Tag Archives: Australia

Quoted: Ladies Sing the Blues, White Washing + The Sapphires

The DVD cover for the US release of The Sapphires, a sort of Australian Dreamgirls. But, who were the actual stars of this movie and were they… blue?

O’Dowd’s image is front and centre, in full colour, while the women – played by Deborah RaMailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell – provide a muted blue-toned backdrop.

London-based American blogger MaryAnn Johanson wrote on her site flickfilosopher.com on Tuesday that the artwork “is a problem”, suggesting Anchor Bay had both “dick-washed and whitewashed The Sapphires”.

“The women are Aborigines,” she wrote. “They are black black black black blackety-black black. Not blue. Oh, and they’re women.”

The post was read by 24-year-old Melbourne climate change activist Lucy Manne, who started a petition on change.org to try to convince Anchor Bay to change the artwork.

“This is a film about four Aboriginal women who battle against sexism and racism in the 1960s. Now we’ve got a DVD cover that is both sexist and racist – it’s the antithesis of what the film is about,” Ms Manne told Fairfax on Friday.

She hopes to convince the distributor to apologise and to change the artwork before next week’s release, or at least to issue it with alternative artwork soon after.

Her petition went live about 7pm on Thursday and by 6pm Friday had attracted 700 supporters. Chris O’Dowd was not among them, but the actor whose star is very much on the rise thanks to the commercial success of Bridesmaids has already made his feelings clear.

Asked his view of the artwork on Wednesday by Australian writer and filmmaker Briony Kidd via twitter, he responded “yup, that’s pretty vile. Certainly not my choice”.

– “Furore Over ‘Sexist, Racist’ Saphires DVD Cover for US Release,” by Karl Quinn via, The Age

 

Short but Sweet: Kim Ho’s The Language Of Love

By Arturo R. García

Charlie (Kim Ho) tries to find the words in “The Language of Love.”

If you’ve got a little less than 10 minutes to spare, the short film The Language of Love is worth your time, as 17-year-old writer and performer Kim Ho navigates young Charlie’s coming to terms with his own sexuality when asked to write an essay describing his best friend.

“What the f-ck is happening to me?” he gasps after confessing to the viewer how he really feels. “Like, my heart beats faster when he’s around. And I can’t think of anybody else. I don’t need that. Especially not in a French exam. But, I can’t help it. I can’t control it.”

The film was produced as part of The Voices Project, part of the Fresh Ink development initiative organized by Australian Theatre for Young People. Now in its’ third year, Voices began as a way with a stage show involving various monologues dealing with the subject of young love. Ho’s piece follows in that tradition; it began as a monologue and was adapted into film format after winning a competition.

The language in the film gets a little NSFW, but overall do give this a shot. The film, and a look at the making of it, are both under the cut.

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A Footnote on Australia

by Latoya Peterson

Last week, I picked up the new issue of Script Magazine looking for some information on script reviewers . However, what I found was Baz Luhrmann talking about the planning and writing of Australia.

The lengthy article describes the thought process involved in creating a script of epic scope, and reveals that Luhrmann wanted to write a film encompassing the history of Australia. Script explains:

There were a number of issues that Luhrmann knew he wanted to explore, including those related to the continent’s Aboriginal peoples as well as those related to Australia’s to achieve self-determination and self-governance.

After spending six months immersed in research and historical documents, Luhrmann decided to set the film near the beginning of World War II, due to “the transitional period” that it represented in Australia’s history. Also of note:

Another reason Luhrmann chose this time period because it allowed him to shine a light on what he describes as “probably the most heinous and difficult part of our history” – a period that marked a low point in the relationship between Australia’s white majority and the indigenous peoples with whom they share their land. In the time between the two World Wars, so many white Australian cattle stockmen were having relationships with Aboriginal women that the population of mixed-race children was causing a dilemma for those concerned about the country’s racial purity. A government policy was instituted in which mixed race children were taken from their parents, placed in Christian monasteries, and, in Luhrmann’s words, “basically trained to be white. This decimated large sections of the indigenous population – you can imagine the spiritual decimation and the pain. So, it was an extremely dramatic problem that has haunted this nation for a very, very long time and it really began in that period.”

Luhrmann wanted to deal with this issues in his film, not as its primary focus, but woven into the fabric of the piece in much the same way that slavery – while certainly not the main subject of the movie – was an indelible part of the texture of Gone With the Wind.

I find the journalist’s recounting of historical events extremely interesting. Continue reading