Tag Archives: film

MONA, the road to OZ

MONA; the Museum of Old & New Art

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Prior to the visit I had heard plenty of favourable comments and recommendations about MONA; surprisingly they were coming from a range of people varying from art lovers to people with typically little interest in the arts. This intrigued me on the lead up to the visit. After visiting the gallery I understand its broad appeal; it’s a place where enjoyment and the experience are placed as the ultimate priority over pretension. Before any art is viewed, visitors have already been captivated by fun from the roaming roosters, kids trampoline, boat ride (dependent on arrival method), Tasmania’s oldest vineyard and the spectacular and awe-inspiring architecture – it has already been a successful venture. From here on it’s all a bonus, but it continues to intrigue with atmospheric galleries that range from tight quirky spaces to vast open areas. The art itself is diverse in its appeal with a little something to tickle everyone’s interest.’ MONA Visitor

 

MONA is not what you would expect regardless of all you have heard. We took ‘the journey ‘ beginning on the historic Station Pier for a Bass Straight crossing on the Spirit of Tasmania. The large window portals in the cabins gave a haunting view of the black water peeling back into white foam as the ship cut into a calm night sea. We arrived on the chilly Devonport coast at 6am with a temperature of zero.

The road to the museum of OZ has a few enchantments on the early Spring morning that perpetuate the unfolding drama of the landscape. As a typical Melbourne crew we anticipated a home-grown cuisine and strong coffees at the next town, we were mistaken, as each village was merely half a dozen rooftops and no signs that pointed us to a cafe. We regretted not dropping into the All Nice Things Bakery that beckoned from the corner, with the signed promise of a warm breakfast, if we had have known that cafes were few and far between, we would have eaten and stocked up.

Rumbling stomaches and caffeine withdrawals aside ,the natural resplendent views that the winding roads were drawing us into, satisfied the Winter frayed mind. Each scene was vast and framed within majestic snow-capped peaks. Our first stop was within the heavily mossed rainforest of the Liffey Falls , a gushing river flowing into cascading waterfalls. This area was once heavily populated by the Pattittore Aboriginal people, they held their social gatherings there, on this day there was only our small group.

The second wonder on the journey was the ice stalactites along the roadside, rain that was petrified into a dripping beauty. A short journey onward and random clumps on snow begin appearing on the side of the road unfolding into an expansive  snow field amongst the lakes. Naturally a snow fight ensued.

When we arrived at OZ, or rather MONA we were expecting a Glass City, not an old Vineyard, chooks and a small building set amongst outer shed like structures. It’s appearance is provincial, as though it was being considerate of the natural beauty that encased it. The real drama was yet to come.

Mona is built into the ground, not above it. The evaluator takes us deep into her interiors and we arrive at the lower floor of a towering bedrock wall, flanked by a contemporary Bar at one end and a 50’s Tea Room at the other, passing by a waterfall of words.

 

The current exhibition is the The Museum of Everything  and although Mona is a highly contemporary venue , this exhibit invites you into wallpaper drawing-room with a random collection of worldly works and audio stories to match the vision.

 

Is Mona the interior of a rich persons fantastical world? – Yes  

Is it Art-worthy? – Yes

Is it magnificent? – Absolutely

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Sidney Nolan Room

 

Catch the ‘Spirit’ and sleep in the dark waters, it’s a genuine adventure, but eat before leaving Devonport, or you will be hungry.

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Plundered & Broken

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The tale of Aboriginal plunder is a never-ending ballad that sings in the winds of this great country, a land that Elea (Albert) Namatjira painted so lovingly in watercolour. Namatjira’s world-renowned artistic status may have provided him with a thin shield against racism but it was easily shattered, even his greatness, wealth and innocence could not protect him from incarceration.

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Namatjira surrounded by family as he painted

The legend begins when Artist , Rex Battarbee took a painting trip into the Outback, after returning from the devastation of War in the 1930’s. He met Namatjira and it was through their collaboration that the 30-year-old Aranda man learnt to paint and exhibit. They went onto become lifetime friends, able to see pass the bigotry of the day.

International success took this humble man to great worldly heights, he was awarded the Coronation Medal and was the toast of the town. His exhibitions sold out shortly after they opened and most kitchens had one of his reproductions on a calendar or tea towel.

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Before the 1967 Referendum, Australian Aboriginals where denied Human Constitutional Rights and were categorised as part of the wildlife or wards of the state. They were denied most basic human rights and in an insipid twist of irony could not own their land as it had been acquired by the Commonwealth.

Namatjira’s unprecedented rise on the world stage would require him to have a passport and his growing wealth attracted taxes, thus him and his wife Robina were given Australian citizenship  in 1957, enabling him to buy a house in Morris Soak .

Unfortunately his children were not granted citizenship and were regarded as ‘Wards of the State’ as all Aboriginal people were. They did not have the right to choose their marriage partner, be legally responsible for their own children,to change location or socialise with non-aboriginals. It also meant that when the Great Artist and his wife died the Legal Will that aimed to financially protect their children was made void as his children belonged to the state. Their financial copyright royalties were ‘acquired’ by the state and sold on.

The Namatjira Project  began as an objective to buy back the royalties (which will expire shortly) but has become a legal investigation.

The most moving part of the film is when Namatjira’s  homeless grandson gives his artwork to the Queen in her palace and walks away empty-handed. The documentary is a thoughtful journey, full of beautiful archives and an artistic vision, they tip toe over a mine field but I think they have let off a bomb.

*Due to the humane efforts of The Namatjira Project, the Royalties have been returned.

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April Forward

 

The Namatjira Family continue the water-colour tradition as their cultural inheritance.

 

 

THE NAMATJIRA PROJECT

DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER Sera Davies

PRODUCER

Sophia Marinos

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Julia Overton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS (CULTURAL)
Lenie Namatjira
Gloria Pannka

Annie Goldson, ‘Everywhere and Anywhere’

Acclaimed New Zealand Documentary Director, Annie Goldson was in Melbourne to launch her new (secret project) film. Goldson has a strong formidable countenance and she needs it, many of her subjects are capable of murder or the victims of the culpable hand. She needs to know when to back off.

ACMI hosted the Australian International Documentary Conference, which brought in talent from all over the globe. Goldson was doing a spot of shopping when we caught up.

“Its nice to have some time off and be wandering around Melbourne” Goldson

Goldson began her career as a Journalist and has ‘inched her way’ into filmmaking. She tackles the hard facts behind the news stream and goes into the bog, looking for the truth. As a political observer she finds her stories ‘everywhere’, she is curious and like Alice in a complex Wonderland, has to adapt quickly. We may wonder why the terrorists are so irate, she takes her team and her camera and asks them. She is a historians torch into the unknown.

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He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan

He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan explores New Zealand’s involvement in the Afghanistan war that lasted longer than WW1 and WW2 combined. ‘Did we stay to long?’ the film asks. Can lessons be learned to prevent such long-term engagements for the sake of alliance.

Brother Number One was a challenging work as it was necessary to create a present from the past events of the Cambodian Genocide under Pol Pot. New Zealander Ron Hamill, the films source, explains how his carefree adventurous brother Kerry ,sailed into a nightmare.

“An innocent man brought to his knees and killed in the prime of his life” Ron Hamill

Goldson records Hamill’s emotional pain as he addresses the torture and death of his sibling at the War Crimes Tribunal.

The mass Genocide that murdered 2,000,000  ( a 1/4 of the population) was led by a ‘charismatic and smiling’ leader Pol Pot who was indifferent to the torture of babies. In 1975. he led the Kamor Rouge into Nu Pen and in 72 hours he had cleared the city of its inhabitants and sent them to work in labour camps, to grow rice that he would export as the population died of hunger, overwork or beating.

“Documentaries are always a challenge.” Goldson

Her films are intense political dramas that set the stage and cast its light into the ‘heart of darkness.’ Her other well-known films that she Directed are; Punitive Damage and An Island Calling 

by April Forward

All photo’s courtesy of Annie Goldson film extracts.

The Dressmaker

Have you seen the Dressmaker?

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“Yes, it reminded me of Daylesford when we were kids, it gave me the shivers.”

Have you seen the Dressmaker?

“Yes, isn’t Liam Hemsworth gorgeous?”

Have you seen the dressmaker?

“Yes, wasn’t the interaction between Judy Davis and Kate Winset amazing, they must have had heaps of fun.”

Have you seen Dressmaker?

“No, but country towns always have their secrets.”

Have you seen the dressmaker?

“Yes, I Loved it.”

Kate Winset sets fire to the screen, in a cathartic survival movie. The very chic Tilly (Winset) returns to her childhood home in the dead of night, to clean up and overcome her troubled past. Armed with a sewing machine she manifests as the fairy godmother with a cutting edge. The film explores ‘the heart of darkness’ in rural Australia, within a playful drama about frocks.

It’s definitely a film to be enjoyed on the big screen.

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Kate Winset

Costume designer Margot Wilson, runs up a series of ‘show stoppers’ for Winslet to flaunt. Marion Boyce is the ‘muse’ of Tilly’s designs.

“In particular, for this film the costume is everything, most incredible dresses in my career, we start off with a palette of brown, grey and dull…’she’ (Tilly played by Kate Winslet) brings in the wealth of colour”  Boyce

Judy Davies wrings out every essence of her character in her performance, as a tormented shrew.She is brilliant.