Budget 2019: What is Australia’s Cultural Policy?


Last night’s federal budget documents offered stark insights into our nation’s culture by setting out Australia’s political priorities in financial terms. In the absence of a written policy, how do these political decisions reveal the unwritten values that frame our cultural life? asks arts industry advocate Esther Anatolitis. Surprisingly, identifying those values is much easier than

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Woman at War film review

Film, Reviews, Screen |

Woman at War is a delightful and whimsical Icelandic movie with a plot that is more serious than expected from its billing as a “comedy/thriller/drama”. Halla is the eponymous ‘Mountain Woman’ who is an activist fighting a power company who are trying to finalise a mysterious deal with Chinese investors. In between sabotaging power lines and skilfully evading capture from the local

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Why French Film Queen Juliette Binoche is having a moment

Let the Sunshine In
Festivals, Film, News & Commentary, Screen |

Some film stars play variations of themselves; others disappear into their roles. Somehow Juliette Binoche manages to do both: you’re never entirely unaware that you’re watching the French arthouse stalwart, and yet she manages to embody a spectrum of human emotions unreachable to lesser actors prone to overcompensation and overacting. Between a recent retrospective of

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Deborah Williams and changing the world through Creative Diversity


Deborah Williams is an award-winning actor, writer, theatremaker and executive director of the UK’s Creative Diversity Network. She is in Australia this week to present a keynote speech at the Fair Play Symposium for Diversity Arts Australia in partnership with Creative Victoria. She will be also speaking at Belvoir Theatre, Sydney today from 4 -6pm. My road

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Mike McLeish on the ‘The Drop Off’ and the pleasures and pain of making a web series

News & Commentary, Screen, TV |

Mike McLeish, actor, singer, and music theatre star is best known for his unforgettable channelling of a charmingly Machiavellian Paul Keating in the mega-hit musical Keating. As performers have done for centuries, he and his wife – and fellow performer and writer – Fiona Harris, have had to create their own opportunities. They are now into the second series of their self-produced series The Drop Off

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Hugh Jackman’s appearance on 7:30 highlights the problems of starry-eyed cultural journalism

News & Commentary, TV |

The ABC’s 7:30 program is a reliable source of quality journalism, offering dignified current affairs investigations at a time in the evening when other networks race to the bottom – zooming in on tasty dishes in My Kitchen Rules and lifeguards pounding the sand in Bondi Rescue. Last week 7:30 investigated franking credits, the aftermath

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Greta film review: Isabelle Huppert enlivens rote psychological thriller

Isabelle Huppert
Film, Reviews, Screen |

Isabelle Huppert stalks Chloë Grace Moretz through the streets of New York City in the fitfully lurid, occasionally stylish and ultimately inconsequential little thriller Greta. The film is not without its charms, chief among them a scenery-chewing performance from Huppert. She plays Greta Hideg, a self-confessed lonely old woman who has taken to leaving handbags

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Transitions film festival: A vestige of hope for the last rhinos

Film, News & Commentary, Screen |

Any doubt that rhinos are rapidly being poached to extinction is dispelled in the first few seconds of Vestige, an extraordinarily intimate and moving documentary that will screen as part the Transitions Film Festival at Melbourne’s Cinema Nova later this month. The opening sequence depicts the night time patrol of armed anti-poaching rangers who look

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From The Hunting to SeaChange redux: 10 Australian TV shows to look out for in 2019

News & Commentary, Screen, TV |

There were several excellent Australian TV productions that graced our screens in 2018 – from the asylum seeker drama Safe Harbour to new iterations of Mystery Road, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Jack Irish. This year’s lineup looks eclectic, mixing big hitters with smaller budget passion projects. As usual the majority of interesting-sounding titles come

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