If there was ever a film made about our prime minister’s life, Tilda Swinton has to play Julia Gillard. There is something about these extra-terrestrial red heads that one just can’t put their finger on. They are distant yet commanding. They don’t fit the mould but wear their isolation with pride. They are difficult to decipher but easy to belief. I am Love is Tilda Swinton. It is basically her saying no one else can pull off these orange pants as well as I do. The plot – an always well put together, bored housewife is undone by an affair with a younger man. Ok, there’s a lot more to it but you get the gist. This would be an indulgent piece of cinema if it were in English. Because it is in Italian, the long shots, grainy flashbacks, an orgasm told through crescendo music played over visuals of flowers and insects, and a dues ex machina tragedy of epic scale all seem to work towards the amalgamation of an operatic film. This film is so stylish it could have been photographed by Annie Leibovitz but it is just a little bankrupt on emotional intensity.
In cinemas 24 Jun 2010
In the free guide to the 17th Biennale of Sydney, Artistic Director David Elliot says that: “The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age (Biennale’s theme) is made by people of all kinds and origin…We are all the same, but different…” Besides sounding like a Thai t-shirt slogan, Elliot’s address is confusing, contradictory and screams the fact that the convoluted theme is a guise for a lack of one in the first place. The 120 works by 56 artists displayed in Cockatoo Island stand as testimony to this. Besides being a smorgasbord of anything goes, the exhibits were displayed in a haphazard manner suggesting a poorly thought out use of space. For example, the video Crudo by Miguel Angel Rios was screened in front of a circular room with a huge pillar awkwardly standing in the middle of it. Whilst spaces which were better suited for installations with more physical presence were instead used for (way too many) video installations, Cai Guo-Qiang’s Inopportune: Stage One, a suspension of nine cars frozen in a succession of an explosion, roused instant awe by simply maximising the high ceilings of the Turbine Hall. The other stand-outs, all audio-video installations, were the poignant Green Mouse by Adel Abidin, a fantastic take on Kevin Rudd’s apology speech in 2008 by Mieskuoro Huutajat (Shouting Men’s Choir) and a warning of excesses told through shots of photographic perfection in AES+F’s The Feast of Trimalchio. Special mention goes to Daniel Crooks’ time-spice video Static No.12 and a cheeky Song of Manhattan Suicide Addict by Yayoi Kusama. To enjoy Biennale at Cockatoo Island, go on a sunny day without expectation or inhibition.
Until 1 Aug, cockatooisland.gov.au, bos17.com, biennaleofsydney.com.au
The Chauvel Cinema wants to bring you places with its latest film series, strange places that is. Sometimes the places are physical and you’ll be submerged underwater with an annoying shark or floating outer space with a smart arse computer and at other times you are taken to strange psychological spaces – from a murder spree to witnessing an HIV-positive teenager intent on deflowering virgins. Let the Chauvel kidnap you to these dark places as you squirm your way through Eraserhead, Paris Texas, Apocalypse Now, Jaws, Kids, Blow Up, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Badlands.
Until 9 Jul. 8.30pm. Chauvel Cinema. Paddington Town Hall, Cnr Oxford St & Oatley Rd, Paddington. $12. 9361 5398, chauvelcinema.net.au
I am a little biased when it comes to New Zealand’s drum and bass band Shapeshifter. I have, after all, seen them live on stage four times and counting. Most musicians have bad days but not Shapeshifter. They are so consistently brilliant that they are verging on invincibility. Touch wood. The last time they were in Sydney, they had to postpone their gig because their drummer had an ear infection. They replaced the original show with a DJ set and continued with the main show a month later. And guess what, both shows blew my socks off. Because of the drummer’s setback, fans got two amazing shows for the price of one. In short, go see them!
13 Jun. 8.30pm. Metro Theatre, 624 George St, Sydney. $45. 9550 3666, metrotheatre.com.au
My interview with Sam Trevethick in 2008.