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Movies, TV & Music

Metro No. 197

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.
muddied waters risk and reflection in simon baker’s breath

The last sucking bubble of consciousness. The rising gorge of panic. Yes, a delicious ricochet of sparks. I suppose I knew well enough what it felt like. It was intense, consuming, and it could be beautiful. That far out at the edge of things you get to a point where all that stands between you and oblivion is the roulette of body-memory, the last desperate jerks of your system trying to restart itself. You feel exalted, invincible, angelic because you’re totally fucking poisoned. Inside it’s great, feels brilliant. But on the outside it’s squalid beyond imagining. The above excerpt, from Tim Winton’s 2008 novel Breath, describes the imagined sensations associated with erotic asphyxiation: the feeling of ‘respiratory acidosis’, whereby one’s blood turns acidic as one’s lungs cry out for air. That toxic…

11 min.
heavy here and now alena lodkina’s strange colours

The ‘strange’ colours flagged in the title of Alena Lodkina’s remarkable debut feature are first glimpsed in a banal, everyday setting: a shop window. Opals are on sale inside, which cues us in to the fact that opal mining is the main activity in the remote place to which young adult Milena (Kate Cheel) has travelled by bus: Lightning Ridge in northern New South Wales. The immediate motivation for Milena’s trip is the heart attack recently suffered by her now-hospitalised father, Max (Daniel P Jones). But the looming issue of how Milena and Max will come to terms with each other emotionally is sidelined for almost half the film; meanwhile, Milena will wander around this place, encounter its people and spend some reflective time alone. Lightning Ridge, as we see it…

10 min.
burning down the house winchester and the truth about ghosts

How can you tell a true story about ghosts when no-one knows for sure whether ghosts are real? Winchester (The Spierig Brothers, 2018) is a film based on the true story of Sarah Winchester, the eccentric millionaire who spent a large part of both her life and her fortune constructing what is supposedly one of the most haunted properties in the world. According to legend, in addition to inheriting her fortune and a 50 per cent shareholding in the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Sarah believed that she was also heir to the ghosts of anyone ever killed by a Winchester gun. Building the California house and endlessly renovating it until it became a sprawling maze, then, was said to be her way of offering amends – giving the lost souls somewhere…

10 min.
rebel on the screen mike retter on youth on the march

At the time of writing, ‘raw water’ can be priced as much as A$19 per gallon. Its proponents say that filtered water – the kind we get from taps – is stripped of essential nutrients and contaminated with pollutants like lead. They also speak of the sensual quality of the product: its texture, the way it moves on the palate, how the individual characteristics of each natural spring change the flavour of the water. They sniff the water before they drink it, probably. In the US – where the movement originated, and where the use of lead in water systems has been banned by Congress – some areas nevertheless see water fed through old, crumbling lead pipes as a result of improper spending or, perhaps, an unwillingness to maintain basic infrastructure.…

15 min.
recurring nightmares dark australian classics reimagined

I’m not really a particularly nostalgic person, but I think films remain outside of nostalgia. I think they are like little worlds you’d lived in – like a period [when] you lived in another country. So says director Peter Weir, recollecting the time he spent realising the Gothic fever dream of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel Picnic at Hanging Rock, which was brought to his attention by eventual executive producer Patricia Lovell. The magnetic pull of the teenage longing, repression and rebellion behind the unexplained disappearance of three finishing-school girls and one of their governesses on Valentine’s Day 1900 was irresistible to the then-emerging director: ‘I read it from cover to cover [and] was gripped by it, and by the fact it was an unsolved mystery […] I was burning with it.…

10 min.
pride in protest the abc’s riot and the birth of mardi gras

Last year, the BBC launched ‘Gay Britannia’, a series of programs marking the fiftieth anniversary of the UK’s Sexual Offences Act 1967, which saw the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. The series brought audiences a suite of LGBTQIA+ content, including the flagship drama miniseries Man in an Orange Shirt; based-on-true-events telemovie Against the Law (Fergus O’Brien, 2017), about journalist Peter Wildeblood; archival patchwork Queerama; documentaries including Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay (Vicki Cooper, 2017) and Gluck: Who Did She Think He Was? (Clare Beavan, 2017); and a collection of podcasts as well as radio and TV specials. Compared to the commemorated moment in UK history, it would take eight additional years for the first Australian state to decriminalise homosexuality: South Australia, in 1975. The rest of the states and territories would follow…