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Metro No. 201

Independent, outspoken and often polemical, Metro features writing by some of the region's foremost academics and critics, providing readers with comprehensive coverage of Australian, New Zealand, Asian, and Pacific screen industries. Combining a wide range of topics and disciplines, Metro offers a unique blend of in-depth scholarship and popular writing, perfectly capturing key trends and developments in screen culture.

Australian Teachers of Media Incorporated
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in deze editie

11 min
hierarchies of horror the violent refrains of jennifer kent’s the nightingale

With The Nightingale (2018), her follow-up to the acclaimed The Babadook (2014), writer/director Jennifer Kent contributes to the ongoing cinematic process of reframing Australia’s closely held mythology around colonisation and nationhood as one rooted in a genocidal war of attrition. While the most recent, and stark, manifestation of this process was seen in Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country (2017), we can also look to older examples such as John Hillcoat’s The Proposition (2005), Rolf de Heer’s The Tracker (2002), Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) and more. Yet, while The Nightingale does follow in the footsteps of these grim historical dramas, it is also, arguably, angrier and more ambitious. A relentlessly confronting and violent drama in the rape-revenge model, the film seeks not just to dramatise the inherently oppressive…

13 min
love is in the air wayne blair’s top end wedding and the rom-com’s new direction

Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) is a confident young Aboriginal corporate lawyer living in Adelaide; her partner, British immigrant Ned (Gwilym Lee), is a Crown prosecutor. While she is thriving in her career (albeit clumsily – trying to hide broken heels under her desk, frantically brushing pastry sugar off her lapel), he is struggling with the morals of working to prosecute elderly women for minor infractions. She is offered a promotion; he quits and, rather than telling Lauren he has done so, proposes. It is, of course, a ‘yes’ – but there is quickly a catch: her boss, Hampton (an icy Kerry Fox), has offered her an immediate ten days off work before her promotion kicks in, and Lauren wants to get married now. In Darwin. With her parents. Easy enough, thinks Ned.…

12 min
girls behaving badly love, honour and disobedience in sophie hyde’s animals

Surrounded by racks of blisteringly white dresses, Tyler (Alia Shawkat) reaches for her sunnies and accepts the shop assistant’s offer of champagne. Her best friend, Laura (Holliday Grainger), is trying on potential wedding gowns – all pearls and lace, customarily virginal. Laura shouts from the changing room, ‘It’s going to be a very modern wedding.’ Tyler rolls her eyes. Both women are a little bleary from cumulative weeks – months, years – of partying, yet they debate marriage’s contemporary value and significance with verve and assertiveness. Hedonistic Tyler believes the institution is, by definition, archaic and oppressive. Laura says her personal feminism is about ‘blazing a new way through old traditions’. PORTRAYING DECADENCE AND DECAY IN EQUAL MEASURE, HYDE’S FILM LAYS OUT THE ROAD MAP OF HETERONORMATIVE ADULTHOOD AND ASKS, ‘BUT WHAT IF…

11 min
sin city diaspora, displacement and matthew victor pastor’s melodrama / random / melbourne!

Melodrama / Random / Melbourne! (2018) is an electrifyingly contemporary film. Its prolific director, Matthew Victor Pastor, has embraced the possibilities of digital filmmaking in a way that few young filmmakers dare to, having carved out a body of work that resembles little else currently being produced in Australian cinema. Here, the formally adventurous Pastor turns his screen sensibilities to nocturnal life on the streets of downtown Melbourne. An unabashedly low-budget film, Melodrama / Random / Melbourne! is brimming with ideas and unafraid to take its viewers to some ugly places as it unflinchingly surveys the underbelly of its titular city’s night-life and shines a light on contemporary race relations in Australia. The film’s three-stroke title is reflected in its shifting structure and constant play with perspective. It begins with YouTube-style…

12 min
arid visions reflections in the dust, gendered violence and experimental cinema

It’s not a big surprise that a film like Reflections in the Dust (Luke Sullivan, 2018) might court controversy. In an era of monolithic mega-blockbusters, a micro-budget slice of arthouse Australiana demands some kind of hook to pierce the bubble of cinematic complacency. So why not promise scandal? Suggest a whiff of something illicit, something beyond the realms of polite society? Anyway, it worked on me. When an email from distributor The Backlot Films arrived in my inbox offering something ‘too extreme’1 for audiences, how could an aficionado of fringe cinema deny the call? The full quote – which has been reproduced in various synopses of the film online – is as follows: The Australian government deemed the film was too extreme for audiences and strongly suggested it not be completed during…

9 min
kiss me deadly

You can certainly feel the heat, sweat and blood seeping through Burning Kiss (2018), writer/director Robbie Studsor’s sexy, surreal self-pegged ‘summer noir’. For a low-budget independent feature debut shot in Perth, it’s an impressive feat. Essentially a three-hander, the film stars Liam Graham as an enigmatic stranger who enters the lives of – and complicates the relationship between – a thuggish father and his daughter. I speak to Studsor about playing with the traditions of film noir and creatively fusing a multitude of other art-cinema influences to create an intoxicatingly unconventional Aussie crime cocktail. Oliver Pfeiffer: How did the story of Burning Kiss come about? Robbie Studsor: I wanted to do something where someone is trying to create a story – almost like a whodunnit, except you know ‘whodunnit’ [right from] the start,…