Monday, 18 May 2015

The Clouds of Sils Maria.

I swear, recently I've been exiting the auditoriums of film theatres shaking my head in wonder and disbelief. I feel as if the seasons have become disordered, as if seagulls have taken to flying backwards. Something Weird is going on for the last, I thnk about eight) films I have seen, none of them have been shit! For me, a very firm believer in Sturgeon's Law- (90% of everything is crap) this is roughly the equivalent of picking a quinella twice in a day at the races- in other words dashed unlikely.
Simply the story of "Sils Maria"  is that there is this famous actress well established with a long career. She is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous when she was a young unknown; but there is a catch The play is the story of pair of women who form a younger/older lesbian couple. the younger woman destroys the older by manipulating her into eventual suicide. (in a typical example of recent period anti- gay  melodrama, in a period where gay characters never reached the end of a film aliv. the catch however is that this time around she has been asked to play the older woman- the tragic suicide. Needless to say she has certain issues about acceptance, not the least of which are being forced to confront her own advancing years through the distorting lens of the character she brought to life decades earlier. But, as the man on the old actors home of late-night television says "ther's more"in "reality" a year after the original play ended the actress who played the tragic suicide died in a car accident now decades later the returning star has an entirely superstitious dread that the part may be "jinxed"- despite a noticeable paucity of evidence; But then aren't actors known to be remarkably superstitious people?
If this lead character sounds like a very complicated piece of work from my description here rest assured, she is. in matter of fact the I cannot remember the last time I saw a film as complexly charactered as "Sils Maria"- or as consistently well acted. Juliet Binochet surpasses good by a substantial distance. It is hard to believe that she is acting, she is so natural, but at the same time she is so all-encompassing that she can be nothing but a true star at the top of her form. that said she is very ably supported by a talented cast who seem to exist as a complicated melange of voluble intelligent and witty people. It's been a long time since I have enjoyed the company of a cast so much.The film moves on and ultimately, to my percerption, proved to be spooky in the very best way. As my wheelchair rolled out of the cinema to a drizzly cold Sydney day. I found that I doubted the sunlight. In Hamlet's words "There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy

Friday, 15 May 2015

A Tangerine Confussion

I don't normally do this-in fact, I've never done this before. I have never plugged a film before I've seen it. "Tangerine" a true-to-life-drama-about transexual hookers. I couldn't be happier. In fact, I am beyond joy. I am enriched. I laughed out loud several tim during the trailer and I almost cried from pangs of nostalgia. you see, a few years ago, back before I got sick, I moved almost exclusively in the Sydney chapter of that subculture; well, as exclusively as I could manage anyway. I had two girlfriends, one was (and still is) a biological girl, the other a out-and- proud transgender. They knew about each other, accepted each other and for some unknown reason, were prepared to share me. I was head-over-heels in love with both of them (still am). In the daytimes I showed a distressing tendency towards professional journalism, in the evenings we were either in the "la cage a Folle" home of my T-G girlfriend having a loud and raucous tea party or at the other house communing with the cats (our proto children) or watching films or I was out and about touting my reasonably priced rear-end to those whose dickering did not impede their dickering.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Excepting for a blockhead

I just spent the last hour piddling around with Amazon this was a bit of a surprise; one of those "Time just vanishing things" As you may know I have a story available on the Kindle store, and I decided that I should check the stats in a "monday morning- "businessy"  kind of way. It was a bit depressing; rubbish sales, represented by a few paltry spikes on a graph and a lot of advice from snake oil salesmen at Amazon. Jaded, I blundered away from Amazon through my computer to the  story in question and reread it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I liked it. It didn't make me laugh, (but then it wasn't written to be funny) Instead, it kinda creeped me out in a "made me doubt the sunlight" kind of way. I finished it and I was in a somewhat complicated emotional state. - Abit raw from the stats on Amazon and life generally, a proud as a post orgasmic whore on her way home from a freebie orgy, that I had managed to write a story good enough that if I had encountered it in a paper book of short stories, I'd have marked it on the index page, and finally(but not least) creeped out by my own story and, living alone the only place I had to tell the story was this blog. I'd be happier if I lived with a cat.
See you on the flipside

"The Corner" on Amazon

Friday, 8 May 2015

Ages Of Adeline Review

I guess I should say right at the start that I saw "The Ages of Adeline" very largely by accident. It was a Thursday (last Thursday as a matter of fact; my day out. It was fornicating down with rain. Neither of us wanted ti get wet... so we decided to go to the movies snd after some serious trolling of IMDB decided that "Boy's Choir" was the best choice of the paucity on offer. We didn't count on the effect that the rain had had on the roads howver and unexpectedly, well, somewhat expectedly found ourselves at  outer reaches of Randwick, in the theatre foyer while it pissed down with rain outside. "Boy's Choir" had started twenty minutes earlier. The "Randwick Ritz is a multiplex"Adeline started in 45 or so minutes> I suddenly switched to "Plan 2 from outer space; and we went for coffee and lunch while waiting for "Adeline" to start. to be blunt, it wasn'y that hard a choice. I'd read a bit about the film in the car on the drive over and the whole premise of the film interested me; besides liking the central idea of the film rather a lot(someone coping with immortality in modern society) the premise was pretty similar to something I'd already written and Bluntly, I was interested to see how someone else approached aspects of the same subject and, possibly more to the point, I felt it was a really *big subject to communicate in 100 minutes of screen time  , so there was a kind of sadistic interest in watching the film. It was a last-minute choice but one I approached with some appetite. true, my appetite was partly mechanistic, almost to the point of cannibalism, but I was ready to be entertained and I figured that it was all up to the scriptwriter to do that. as the lights went down in the auditorium I was happy. As I said before, the idea of how Adeline becomes changed so that she becomes immortal and stops ageing while everyone around her grows old and dies is a fascinating one but it is complex-to explain it inferentially, by cinematic action, the way someone like, say; Hal Ashby might would take up so much screen time that there would be little time for anything else. It was predominantly this that I was interested in. Instead, I was blown away. the film thros the putative "rule book" out with the bath water it has been soaking in. The script takes the core issue of the film, treats it as pure science fiction and bombards the audience with an information packed narration that is so filled with "scientific" goobledegook that I didn't have time to laugh. The audience is simply tol all the flapdoodle necessary to the plot and left to deal with it.The vast majority of the film's running time is then free to devote to the interesting stuff.I was astounded by the audacity of the technque to the point where I almost wanted to stand up(!) and applaud. Frankly Scarlett. I was impressed!To go into the film in any depth from this point would probably create inadvertent spoilers; Suffice to say that as far as "lovey-dovey"tearjerker type chick flicks go, I enjoyed it. I didn't cry, and was not overtly moved to but at the same time I was pleased that, as such films went, it was not overly manipulative. I was interested and impressed by the parallel the film drew between Adeline's predicament and "normal" people and the life of their pets.It was a poignant and telling analogy and one of many thingss that raised "the Ages of Adeline" above the common ruck of cinematic product. I found it moving intelligent, thought provoking, and well worth recommending.

EndGame - Samuel Beckett

EndGame Review
7:30pm. 7May 2015
Director:Andrew Upton
Writer: Samuel Beckett
Hamm:Hugo Weaving
Nagg: Bruce Spence
Clov: Tom Budge
Nell: SarahPerse

The setting appears to be the interior of one of those deformed stone watchtowers on some damp Northern coastline. It appears that the expansiveness of the exterior functions more as a barrier to escape than an environment to inhabit causing a claustrophobic atmosphere that has taken years or decades to surpass simple cabin fever and become a kind of societally stratified balanced madness. The inhabitants of the castle exist as a kind of diseased bickering muddled mini- society which can be taken as symbolic of our "normal" society as a whole, (or not) depending entirely on whether the interpreter has an axe to grind. Suffice to say the characters are "Hamm" (Hugo Weaving) who spends the play ensconced in a comfortable armchair (which may be seen as a throne) (or not) and who orders everyone  about. He describes himself as senile, so he may be seen as a king. His especial servant is “Clov" (Tom Budge) who runs hither and yon about the stage at every beck and call and being far more mobile than the rest of the cast, is responsible for the physical comedy. Its a big job, Mr Budge is on the move for the entire play scuttling from one side of the stage to the other. His main prop is a twenty foot ladder and I lost track of the number of times that he climbed it, all the way to the top; after carrying it across the stage from one side to the other. No housepainter works so hard; I pitied him and wondered that at the end of the play he seemed to still be word perfect, even as he glistened with sweat. Actors delight me. 

Hamm is a less likeable character; he sprawls backwards in his chair bossing Clov, bellowing when he thinks it will achieve his purpose; bribing Nagg with sugar plums when shouting fails. In short Hamm is every inch a king, but not the phantasy monarch of king William and Kate - he is more the nasty reality of King Rupert (Murdoch) himself the unvarnished face of power itself. 

"Why do you obey me?" Hamm asks Clov, “Is  it because you love me?" "I loved you once", replies Clov, getting  a titter from the audience who interpret the line as reference to some past homosexual pecadillo that has left Clov "unmanned" and effeminated, fit only for service. As far as that goes, the one service which Hamm truly desires is the most poignant and happens to be the one which Clov sadistically(?) withholds.  At one point Hamm exclaims "if you must hit me, don't beat me with the dog - use the Axe!" Hamm is apparently very old, and wants to die, but can't, giving rise to one theory I have heard, that these three characters are already dead, and the surreal place they occupy is hell. but then as I said earlier, ”EndGame" is surrealistic and symbolic, a horse which may be hitched to a variety of wagons, some undoubtedly unintended by the author. 

The  performances (particularly Hugo Weaving’s as Hamm and Tom Budge as Clov) are flawless, and Bruce Spence beaming up at the world out of a garbage can is not something I will soon forget - nor will I try to.  Sarah Perse does rather better than can be expected with the little that is available to the character of “Nell” - But Beckett does not seem to write for women.- For most other playwrights “Nell” would probably be  a lynchpin character perhaps even the bone of contention, the lone woman between three men - but with Beckett she is anything but that. Instead existing merely as a kind of inferential proof that the male characters are not necessarily homosexual since they have a putative outlet for any profane lusts which may disturb them. Beckett is a strange writer. interesting, but strange. 

I unreservedly recommend this production of “EndGame” by the Sydney Theatre Company. The perform