Archive for the ‘Interesting Films & Shows’ Category

Most adults would have remembered a time when a traditional circus involved a big tent outdoors, with lots of wild animals and associated smells and tramping through mud on some occasions to get to your cramped seat.   However as times change what was once acceptable last century such as keeping wild animals locked up and only brought out to be exploited for entertainment is now becoming socially unacceptable to a new generation of circus goers.

This is where Circus 1903 satisfies this new generation by taking aspects of traditional circuses back in 1903 and modernising it for 21st century audiences using modern special effects. Puppetry, lighting and illusions are a few methods used to create realistic looking animals such as the massive elephant. As a circus goes it has everything from acrobats, knife throwing, fire throwing, juggling and a tight rope along with many other acts.

While I don’t want to give away too much specifics for those that have not seen it yet, no doubt the ringmaster  does a great job in leading the circus cast and interacting with the audience especially the young children.  Whether you are a child or adult you will have a big smile on your face in just over 2 hours.



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If you have been watching Australia’s favourite period drama season 4 of A Place to Call Home you may have noticed the show is turning full circle.  The writers are exploring unexplained events that happened way back in Season 1 with implications for the characters in season 4.



Evil Bert Ford’s death comes back to bite in Season 4



The main one being who was really responsible for villain Bert Ford’s death and cover up.  I had to really think about this for awhile as it was like a distant memory now.  This was vaguely explained in images and chats with Sarah Adams set as an older woman in the future confessing her role and Bert’s young boy in season 2 opening episode.

If you have access to Foxtel on demand or the DVD’s a must watch is:  Season 1,  episodes 12 & 13 “New Beginning” and “Secret Love” are worth watching to refresh your memory.


Paying Bert’s 1000 Pounds Blackmail

Essentially the episodes are about Bert Ford discovering James Bligh’s homosexuality and blackmailing the Bligh family to keep quiet.  George Bligh discovers James is a homosexual and rejects him consequently causing his son to have a nervous breakdown;  the result is admission to a psychiatric institution to treat the 1950s view of so called deviant sexuality.


George/James/Olivia just before he has his breakdown

Other major concepts coming to a head in 1950s Australia were cross cultural ethnic differences and mixed religion in relationships with the possibility of being disowned/ loss of inheritance for not conforming.   George Bligh learns this if he continues to pursue the relationship with Jewish Sarah Adams he will lose Ash Park which would have been a big social and financial loss back in the 1950s!


Passionate Italian Family

Furthermore will we see a return of Gino Poletti’s passionate Italian dad, mum and sister?  This may have been a humiliating shameful event back then for an Italian parents only son to rebel by not finding  a nice Catholic Italian girl to marry.  Maybe that’s why they took Gino’s younger sister back to Italy so she wouldn’t get any future wild ideas of eloping.


Anna/Gino – No privacy in open, feeling Italian home

So far I am really enjoying this season along with previous episodes and the set design and especially the edited shots of the Sydney Harbour Bridge  without the massive modern skyscrapers in the background is impressive.   The attention to detail in production is remarkable and the actors really put everything into their scenes.


Sydney depiction in the 1950s



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judy-davis-and-kate-winslet-THE-DRESSMAKERI just realised something the other day I have never been to a cinema in the current city I live in. Going to the cinema is something I always do when in other cities on short trips or vacation throughout the year. I am not sure what all that means however I intend to keep that record intact unless there is a compelling reason to go to a Townsville cinema. So the latest cinema trip involved travelling from Townsville to Cairns a distance of 350km (217 miles) in order to watch a movie and back again in one day; a roundtrip of 700km (435 miles). The day starts by getting up at 5am and hitting the road by 6am for the 4 hour road trip. Timing is essential as most cinemas movies start around 10:30am and to watch the movie and come home again in one day you have to keep your eyes on the clock.

First of the Dressmaker is a long movie running for almost 2 hours + cinema ads means you will need a spare 2 hours and 30 minutes. The Dressmaker falls into this growing resurgence for Australian life movies and television series set between 50 – 100 years ago. I really like watching these Australian movies and the cast in this movie put in a great performance with Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving and not forgetting legendary Judy Davis who stared many years ago in that classic Australian movie My Brilliant Career which is really worth seeing. Overall I thought the plot in the Dressmaker was really well developed and confronting at times with dark themes on mental health, disabilities and attitudes to sexuality/family life in 1950s Australia. Essentially the movie explores the main character (Tilly) returning to her home town and not being welcomed back by everyone as the small minded town folk had a preconceived idea of who she really was because of what happened in her childhood. I think many Australians will relate to this movie especially if you have lived in a small Australian town where attitudes to different ways of thinking and doing things are not always appreciated.

So is the Dressmaker worth the 700km round trip to watch. Yes it was but I sure was tired after the 8 hours of driving time in order to make it home for dinner at 6pm. Where to next month…. maybe it is time go to a cinema in Mackay.

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Tuesday After Christmas In Australia it can be hard finding a unique foreign film to watch when most films readily available are from Hollywood depicting western cultural attitudes.   A few years ago I went to the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and discovered Eastern European films and surprisingly a small yet vocal community of Eastern Europeans that get together and watch films in their language.  Tuesday After Christmas is a Romanian film that explores an Eastern European cultural stereotype of a married middle aged family man having an affair with an educated twenty something younger woman who happens to be his daughters dentist.

It is quite an emotionally deep drama that plays on European cultural attitudes towards men having affairs due to large ratio of women compared to men in many of these Eastern European countries.   This is highlighted when the affair comes out and his wife tells him “You finally found yourself a younger one.”  It is almost like a reaction of expectation that men behave like this in this culture. However there is also a sense of disbelief from the wife’s part as she never believed it was coming. This is because the couple are depicted in the film doing everyday life events together in raising their daughter such as Christmas shopping, socialising with friends, family and ultimately taking their daughter to the dentist where her husband meets this young woman that changes their family situation forever.

It is a film you have to watch a few times to fully grasp and when I watched the film with Eastern Europeans at the theatre I could hear many laughing at scenes without dialogue or English subtitles. I can’t speak Romanian so all I can say it must remind European migrants in Australia of everyday life in Romania, juggling complex modern family relationships which they could easily relate with.

The Young Dentist

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The Wedding Photo

I like watching a good film or documentary that depicts colonial life in Australia or New Zealand and  discovered “The Piano” that was released in 1993 is 20 years old this year. Thinking about this film from a sociological perspective, life in the 19th century was hard for both genders but especially for women. Imagine being sold and sent to the other side of the world to live with a man who had no regard for your feelings.   This was the reality for the majority of women during this time period who did not have the financial and societal freedom to do what they wanted.

The Piano also highlights the issue of domestic violence and how women could be physically, sexually and mentally abused during this time.  In the Piano mental abuse is highlighted when Alistair (Sam Neill) refuses to allow Ada (Holly Hunter) to have her Piano which is an important part of who she is.  Sexual abuse is highlighted when he attempts to force himself on her after he observers her being unfaithful with Baines.  Finally physical abuse is demonstrated throughout the film and reaches a climax when Alistair takes an axe to Ada’s finger.

There is so many non verbalised meanings hidden in this film and you really need to take in every aspect of the film from the clothes they are wearing, climate, buildings and technologies of the time such as the wedding photo picture to get a real sense of the film.  I have so many favourite scenes in this movie however I like most of the scenes from the beach and the emotion captured from Ada’s non verbal body language throughout the film. I also thought Sam Neill played the role of Alistair as a socially awkward man  extremely well considering he is normally the confident leading man in films.  Michael Nyman’s – The Heart Asks Pleasure First sets the tone for the film nicely.


Domestic Violence Scene

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