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Movies, TV & Music

Metro No. 202

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.

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Australian Teachers of Media Incorporated
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4 Issues

in this issue

12 min.
pantomime of violence gender and outrage in mirrah foulkes’ judy & punch

JUDY & PUNCH IS BOTH OPENLY RIDICULOUS … AND A SERIOUS STUDY OF VIOLENCE – BE IT AS A SOCIALLY CONDONED WEAPON OF DOMESTIC OPPRESSION, A MORALLY RIGHTEOUS TOOL OF VENGEANCE OR A STORYTELLING TROPE, AND BE IT IN A MOTION PICTURE OR PUPPET SHOW. When Judy & Punch premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, its creator – Sydney-based actor-turned-director Mirrah Foulkes – was nervous about how it would be received. She was a first-time filmmaker, few American audiences are familiar with the 400-year-old puppet show on which it is based and, even in the realm of film festivals, the resulting work was a genuine oddity. ‘I was nervous about it. It’s a weird film; its tone is unusual. It’s nutso!’ Foulkes laughs. Setting out to make Judy & Punch,…

11 min.
poetry in action racism and resistance in partho sen-gupta’s slam

The latest feature by Sydney-based filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta, Slam (2018), is haunted by a terrifying moment from his past. As a child growing up in Mumbai, he paid scant attention to dire warnings from his parents about the threat of kidnappings until, one terrifying day, when he was around seven or eight years old, a man attempted to snatch him outside his home. ‘I didn’t realise then how traumatic an experience that was,’ he recalls of the startling near-miss that haunts him, especially now that he has become a father himself. For many years, the memory was locked away within a dark recess in the 54-year-old director’s mind. But the full weight of the attack rammed back into his consciousness when he saw a poster of a missing girl on a…

12 min.
oceans within us eight perspectives on the pacific in vai

We sweat and cry salt water, so we know that the ocean is really in our blood. —Teresia Teaiwa1 A spiritual sequel to the anthology film Waru (2017), Vai (2019) – the second feature-length release from Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions – enlists eight female writer/directors from eight Pacific Island nations to make a portmanteau film about the latter titular character. The languages of the Pacific aren’t always mutually intelligible, but they retain certain shared words; ‘vai’ (‘water’) is a key example. This is undoubtedly a result of Islander cultures having been shaped, in fundamental ways, by the largest body of water on Earth; the Pacific Ocean flows through our creation stories, sustains our agricultural practices, is filled with life and is seen to give life. In a manner similar to Waru,…

11 min.
troubled bubble the aspirational milieu of rachel ward’s palm beach

PALM BEACH’S ENSEMBLE DREAM WISTFULLY OF THE MATERIALISTIC 1980S … COMPARING THE CHARACTERS’ CURRENT AFFLUENCE WITH THE ZEITGEIST OF THEIR HEYDAY DECADE, IT’S DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE WHAT THEY’RE PINING FOR BEYOND THEIR OWN PERSONAL YOUTH AND VIGOUR. The first three shots of Palm Beach (2019), the second feature film by actor-turned-director Rachel Ward, are almost the whole work in microcosm. We begin with a close-up on a sulphur-crested cockatoo. Then there’s a wide shot on a beach where a number of pleasure boats are moored; we hear the sounds of someone working on an engine. In the third shot, we see Frank (Bryan Brown) up to his elbows in the guts of a speedboat while his adult son, Dan (Charlie Vickers), sitting nearby, looks at his smartphone, utterly unengaged in what…

10 min.
out of the trenches

A Queensland production over a decade in the making, Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan (Kriv Stenders, 2019) is a bold yet intimate Anzac war drama that sidesteps politics in favour of saluting Aussie brotherhood and bravery in times of conflict. I speak to Stenders about his experience of working with scribe Stuart Beattie – who previously penned Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004) and Tomorrow, When the War Began (Beattie, 2010) – to do big-screen justice to this curiously overlooked Australian chapter of the Vietnam War. Oliver Pfeiffer: The Battle of Long Tan is a lesser-known Australian contribution to the Vietnam War. Why was it important, for you, to revisit this particular Anzac story? Kriv Stenders: Firstly, it’s quite a remarkable story in terms of the actual statistics: 100 men going into…

13 min.
top dogs the abc’s bluey and australian children’s animation

‘They forgot the spring rolls!’ Lots of kids’ shows are set around a fantastical premise: there are fruit in human clothing, princess knights, and mutant reptiles who are also teenage ninjas. Kids have short attention spans, so TV programming for them often needs to be big, loud and colourful. Yet the ABC’s Bluey focuses on the modest idiosyncrasies of Australian life – like waiting around for Chinese takeaway – and this animated series about a family of blue and red heelers is now the most watched television series in ABC iview history, having been seen 90 million times1 and counting. Disney, a company famous for a mouse, is so enamoured with the pups that it has announced that the show would air not only on its dedicated broadcast channel for children later…