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Behind the Doors: An Art History from Yuendumu


Reviewed by Jill 

In 1984, graffiti crept onto buildings in Yuendumu, particularly the school.  Five artists began a project to paint motifs on the school’s doors in an effort to discourage further graffiti.  More importantly, it was an opportunity to record the significant matters of their people, to reveal these matters to the children, and to explain them.  The images were to act as teaching aids.  This strategy worked, but within a short time, the graffiti had reasserted itself, and the images were disappearing under a new rhetoric.  Fortunately, there was a groundswell of interest and concern, and a massive restoration project has enabled the stories to live on, sometimes aided by sheer luck.  Behind the Doors: An Art History from Yuendumu presents the artists and their people, the Doors and their restoration, and the extraordinary rituals and stories in the motifs.  It is also a marvellous account of a small community.


Cinema: Only Lovers Left Alive

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Jim Jarmusch certainly picked an odd moment to rethink the vampire film. There have been Too many of them of late. Earlier this year we had the dismal Vampire Academy and the Twilight franchise thankfully wound down not too long ago so why Only Lovers Left Alive? After watching this curiously dull, verbose film about a married couple that has been alive for centuries, you may wonder too. Worse still, Jarmusch has underestimated us by assuming we need a lesson in vampire lore. By never letting us forget about their lifespan and how they cannot take sunlight, he has created a comically literal treatise and worse still, barely given them a story. He seems more interested in the psychology of his characters but by the end, all we learn is that they’d rather not bite.



DVD/Blu Ray: How I Live Now

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Those who remember the 2010 Australian adventure Tomorrow When The War Began will probably find the new Kevin Macdonald film How I Live Now familiar. It comes on with the same trappings but Macdonald gives his film more of a charge, and its sleeker. A children's adventure it is but there's more honesty, more guts and he holds little back in the trials and tribulations of a heroine who has to grow up fast. Adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by Meg Rosoff, it features Saoirse Ronan as Daisy, a moody and rebellious young American sent to live with her cousins in the English countryside in an unnamed era of the 21st century. She steps off the plane into a looming apocalypse. News feeds broadcast bombings in Paris, the global political crisis is worsening, and there’s a strong military presence lurking everywhere.



DVD: In Bob We Trust

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

“I don’t understand the Catholics! On the one hand they say let’s be all Mary Mackillop, and on the other hand as soon as you do it, you’re under arrest!”

Lynn-Maree Milburn’s In Bob We Trust is a fantastic documentary. In strictly limited release in cinemas last year (if you'd blinked you missed it), Milburn’s fast moving study of Father Bob Maguire, a character if ever there was one and who author Sue Williams christened “The Larrikin Priest”, tells the story of the Melbourne clergyman who received his marching orders at the age of 75 from Archbishop Denis Hart. It is the typical age of retirement for priests but Milburn quickly makes it clear there were other motivating factors, disturbingly covert in fact, behind what amounted to his dismissal. Often priests who receive such a motion resist the idea and are then gently eased out but the much-loved Father Bob, who has over 95,000 followers on Twitter, had no intention of stepping down so quietly.



Moghul Cooking: India's Courtly Cuisine


Reviewed by robinhood 

Historically the Western world (and particularly Australia) has a paucity of knowledge and appreciation of Persian and Indian Moghul cuisine. ‘Take away’ Indian food has been such a nondescript grab basket of a limited style of dishes catering to local tastes. The complexity, subtlety and richness of India’s and Iran’s regional cooking has not been fully appreciated except by discerning western diners and cooks and travellers. The pinnacle of Indian cuisine was perfected in the period of the Moghuls (1526 – 1707) who succeeded in bringing together the finest cooking of the Indian Hindu Moghuls and the Muslim Persians. This magnificent cook book fills this culinary gap in both scope of recipes and the wonderful notes on the history and culture of the fusion cuisine of the Moghul Empire of India.  


There's a caterpillar on my plate!


Reviewed by Jill 

Or a space shuttle, a walrus, Roger Rabbit, a tractor.  Lindy Smith’s Quick and clever party cakes will have the littlies squealing in delight.  Smith presents 20 recipes for fantastic cakes – no two in any way alike.  Elegant, simple, decorative, realistic, technicolour.  Some for girls, some for boys.


Crossing the street in Hanoi



Reviewed by Jill 

Whatever Crossing the street in Hanoi : teaching and learning about Vietnam suggests to the reader, this book will deliver something else.  The title comes from the author’s first journal entry for 1993, but after a few paragraphs on Hanoi’s traffic conventions, she moves on to a series of essay and diary-like chapters.  The content leaps in time, and moves from imprisonments, to popular Vietnamese leaders, to personal connections and the 1970 deaths of US student protesters.  The common thread is the recent undeclared war in Vietnam, and how it persists, in diverse ways, in the lives of diverse people.  Carol Wilder uses her own stories and those of others as starting points for an exploration of the conflict’s representation in media over many years, and in some surprising contexts.


Cinema: Any Day Now

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Based on actual events, art reflects life in Any Day Now, Travis Fine’s indie drama about a gay couple fighting for the custody of a boy with Down Syndrome in the prejudiced 1970s. Of course its opening in limited release, on April 10 and in Brisbane only at the Blue Room Cinebar at this point. Thoroughly deserving of a wide audience, this beautifully made film that features ferociously passionate work by Alan Cumming is one you need to make time for. So few people pay enough attention in this story. It would really be something if Fine’s production caught everyone else’s. Together with the its topical nature, it is fantastic.



Cinema: The Lego Movie

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

The Lego Movie starts out as a by the numbers folly of an ordinary boy hurled into the middle of a wild adventure where he gets to prove he’s anything but. As it turns out, the movie artfully builds to match the story. Colourful and faster than a speeding bullet, it zips along with snappy dialogue and pratfalls to beat the band. Voiced by Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller kick their adventure higher than anyone could’ve imagined. Some may have groaned at such an obvious plug for the merchandise and it’s sure to knock their stock off their charts but these little building blocks earn it.






Reviewed by Thea Biesheuvel

Poetry in its earliest form was drawn from Greek and Roman philosophical dialogues, the French harvest fields and small Italian courts before it was taken up by the ‘Romantics’ as a form of expression most suited to their concerns.  It has therefore had a turbulent passage across the centuries.  Poets uncovered and discovered their inner ‘voice’ through outward structures and cadences.  Unfortunately there were few records of women poets being able to do that, or if they did, their work did not survive the passage of time. 


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