Israeli professor remark? 'It bodes well on Hoshana Rabbah that we are casting shadows in moonlight.' Though our Chinese friend had little to say following this evening's lecture, he was right about the yellow plum at the bottom of the lake.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    New adventures in David Brent's theatre of cruelty

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 01 September 2016

    There are hints of darkness behind the laughs. We learn Brent spent time in an institution some time after the original 'documentary' aired. He is shunned by his band members, who see themselves as reluctant employees rather than friends. What emerges is a rather affecting portrait of a man whose self-identity is at total odds with reality, and threatening to come crashing disastrously down.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The addict

    • Peta Edmonds
    • 30 August 2016
    1 Comment

    An addict shows me his rack of ribs, he's off to the slaughter house. An addict rubs his face like a brushed potato. The addict searches through bins looking for scraps of himself and his whims. An addict lives in a room at the weaver's loom, peddling his stories and drugs.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Antiheroes of the Bush-Cheney arms boom

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 25 August 2016

    War Dogs is the latest in a string of films from the past few years that are custom made for our cynical times; deeply ironic black comedies and dramas featuring antiheroes who profit to the point of excess off the misery of others. Where those films dealt with the finance industry and gained relevance from the backdrop of the Global Financial Crisis, this one shifts focus to the grimier world of arms dealing, in the context of Bush era conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Young George

    • Geoff Page
    • 23 August 2016
    4 Comments

    What's he doing in my dream, that cardinal from Ballarat? He's in some sort of seventies presbytery or hardwood hall, shirt-sleeved but with collar on and playing ping-pong like a pro, fully-focused, yet relaxed. Forehand, backhand, lob or smash, nothing is beyond his reach. The other player is unseen but plainly worthy of attack. There's just the click of celluloid foreshadowing the rise to Rome. No ball hit that's not hit back.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Grandchildren are your children twice over

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 22 August 2016
    7 Comments

    When we were all younger, I wrote about my three sons. In the words of Sir Thomas More, their characteristics strangely tugged at my heart, and like More, I fed them cake, ripe apples and fancy pears. Among other things. But eventually there was a mild rebellion about the writing, in the course of which my eldest threatened to send me a bill. Now I write about my grandchildren, three boys and a girl, who are too young as yet to be so commercially minded.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dying with dignity in Madrid

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 19 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The film's quiet humour leaves open many spaces for reflection on getting older, and on mortality. Tomas is uncomfortable with the subject of death, but Julian is determined to confront it with honesty and dignity. His activities during those four short days reveal he possesses a well formed conception of his own humanity and mortality that is not short of admirable. We are as sympathetic to Paula raging against her cousin's resignation, as we are to Tomas' growing acceptance.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My 102 year old grandmother

    • Isabella Fels, Peter Gebhardt
    • 16 August 2016
    3 Comments

    Is she 2 or 102? She can be either. My grandmother sometimes she looks at me in silence with wide naïve eyes. Other times pearls of wisdom seep from her heart: 'Forgive and forget my sweetheart Isabella. Chocolate is your enemy. A good salad is your friend my precious Isabella. Don't do unto others what you don't want done to you my cherished Isabella.' I hold her warm hand. She understands me. She completes me, now that my mother her daughter has left us behind.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Food for thought in atheist inspired animation

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 12 August 2016
    1 Comment

    There's a bagel character, coded as Jewish, and a lavash (Armenian flatbread), coded as Palestinian, who clash because they have to share an aisle. 'Isn't the aisle big enough for both of you?' asks Frank. In this and other ways the film points to the destructive power of religious belief corrupted by self- or socio-political interest. On the other hand it ignores the role religion can play in developing robust ethical thinking about the ways in which we can interact meaningfully with others and the world.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Exposed, illegal, adrift

    • Frances Roberts
    • 09 August 2016
    7 Comments

    This cramped corner of the decking planks is all you have on a pelagic wreck, a Medusa raft, splintered, rank ... Part of an interlocking human mat, you lie exposed and frightened, to escape the below deck stench of excrement and illness. Scant hope here of sleep ... The true villains in this outcome bask proudly in their stand firm against illegal entry by the family of man.

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