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A castle from ‘The Godfather’ is up for grabs

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/sicilian-castle-art-collection-sale-1234615683/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">200-year-old castle</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> near Sicily’s Ionian coast that remains intact has gone up for sale - giving film buffs a chance to own a piece of cinematic history for just €6 million ($AUD 9.49 or $NZD 10 million).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The castle - complete with 22 rooms, its own park and commissioned artworks - isn’t the only structure for sale either, with a gothic-inspired chapel filled with art and frescoes also included in the estate, according to representatives for </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/sales/detail/180-l-86206-ss485l/piazza-agostino-pennisi-acireale-ct" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sotheby’s International Realty</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.33333333333337px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846907/imagereader-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/bcd8f0c0ae8f4fcfad2ac1b9322fd5e5" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 200-year-old castle has been listed for sale for an eye-watering price. Image: Sotheby’s International Realty</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the 1960s and ‘70s, the Sicilian castle was used as the set for several films, including 1969’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">That Splendid November </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">and Francis Coppola’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Godfather: Part III</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The final instalment in Coppola’s trilogy, released on Christmas Day in 1990, follows Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone as he attempts to fix his failing marriage, connect with his estranged children, and find a successor to pass his criminal enterprise onto so he can leave the life of organised crime for good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though it was poorly received by audiences, the film was nominated for seven Oscars and also serves as the source of one of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Godfather</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s iconic lines: “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.33333333333337px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846908/imagereader.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/181bcb30d30748c28d9f16aaad21e54e" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Movie historians are sure to recognise the property from Godfather: Part III, which featured shots of the interior and exterior. Image: Sotheby’s International Realty</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The sale of the nearly 4000-square-metre castle comes shortly after </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/iconic-horror-house-hits-market-with-help-of-freddy-krueger" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the home from </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Nightmare On Elm Street</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> hit the market</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which sold on Halloween 2021.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, homes with a history on the silver screen are more likely to be listed for temporary stays through Airbnb and other platforms for special, often exclusive, events, with recent examples including </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/how-to-stay-in-carrie-bradshaw-s-apartment-from-sex-and-the-city" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a recreation of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sex and the City</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/you-can-now-spend-a-night-in-the-original-home-alone-house" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chicago home</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that was filled with Kevin’s traps in 1992’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Home Alone</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images / Sotheby’s International Realty</span></em></p>

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Beyond Cyrano de Bergerac’s nose – the real man behind the swashbuckling hero

<p>There’s something quite striking missing in Peter Dinklage’s performance of Cyrano de Bergerac. In the upcoming musical film, Cyrano is missing his iconic large nose.</p> <p>Cyrano’s nose has been integral to popular images of the character ever since Edmond Rostand’s swashbuckling 1897 verse drama <a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1254/1254-h/1254-h.htm">Cyrano de Bergerac</a>. This connection became even more so after Gérard Depardieu’s take on the role in <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099334/">1990</a>.</p> <p>In every iteration of Cyrano’s tale till now, his large nose causes him trouble and affects how people perceive him. In the new film, Dinklage’s form of dwarfism, called achondroplasia, as <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-58678918">one critic wrote</a>, “serves the same purpose the character’s oversize schnoz originally did, lending Cyrano an outsider quality that he must overcompensate for in personality”.</p> <p>Cyrano is a witty wordsmith and staggeringly proficient swordsman, able to defeat his opponents with both verbal and physical deftness. For instance, in one scene in the Depardieu film, Cyrano duels and vanquishes a <em>vicomte</em> who insults his nose. He does this while improvising an elaborately complex poem called a <em>ballade</em>.</p> <p>Despite such prowess, his looks limit him. Secretly in love with his dazzling cousin Roxane, Cyrano is held back by shame at his physical appearance. He can only find selfless, vicarious satisfaction by feeding lines of passionate poetry to his rival-cum-alter-ego, the handsome but ineloquent hero Christian, who wins Roxane’s heart.</p> <p>In each new retelling of the story of Cyrano we see the fragile romantic hero tormented by his own perceived lack – it is easy to forget that another Cyrano lurked still further in the background: the real-life playwright, satirist, novelist, and duellist <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Savinien-Cyrano-de-Bergerac">Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac</a> (1619-55). Because of his taste for bluster and grandiose self-mythologisation, we know relatively little for certain about the historical Cyrano.</p> <h2>A colourful life</h2> <p>As a young man, the real Cyrano was taught by the idiosyncratic polymath <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/gassendi/">Pierre Gassendi</a> and mixed in free-thinking “libertine” circles. He was known to spend time with writers such as Paul Scarron and Tristan l’Hermite. It’s even believed that perhaps at the fringes of these circles was the great comic playwright Molière.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OAXX-tr0gzg?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>In his short life, Cyrano proved himself to be a talented and adaptable writer. He never settled down to one genre for long (tragedy, comedy, letters, fiction and more) but maintained a strong intellectually satirical vein throughout. The impressive verbal ingenuity we see in Rostand’s play is also reflected in Cyrano’s various writings, perhaps most cruelly in his witty <a href="https://www2.unil.ch/ncd17/index.php?extractCode=1643">fat-shaming</a> of the actor known as Montfleury.</p> <h2>A would-be astronaut</h2> <p>The real Cyrano was very adept at self-construction and even self-mythologisation. As a young soldier, he fostered rumours that he had routed 100 attackers at once. He claimed some symbolic kinship to classical heroes and warriors by styling himself “Hercule” de Bergerac. Unsurprisingly, both these elements find their way into Rostand’s play.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5e8apSFDXsQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>While the persona Cyrano adopts for himself as protagonist and narrator of his philosophical novel <em><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comical_History_of_the_States_and_Empires_of_the_Moon">L’Autre monde</a></em> is somewhat more modest and cryptic (the name of its hero “Dyrcona”, a near-anagram for Cyrano). The first-person, pseudo-autobiographical fiction he spins here is even more outlandish. In this tale of adventure and daring, he claims to have travelled through outer space to visit the Moon and the Sun and to have conversed with the curious inhabitants of both.</p> <p>As well as inspiring a scene in Rostand’s play, the novel also anticipates the various philosophical travel narratives of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_Letters">Montesquieu</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/eight-surprising-things-its-time-you-knew-about-gullivers-travels-88061">Jonathan Swift</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/guide-to-the-classics-voltaires-candide-a-darkly-satirical-tale-of-human-folly-in-times-of-crisis-157131">Voltaire</a> in the following century. Indeed, Dyrcona’s discussions with his various otherworldly interlocutors cover a range of theological, scientific, political, philosophical, and “libertine” topics – from theories of atomism to biblical accuracy, from cannibalistic orgies to the existence of God. Knowing that the text was philosophically and theologically contentious, he did not publish the work during his lifetime. It was published in a heavily sanitised version entitled <em>Histoire comique</em> (Comical Story) in 1657.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440450/original/file-20220112-25-70qd7h.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="Illustration of Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac." /> <span class="caption">Portrait of playwright Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrano_de_Bergerac#/media/File:Savinien_de_Cyrano_de_Bergerac.JPG" class="source">Wikimedia</a></span></p> <p><em>L’Autre monde</em> remains Cyrano’s most popular work and has various quirks to interest the modern reader. Among other things, the novel anticipates caravans (some moon-dwellers own mobile houses) and audiobooks (small boxes which read chapters out loud). Some of Cyrano’s other fabrications are rather more fantastic: hunting weapons that simultaneously cook the game they shoot, intercontinental flight with the help of bottles of evaporating dew, musical communication, and poetry as a means of currency.</p> <p>One of the most suggestive moments of the novel for many comes when the moon-dwellers explain how a large nose is the marker of someone “spiritual, courtly, affable, noble-minded, [and] liberal”. This leads us back to Cyrano’s actual nose: was it purely Rostand’s invention? Yes and no. Contemporary illustrations of Cyrano show him to be relatively well-endowed nasally but never quite reaching the grotesque extremes we find in Rostand. Even so, in his overall encapsulation of Cyrano’s swagger, ebullience, and creative verve, it is fair to say that Rostand’s depiction was very much on the nose.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174811/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joseph-harris-1306409">Joseph Harris</a>, Professor of Early Modern French and Comparative Literature, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/royal-holloway-university-of-london-795">Royal Holloway University of London</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/beyond-cyrano-de-bergeracs-nose-the-real-man-behind-the-swashbuckling-hero-174811">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Universal Pictures</em></p>

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Pierce Brosnan film to debut after eight-year delay

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pierce Brosnan’s latest role sees him portray King Louis XIV in </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The King’s Daughter</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, but its January release comes after an unusually long delay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The film, based on Vonda N. McIntyre’s 1997 novel </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Moon and The Sun</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, follows King Louis XIV’s journey for immortality. His quest seemingly ends when he captures a mermaid with the intention of stealing her life force to fuel his immortality. However, the plot thickens when he discovers his illegitimate daughter, Marie-Josèphe, has become close with the mythical creature.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OdCNs2pkNLk" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Starring alongside Brosnan is Kaya Scodelario (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Maze Runner</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">) as Marie-Josèphe, Fan Bingbing (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">X-Men: Days of Future Past</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">) as the Mermaid, and Julie Andrews as the film’s Narrator, as well as William Hurt, Benjamin Walker and Rachel Griffiths.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although a trailer for the film was released in December 2021, no-one had heard of the film at the time, with </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://screenrant.com/kings-daughter-pierce-brosnan-movie-8-year-delay-release/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ScreenRant</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> reporting that the film was actually completed in 2014.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With an initial release date set for the following year, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The King’s Daughter</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> was cancelled just weeks before its premiere due to issues with the film’s water-based visual effects with no future release date set. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After responsibility for the film’s distribution was passed around multiple times, independent film company Gravitas Ventures eventually secured the rights and will now release it on January 21, 2022.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846767/brosnan2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f96782bb92b94b66a203ff15ec356131" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pierce Brosnan stars as a French king in the film, which will finally be released after eight long years of delays. Image: Thekingsdaughter.com</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The film’s lengthy delay comes as the film industry continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, which has seen delays affect big titles such as </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">John Wick 4 </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">and Marvel’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Morbius</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> among others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though delays are often a bad sign for films, Paul Currie, a producer for </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://thekingsdaughtermovie.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The King’s Daughter</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, has said he is confident in the film and claims it will be “somewhere between <em>Twilight</em> and <em>Alice in Wonderland</em>”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Expectations may also be running high due to the popularity of the source material, with the critically acclaimed </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">T<em>he Moon and The Sun</em></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> even beating </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Game of Thrones</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1997. But, it’s debut is sure to spark plenty of scrutiny too, as is common with book adaptations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whatever the outcome, the long-overdue release of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The King’s Daughter</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will prove to be a victory in itself, all while showing that pandemic-related delays are nothing to be complained about.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Thekingsdaughter.com</span></em></p>

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Don’t look Up! has a surprising amount to tell us about economics, much of it useful

<p>In the new Netflix sensation <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.netflix.com/au/title/81252357" target="_blank">Don’t Look Up</a></em>, two astronomers, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo Di Caprio, discover a massive comet heading towards Earth, and desperately try to warn the US president, played by Meryl Streep.</p> <p>Their hope is the government will take action to avert catastrophe while there is time. Their efforts are subverted by a combination of self-serving political cynicism, billionaire business interests, a media that sees its job as respecting those interests and that cynicism, and a population conditioned not to look up.</p> <p>It is an obvious metaphor for the threat of climate breakdown, where warnings and pleadings from climatologists and scientists and from a growing number of campaigners, ecological economists and others, are being ignored, trivialised and sometimes even ridiculed by political insiders.</p> <p>But after 40 years marked by the dominance of <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/neoliberalism.asp" target="_blank">neoliberal</a> pro-market economic policies, the metaphor can be extended to almost any challenge requiring a serious response, particularly where it involves standing up to vested interests.</p> <p>There’s more amiss than vision and courage. Public services no longer have the capacity they did to respond to problems like long-term climate change and short-term pandemics.</p> <p>Their administrative and decision-making capacity has been stripped away, as has the surge capacity in health systems and in many countries the ability to react to disruptions to supply chains – all in the name of efficiency, but with the effect of creating fragility while contributing to inequality and extremism.</p> <p><strong>Hayek, Friedman and Buchanan got us here</strong></p> <p>Neoliberalism is rooted in the work of three Chicago School economists: Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and James Buchanan.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friedrich-hayek/" target="_blank">Hayek</a>, though a famous name, was probably the least influential of the three. He saw mixed economies, market-based but regulated by governments, as inevitable steps on the road to totalitarianism.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/milton-friedman.asp" target="_blank">Friedman</a> espoused a naïve and outdated theory of money, which was no sooner adopted than abandoned in the early 1980s, but like Hayek saw freedom in low taxes and championed privatisation and deregulation. It was Friedman who argued that many people had to remain unemployed in order to suppress wages.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.libertarianism.org/topics/james-m-buchanan" target="_blank">Buchanan</a>, like Friedman, argued that politicians and public servants could be trusted to act in in their own interests at a cost to society, and that almost anything that could be done by public servants could be done better by the private sector.</p> <p>In the 1980s the trio effectively took over the conservative side of politics in high-income countries. Their ideas also helped intimidate those on the other side, including the Hawke-Keating Labor government in Australia, and every Labor front bench that succeeded them. That influence persists to this day.</p> <p><strong>Mazzucato, Kelton and Raworth want to get us out</strong></p> <p>In her book <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://marianamazzucato.com/books/mission-economy" target="_blank">Mission Economy</a></em>, the University College London economist Marianna Mazzucato imagines a different relationship between the public and private sectors: a proactive, problem-solving government cooperating with the private sector to address, among other things, climate change and the problems and opportunities associated with a rapid transition to sustainability.</p> <p>This would require rebuilding public capacity and an approach to government experimentation and risk-taking not seen for 40 years.</p> <p>Aligned with her are modern monetary theorist Stephanie Kelton and ecological economist Kate Raworth.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439590/original/file-20220106-27-iufaef.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439590/original/file-20220106-27-iufaef.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">Stephanie Kelton, at Adelaide university in January 2020.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">John Staines</span></span></em></p> <p>Kelton’s <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/bernie-sanders-economic-adviser-has-a-message-we-might-just-need-130182" target="_blank">The Deficit Myth</a></em> describes how modern monetary systems work and demolishes the metaphor of the government as a household used by neoliberals to push for balanced budgets and minimalist governments.</p> <p>Kelton points out it is normal for governments to run deficits (Australia’s Commonwealth government <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/memories-in-1961-labor-promised-to-boost-the-deficit-to-fight-unemployment-the-promise-won-115376" target="_blank">nearly always has</a>) and that these deficits allow the private sector to avoid building up debt.</p> <p>Governments that create their own currencies such as America’s or Australia’s are well-placed to guide the private sector to serve a public purpose.</p> <p>While both Mazzucato and Kelton discuss what this means, and give examples, it is Raworth’s book that most clearly identifies the goal governments should aspire to.</p> <p>That book is called <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/stay-in-the-doughnut-not-the-hole-how-to-get-out-of-the-crisis-with-both-our-economy-and-environment-intact-151917" target="_blank">Doughnut Economics</a></em>. It sets out a framework for providing everyone with an opportunity to enjoy a secure, dignified and connected life, while respecting nine environmental planetary boundaries that are prerequisites for the maintenance of the planet.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/374713/original/file-20201214-19-1wp3kad.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/374713/original/file-20201214-19-1wp3kad.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <em><span class="attribution"><a rel="noopener" href="https://doughnuteconomics.org/" target="_blank" class="source">doughnuteconomics.org</a></span></em></p> <p>The framework requires a shift of focus away from the goal of economic growth as defined by gross domestic product towards a set of indicators of a successful society. The indicators are similar to the UN <a rel="noopener" href="https://sdgs.un.org/goals" target="_blank">sustainable development goals</a>.</p> <p>Both Kelton and Raworth are members of the World Health Organization’s <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.who.int/groups/who-council-on-the-economics-of-health-for-all" target="_blank">Council on the Economics of Health for All</a>, chaired by Mazzucato. Its guiding principle is that health should be seen not only as a human right but also as an investment in continued prosperity. It is an approach that would have led, among much else, to better preparations for the long-predicted pandemic.</p> <p><strong>Deficit-funded spending pays dividends</strong></p> <p>With Kelton and others, including leading medical researcher Steve Robson and health economist Martin Hensher, I have discussed the implications of modern monetary theory for health in an article for the <em>Insight</em> magazine of the <a rel="noopener" href="https://insightplus.mja.com.au/2021/21/whos-afraid-of-the-deficit-what-it-means-for-health-care/" target="_blank">Medical Journal of Australia</a>, and in a position paper for the <a rel="noopener" href="https://iht.deakin.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/153/2021/06/IHT_Position_Paper.MMT_healthcareinAust_140621.pdf" target="_blank">Institute for Health Transformation</a> at Deakin University.</p> <p>As a nation, we should not have been worried by the prospect of health spending climbing above 10% of gross domestic product as it did in 2015-16, nor by the prospect of it climbing higher in future decades. We should be investing in resources including the skills, health infrastructure and technology we will need to deal with future pandemics and the consequences of climate change.</p> <p>On climate change, it is gradually dawning on people that the outcome of COP26 in Glasgow was not up to the challenge we face and that many countries will not even achieve what they committed themselves to at Glasgow.</p> <p>To a greater or lesser extent, every leader of a high-income country is failing to articulate a mission in regard to climate change, to drive that mission with the right public investments, and to locate the problems of climate change within the broader context of the planetary boundaries identified by Raworth – the most obvious of which is biodiversity.</p> <p>The attitude is “Don’t Look Up!”, we have got this. Or “technology will save us”, as President Orlean (Meryl Streep) believed in the movie.</p> <p><strong>Few leaders any better than Streep</strong></p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439603/original/file-20220106-15-gnu99g.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439603/original/file-20220106-15-gnu99g.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">Meryl Streep as President Orlean.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Tavernise/Netflix</span></span></em></p> <p>A search by Raworth’s colleagues at the University of Leeds has failed to identify any country anywhere in the world that is providing its citizens with the social foundations for a good life while remaining inside planetary boundaries.</p> <p>If that was to be the definition of a developed economy, none of our economies are developed.</p> <p>We are either not meeting the needs of our people or exceeding the carrying capacity of our planet, or (in the case of about <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00799-z" target="_blank">a third</a> of countries) doing both at once.</p> <p>Therein lies both a warning and a challenge; a threat and an opportunity.</p> <p>Our mission ought to be to meet social foundations everywhere without destroying the environment of which we are a part and on which we depend.</p> <p><strong>We have an opportunity to govern differently</strong></p> <p>Governments, and especially monetary sovereign governments in high income countries such as Australia, will have to lead the way.</p> <p>They will have to throw off the neoliberalism of Friedman, Hayek and Buchanan, and the baggage which goes with it and buy into the new economics of Kelton, Raworth, Mazzucato and their colleagues.</p> <p>Then we can look up, with some confidence that we can deflect the metaphorical comets that threaten the lives of millions and the quality of life for us all.</p> <p>The resources and the technology to do what’s needed already exist. But until now we have been trapped in an outmoded way of thinking about both the role of government and the purpose of economic activity that has held us back to the point where the comet is bearing down upon us.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174399/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steven-hail-1302961" target="_blank">Steven Hail</a>, Adjunct Associate Professor, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/torrens-university-australia-899" target="_blank">Torrens University Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/dont-look-up-has-a-surprising-amount-to-tell-us-about-economics-much-of-it-useful-174399" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Netflix</em></p>

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From Chicago to West Side Story, how to successfully adapt a musical from stage to screen

<p>The second half of 2021 is proving to be a peak time for movie musical-goers, with the release of critically acclaimed In the Heights, disastrously received Dear Evan Hansen, and Steven Spielberg’s hotly anticipated West Side Story.</p> <p>These films lead to reflection on one of the stranger sub-genres of film history — the musical stage-to-screen adaptation. To film a stage show (as in the recent professionally shot films of Hamilton and Come from Away), or merely to create bigger stage sets in a studio (there are many examples of this, from Guys and Dolls to The Producers) is not truly to adapt a musical to film.</p> <p>Instead, adaptors should use the tools unique to film to re-interpret the musical in this different medium.</p> <p>To help us through the vicissitudes of adaptation, here is an idiosyncratic list of a few DOs and DON’Ts.</p> <h2>DO use real locations creatively</h2> <p>Location shooting is a frequent tool used to enhance the realism of film musicals, but placing the un-realism of song and dance in a real place can backfire and create an uncanny valley. Locations are best used in a super-realistic way.</p> <p>A successful recent example of this is In the Heights. Director Jon Chu and his production team shot much of the film in Washington Heights in Manhattan, but in a way that the neighbourhood seems a natural place for music-making: very careful lighting, colour-timing, and the occasional unobtrusive effects shot lift the story out of the mundane.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437093/original/file-20211213-21-hr5jsr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437093/original/file-20211213-21-hr5jsr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">In The Heights (2021) is a love letter to the Washington Heights area of NYC.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></p> <p>In the number When the Sun Goes Down, lovers Benny and Nina begin singing naturalistically on a fire escape, but then a set on hydraulics, green screen, and “magic hour” lighting come together to enable a gravity-defying dance across the rooftops and walls of the apartment buildings.</p> <p>See also: Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, On the Town</p> <h2>DON’T ghettoise all of the musical numbers to a stark dreamland covered in artistic scaffolding</h2> <p>Counter to the previous guideline about using real locations for musical numbers, some film musicals go too far in the opposite direction.</p> <p>Two musicals directed by Rob Marshall, Chicago and Nine, puzzlingly use the same solution to try and hedge their bets: the dialogue scenes happen in realistic locations (1920s Chicago and 1960s Rome, respectively) but the musical numbers are relegated to their characters’ internal fantasies, which in both cases means studio-like settings that allow for dancers to be placed in aesthetically pleasing formations.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437098/original/file-20211213-27-qhe4i9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437098/original/file-20211213-27-qhe4i9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Chicago (2002), features musical numbers entirely set within the character’s internal fantasies.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></p> <p>This strategy gets the filmmakers out of having to bridge the gap between speech time and music time, but the narrative innovations of both shows are smoothed out on screen. That makes for a less interesting filmgoing experience.</p> <p>The exception that proves the rule here is Cabaret, in which director Bob Fosse removed all of the “book” songs and kept only those performed in the titular cabaret.</p> <p>Through innovative intercutting and montage the cabaret songs pervade the whole texture of the film, however, resulting in one of the most “musical” of all musicals.</p> <h2>DO fix problems with the dramatic unfolding of the source material</h2> <p>Show Boat was the first stage musical to attempt a truly epic form, covering twenty years of story time and locations all along the Mississippi River.</p> <p>In 1927, stage mechanics had not caught up with librettist Oscar Hammerstein II and composer Jerome Kern’s ambitions, and the musical, brilliant and groundbreaking as it was, suffered from overlength and a dramatically clumsy second act. The production team fixed these issues in the 1936 film version, as the technologies of montage, dissolve, and cross-cutting that were possible on film allowed for a more effective unfolding of time and place.</p> <p>The 1965 film version of The Sound of Music similarly fixes problems in the stage version; another epic musical, the stage version feels hemmed-in and stifled.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437103/original/file-20211213-21-1maqjdh.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437103/original/file-20211213-21-1maqjdh.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The Sound of Music (1965) uses film techniques and editing to improve on a ‘stifled’ stage musical.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></p> <p>It is allowed to breathe on film, and the songs are moved around to better reflect what they are actually about (My Favourite Things on stage is sung by the Mother Abbess to cheer up Maria before she leaves the convent!)</p> <p>See also: Hair, Hairspray, Tick Tick Boom</p> <h2>DON’T adapt a musical to film that didn’t work on stage</h2> <p>Poor Alan Jay Lerner. After the extraordinary success of the film version of My Fair Lady, Lerner attempted film adaptations of three of his other musicals that had been less successful on stage.</p> <p>Camelot, which had a healthy run on Broadway because of its star actors (Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, and Robert Goulet), its Oliver Smith production designs, and a few excellent songs, rather more than for its unconvincing storyline and structure, was a natural for screen adaptation. But non-singer stars (Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero), unconvincing plot revisions, and dull direction by Joshua Logan caused it to be an inert behemoth on screen.</p> <p>Lerner tried again with Paint Your Wagon in 1969, based on a much earlier stage musical that had been only mildly successful with a few hit songs (notably They Call the Wind Maria). But once more, non-singer stars (Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, and Jean Seberg), unconvincing plot revisions, and dull direction by (again!) Joshua Logan resulted in yet another inert behemoth.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437105/original/file-20211213-27-1dca0r1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437105/original/file-20211213-27-1dca0r1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Paint Your Wagon (1969) is generally acknowledged as a poor example of a film musical, and a stage musical.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></p> <p>Third time was not a charm, with On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. This time the stars were singers: Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand. Unfortunately, their talents were hidden by another poorly revised screenplay and, unlike the other two films, this one could have used more of everything, especially music.</p> <p>Writing this has made me realise that successful stage-to-screen adaptations are quite rare. For every Cabaret there are two Annies and a Man of La Mancha. Spielberg’s new West Side Story will be the first musical he has directed in his long career, and musical-lovers everywhere are optimistic that he will do this classic musical justice.</p> <p>I merely hope that the only scaffolding to be found is on the fire escapes of 1950s Manhattan!<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/169946/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gregory-camp-1280180">Gregory Camp</a>, Senior Lecturer, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-1305">University of Auckland</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/from-chicago-to-west-side-story-how-to-successfully-adapt-a-musical-from-stage-to-screen-169946">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: 20th Century Studios</em></p>

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Burning is the slickest film about climate change since An Inconvenient Truth – and that’s its problem

<p><em>Review: Burning, directed by Eva Orner.</em></p> <p>The word “crisis” comes from the Greek <em>krinein</em>, which means to decide. You’re stuck in the middle of a burning fire: you need to decide whether you are going to stay and perish; whether you are going to fight to put it out; or whether you are going to leave and let it burn.</p> <p><em>Burning</em>, Eva Orner’s new documentary, is about the climate crisis, and the Australian government’s decision to (metaphorically) let the fires burn.</p> <p>It is quite explicit in its claims, and this makes it effective as a kind of cinematic essay. It carefully presents – via the words of interviewee <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/former-fire-chief-greg-mullins-faces-the-firestorm-again-20210918-p58stw.html" target="_blank">Greg Mullins</a>, former New South Wales fire commissioner – the history of bushfires in Australia.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hTfyD7ALJtU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>While acknowledging, as the refrain goes, there have always been fires in Australia, the film presents evidence and analysis showing fires have massively worsened in recent years in frequency and severity in line with the forecasts of climate scientists regarding global warming.</p> <p><em>Burning</em> goes on to argue the 2019-2020 “Black Summer” bushfires, its ostensible subject, could have been headed off by a well-conceived response to global warming.</p> <p><strong>Past and present</strong></p> <p>Through a series of talking head interviews, <em>Burning</em> convincingly argues the severity of the devastation of the Black Summer bushfires is largely the fault of the Morrison government (and preceding conservative governments) in refusing to recognise climate change is real, and to enact policies addressing this.</p> <p>Mullins’ commentary is joined by, among others, scientist <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/recipients/tim-flannery/110/" target="_blank">Tim Flannery</a>, young activist <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vogue.com.au/culture/features/teenage-climatechange-campaigner-daisy-jeffrey-on-what-its-really-like-to-be-a-young-activist/news-story/4b7442757e6e066df7d3ce31f07410cd" target="_blank">Daisy Jeffrey</a>, writer <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.magabala.com/collections/bruce-pascoe" target="_blank">Bruce Pascoe</a> and residents affected by the bushfires who talk about the devastation their communities faced.</p> <p>Through meticulously curated and assembled archival footage, we also hear from a list of the usual suspects: Tony Abbott, Malcolm Roberts, Barnaby Joyce, Alan Jones, and of course, Prime Minister Scott Morrison.</p> <p>The film is careful to tie this back to much earlier conservative discourse, with an interview with Alexander Downer in which he contests the reality of global warming.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430676/original/file-20211108-16752-1s9xxhz.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430676/original/file-20211108-16752-1s9xxhz.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A charred landscape" /></a><em> <span class="caption">Burning argues the Black Summer bushfires could have been averted if climate action had been taken.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Amazon Prime</span></span></em></p> <p>It also – again, convincingly – demonstrates the role of the Murdoch media in propagating climate change denialism, with snippets from Sky News as recent as 2020 casting doubt on the reality of global warming.</p> <p>The film is at pains to point out this is not only historical, but current – we see Morrison recently bagging out electric cars (“<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/10/scott-morrison-walks-back-end-the-weekend-rhetoric-on-electrical-vehicles" target="_blank">It’s not gonna tow your trailer</a>. It’s not going to tow your boat. It’s not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family.”) and proselytising about the future role of gas in Australia’s economy.</p> <p><strong>Too polished</strong></p> <p>It’s a very well-made documentary, full of stunning images of Australian geography and flora and fauna – beautiful <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.videomaker.com/article/c6/17127-bokeh-and-depth-of-field" target="_blank">bokeh</a>, slow tracking shots around leaves, etc – interspersed with dramatic meteorological charts, and some shocking footage of the bushfires burning across the country.</p> <p>It is, I would suggest, the slickest film about climate change since <em>An Inconvenient Truth</em> (2006), and, like that film, its polish plays against it as a documentary film experience.</p> <p>This is the annoying thing about the film: it’s so right at the level of content, but formally it falls short. Apart from a few select moments – harrowing images of charred animals, a koala trying to escape a fire, and a devastating interview with a young mother whose baby was born prematurely with a dying placenta because of smoke inhalation – the actual material centred on the bushfires is peculiarly uninvolving.</p> <p>We watch interviews with Cobargo residents that, given the subject, seem surprisingly run of the mill.</p> <p>It’s like the film mentions the smoke, but doesn’t capture its eerie apocalyptic quality. It mentions the intense heartbreak and brutality of the fires for towns like Cobargo, but doesn’t put us in the middle of it. It tells us things more than it makes us feel things, and this is seldom beneficial in the medium.</p> <p>Even much of the footage captured by residents seems strangely contained by the film, with what surely was a surreal, infernal nightmare presented instead in a thoroughly digestible, middlebrow fashion.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430675/original/file-20211108-9989-1k54s2x.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430675/original/file-20211108-9989-1k54s2x.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A firefighter" /></a> <em><span class="caption">Burning gets so much right in regards to its content, but is let down by its form.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Amazon Prime</span></span></em></p> <p><em>Burning</em> clearly examines climate change as a political weapon in Australia – and leaves no doubt about the connections between global warming and the recent bushfires. The message of the film is spot on, the logic of its argument faultless.</p> <p>There are striking moments – footage of dead animals; listening to Daisy Jeffrey; Bruce Pascoe’s closing words about the stewardship of the land. And yet it doesn’t work as well as it could as a piece of cinema. It lacks the edge of eco docos like <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/film-review-wild-things-packs-passionate-climate-activism-into-an-overly-polite-documentary-154374" target="_blank">Wild Things</a></em> (2020) partly because it’s too slick.</p> <p>We want a hot and sweaty, intense film from within the belly of the bushfires and the horrors of Australian climate policy – instead we get a polished and well-mannered one.</p> <p>It is a really good, well-made doco essay – primed for streaming (produced for Amazon, this is probably its primary intended medium, so it’s no surprise it isn’t very cinematic).</p> <p>Its material is compelling - it certainly stokes our indignation - but it is unlikely to teach a climate change believer anything they don’t already know, and a sceptic won’t watch or listen to it anyway.</p> <p><em>Burning is at Sydney Film Festival until Monday November 8 and will be streaming on Amazon Prime from November 26.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171385/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ari-mattes-97857" target="_blank">Ari Mattes</a>, Lecturer in Communications and Media, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-notre-dame-australia-852" target="_blank">University of Notre Dame Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/burning-is-the-slickest-film-about-climate-change-since-an-inconvenient-truth-and-thats-its-problem-171385" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Amazon Prime</em></p>

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Fans call JK Rowling out for ‘cartoonishly stereotypical’ character names

<p dir="ltr">With the<span> </span><em>Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts<span> </span></em>reunion special sparking renewed interest in the series, some fans have voiced concerns about the names of several minor characters.</p> <p dir="ltr">Character names such as Seamus Finnegan, Cho Chang, and Fleur Delacour have been highlighted as being “cartoonishly stereotypical”, with people pointing out that ‘Cho’ and ‘Chang’ are both surnames. Twitter user Ben Mahtin<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/BenMahtin/status/1477707150004826120" target="_blank">wrote</a>, “Every single non-white non-British character has a cartoonishly stereotypical name - Cho Chang, Seamus Finnigan, Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour”.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition, users found a 2014 tweet from Rowling where she responded to a fan enquiry about whether there were any Jewish wizards at Hogwarts by naming a character not seen in either the books or the movies, Anthony Goldstein.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Anthony Goldstein. Ravenclaw. Jewish wizard. <a href="https://t.co/2oClCydHW3">pic.twitter.com/2oClCydHW3</a></p> — isi baehr-breen (its pronounced ‘izzy’) (@isaiah_bb) <a href="https://twitter.com/isaiah_bb/status/1477700531812454411?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 2, 2022</a></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Others pointed out other stereotypical names, including<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/failure2nd/status/1477713562114179073" target="_blank">Kingsley Shacklebolt</a>, as well as the fact that Finnegan, one of the few Irish characters in the series, has a habit of blowing things up.</p> <p dir="ltr">Of Cho Chang’s name, YouTuber Freddie Wong tweeted, “Two popular last names from two DIFFERENT KINDS of Asians!? Frankly, this was the first red flag we should’ve SEEN IT”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">yo EVERY TIME I forget about how insane the name CHO CHANG is the internet REMINDS ME. Two popular last names from two DIFFERENT KINDS of Asians!? Frankly this was the first red flag we should've SEEN IT <a href="https://t.co/1NnoAwbB31">https://t.co/1NnoAwbB31</a></p> — Freddie Wong (@fwong) <a href="https://twitter.com/fwong/status/1477894030864228352?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 3, 2022</a></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Actress Katie Leung, who played Chang in the movies, spoke to the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast about her experience as Cho. Not only did she experience racist abuse from fans, but she was told by publicists not to talk about it. “I remember them saying to me, ‘Oh, look, Katie, we haven’t seen these, these websites that people are talking about.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And, you know, if you get asked that, just say it’s not true, say it’s not happening.’ And I just nodded my head. I was like, ‘OK, OK,’ even though I had seen it myself with my own eyes. I was like, ‘OK, yeah, I’ll just say everything’s great.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was like, Googling myself at one point and I was on this website, which was kind of dedicated to the Harry Potter fandom, and I remember reading all the comments. It was a lot of racist s***,”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic</em></p>

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From Chicago to West Side Story, how to successfully adapt a musical from stage to screen

<p>The second half of 2021 is proving to be a peak time for movie musical-goers, with the release of critically acclaimed <em>In the Heights</em>, disastrously received <em>Dear Evan Hansen</em>, and Steven Spielberg’s hotly anticipated <em>West Side Story</em>.</p> <p>These films lead to reflection on one of the stranger sub-genres of film history — the musical stage-to-screen adaptation. To film a stage show (as in the recent professionally shot films of <em>Hamilton</em> and <em>Come from Away</em>), or merely to create bigger stage sets in a studio (there are many examples of this, from <em>Guys and Dolls</em> to <em>The Producers</em>) is not truly to adapt a musical to film.</p> <p>Instead, adaptors should use the tools unique to film to re-interpret the musical in this different medium.</p> <p>To help us through the vicissitudes of adaptation, here is an idiosyncratic list of a few DOs and DON’Ts.</p> <p><strong>DO use real locations creatively</strong></p> <p>Location shooting is a frequent tool used to enhance the realism of film musicals, but placing the un-realism of song and dance in a real place can backfire and create an uncanny valley. Locations are best used in a super-realistic way.</p> <p>A successful recent example of this is <em>In the Heights</em>. Director Jon Chu and his production team shot much of the film in Washington Heights in Manhattan, but in a way that the neighbourhood seems a natural place for music-making: very careful lighting, colour-timing, and the occasional unobtrusive effects shot lift the story out of the mundane.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437093/original/file-20211213-21-hr5jsr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437093/original/file-20211213-21-hr5jsr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">In The Heights (2021) is a love letter to the Washington Heights area of NYC.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></em></p> <p>In the number <em>When the Sun Goes Down</em>, lovers Benny and Nina begin singing naturalistically on a fire escape, but then a set on hydraulics, green screen, and “magic hour” lighting come together to enable a gravity-defying dance across the rooftops and walls of the apartment buildings.</p> <p>See also: <em>Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, On the Town</em></p> <p><strong>DON’T ghettoise all of the musical numbers to a stark dreamland covered in artistic scaffolding</strong></p> <p>Counter to the previous guideline about using real locations for musical numbers, some film musicals go too far in the opposite direction.</p> <p>Two musicals directed by Rob Marshall, <em>Chicago</em> and <em>Nine</em>, puzzlingly use the same solution to try and hedge their bets: the dialogue scenes happen in realistic locations (1920s Chicago and 1960s Rome, respectively) but the musical numbers are relegated to their characters’ internal fantasies, which in both cases means studio-like settings that allow for dancers to be placed in aesthetically pleasing formations.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437098/original/file-20211213-27-qhe4i9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437098/original/file-20211213-27-qhe4i9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">Chicago (2002), features musical numbers entirely set within the character’s internal fantasies.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></em></p> <p>This strategy gets the filmmakers out of having to bridge the gap between speech time and music time, but the narrative innovations of both shows are smoothed out on screen. That makes for a less interesting filmgoing experience.</p> <p>The exception that proves the rule here is <em>Cabaret</em>, in which director Bob Fosse removed all of the “book” songs and kept only those performed in the titular cabaret.</p> <p>Through innovative intercutting and montage the cabaret songs pervade the whole texture of the film, however, resulting in one of the most “musical” of all musicals.</p> <p><strong>DO fix problems with the dramatic unfolding of the source material</strong></p> <p><em>Show Boat</em> was the first stage musical to attempt a truly epic form, covering twenty years of story time and locations all along the Mississippi River.</p> <p>In 1927, stage mechanics had not caught up with librettist Oscar Hammerstein II and composer Jerome Kern’s ambitions, and the musical, brilliant and groundbreaking as it was, suffered from overlength and a dramatically clumsy second act. The production team fixed these issues in the 1936 film version, as the technologies of montage, dissolve, and cross-cutting that were possible on film allowed for a more effective unfolding of time and place.</p> <p>The 1965 film version of <em>The Sound of Music</em> similarly fixes problems in the stage version; another epic musical, the stage version feels hemmed-in and stifled.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437103/original/file-20211213-21-1maqjdh.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437103/original/file-20211213-21-1maqjdh.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">The Sound of Music (1965) uses film techniques and editing to improve on a ‘stifled’ stage musical.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></em></p> <p>It is allowed to breathe on film, and the songs are moved around to better reflect what they are actually about (<em>My Favourite Things</em> on stage is sung by the Mother Abbess to cheer up Maria before she leaves the convent!)</p> <p>See also:<em> Hair, Hairspray, Tick Tick Boom</em></p> <p><strong>DON’T adapt a musical to film that didn’t work on stage</strong></p> <p>Poor Alan Jay Lerner. After the extraordinary success of the film version of <em>My Fair Lady</em>, Lerner attempted film adaptations of three of his other musicals that had been less successful on stage.</p> <p><em>Camelot</em>, which had a healthy run on Broadway because of its star actors (Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, and Robert Goulet), its Oliver Smith production designs, and a few excellent songs, rather more than for its unconvincing storyline and structure, was a natural for screen adaptation. But non-singer stars (Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero), unconvincing plot revisions, and dull direction by Joshua Logan caused it to be an inert behemoth on screen.</p> <p>Lerner tried again with <em>Paint Your Wagon</em> in 1969, based on a much earlier stage musical that had been only mildly successful with a few hit songs (notably <em>They Call the Wind Maria</em>). But once more, non-singer stars (Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, and Jean Seberg), unconvincing plot revisions, and dull direction by (again!) Joshua Logan resulted in yet another inert behemoth.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437105/original/file-20211213-27-1dca0r1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437105/original/file-20211213-27-1dca0r1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a><em> <span class="caption">Paint Your Wagon (1969) is generally acknowledged as a poor example of a film musical, and a stage musical.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></em></p> <p>Third time was not a charm, with <em>On a Clear Day You Can See Forever</em>. This time the stars were singers: Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand. Unfortunately, their talents were hidden by another poorly revised screenplay and, unlike the other two films, this one could have used more of everything, especially music.</p> <p>Writing this has made me realise that successful stage-to-screen adaptations are quite rare. For every <em>Cabaret</em> there are two <em>Annies</em> and a <em>Man of La Mancha</em>. Spielberg’s new <em>West Side Story</em> will be the first musical he has directed in his long career, and musical-lovers everywhere are optimistic that he will do this classic musical justice.</p> <p>I merely hope that the only scaffolding to be found is on the fire escapes of 1950s Manhattan!<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/169946/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gregory-camp-1280180" target="_blank">Gregory Camp</a>, Senior Lecturer, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-1305" target="_blank">University of Auckland</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/from-chicago-to-west-side-story-how-to-successfully-adapt-a-musical-from-stage-to-screen-169946" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">20th Century Studios</span></span></em></p>

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Keanu Reeves donates his Matrix salary to cancer research

<p>Hollywood's nicest guy Keanu Reeves has reportedly donated 70% of his salary from <em>The Matrix</em> to cancer research. </p> <p>The 57-year-old Canadian actor made $14 million for the 1999 sci-fi hit film, before earning another $49 million after its impressive release at the box office. </p> <p>According to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ladbible.com/entertainment/latest-keanu-reeves-donated-70-of-his-matrix-salary-to-leukaemia-research-20211228" target="_blank">Lad Bible</a>, Keanu gave approximately $44 million of those earnings to leukaemia research, after his sister Kim was diagnosed with blood cancer in 1991. </p> <p>Kim, who is now 55-years-old battled the condition for 10 years before entering remission, as Keanu put his career on hold - which included the back-to-back <em>Matrix</em> sequels - to take care of her. </p> <p>He later started his own cancer fund, but didn't make it known to the public for several years. </p> <p>“I have a private foundation that’s been running for five or six years, and it helps aid a couple of children’s hospitals and cancer research,” Reeves told Ladies Home Journal in 2009.</p> <p>“I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.”</p> <p>The foundation provides critical funding for research into cancer, while also supporting both children's wards and kids' hospitals. </p> <p>This is not the first time Keanu Reeves has parted with his impressive movie salary to help others, as he has previously given up to $125 million to save at-risk jobs so people could stay employed. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Spider-Man’s Tom Holland fulfils sweet promise to young hero

<p dir="ltr">Marvel superstar Tom Holland doesn’t merely play a superhero on screen – he’s proved time and time again just how principled and generous he is in real life, too.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most recently, he kept his word to a little boy who saved his sister from a dog attack. Bridger Walker was only six years old when he defended his four-year-old sister from a dog attack in 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">The children were playing outside their home in Wyoming when a German Shepherd mix ran towards Bridger’s sister and he intervened. He ended up<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CDXgF2TgYZD/" target="_blank">needing 90 stitches and undergoing a two-hour surgery</a><span> </span>following the July 2020 attack.</p> <p dir="ltr">Upon hearing the news, celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Mark Ruffalo, and Tom Holland, who plays Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sent messages of support to Bridger both publicly on social media and privately, praising him for his courage.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the time, Holland promised Bridger that he could visit the set of the most recent Spider-Man film,<span> </span><em>Spider-Man: No Way Home,<span> </span></em>and photos shared by the Walker family on Instagram show that he kept his promise to the young boy.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CXmQuR8pNMv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CXmQuR8pNMv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Robert Walker, JD (@robertwalker307)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Sharing photos from the set visit, including several of Bridger in his own Spider-Man mask, and one where Holland, as Spider-Man, is carrying Bridger through the air, Bridger’s dad Robert explained just how much the visit meant to their family. He thanked Holland, Holland’s brother Harry, and Spider-Man co-star Zendaya, along with the entire cast and crew, for this “dream-come-true adventure”.</p> <p dir="ltr">He continued to describe their day on set, writing, “When we first arrived on set, I was a little apprehensive that once the “curtain was pulled back” that the magic of the movies would be lost for the kids. The opposite was true!</p> <p dir="ltr">“Tom, Zendaya, Harry, @lifeisaloha, @tonyrevolori, and the entire cast/crew made our kids feel like stars. ✨ They don’t just act the part of friendly neighborhood heroes - that’s what they truly are.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The look on the kids’ faces was priceless when we rounded the blue-screen to see Tom, in full costume, high above the set on a light post. It was emotional to see him waive at the kids like he was the one that was supposed to be excited - not the other way around. A short time later, Tom and Zendaya came over. I will never forget the grace and kindness they showed our children.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have loved seeing the reviews for @spidermanmovie. While there are so many reasons it will go down as one of the best ever - I personally think it is because the cast and crew are good, kind, and passionate people. Individuals who heard about a little boy’s injury, who wanted to make it right. People who were willing to stop a very busy day of shooting to make my little boy smile, and give him a chance to “web-swing” with his hero. Thank you again to everyone who played some role in Bridger’s special day “hanging” with Spider-Man. 🕷🕸 “</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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Researchers use Forrest Gump in brain study

<p>Watching the 1994 Tom Hanks movie <em>Forrest Gump</em> may have affected you in strange and unusual ways.</p> <p>British research suggests that throughout the two-hour Hollywood blockbuster the response of your hippocampus, the part of your brain associated with memories, was more likely influenced by subjective event boundaries than by specific transitions between scenes, such as changes in location.</p> <p>This suggests the hippocampus is sensitive to meaningful units of experience rather than perceptual cues. If that is correct, it likely means that the brain region plays an important role in segmenting our continuous everyday experience into discrete events for storage in long-term memory.</p> <p>The research, carried out by Aya Ben-Yakov and Richard Henson at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK, is among the first to investigate hippocampal function during a natural experience.</p> <p>The scientists recruited two groups of volunteers.  The first was asked to watch <em>Forrest Gump</em>, while the second was shown an abridged version of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1961 television drama Bang! You’re Dead, edited from 30 minutes down to eight.</p> <p>In each participant, the hippocampus responded as the researchers hypothesised it would.</p> <p>“We observed a strong hippocampal response at boundaries defined by independent observers, which was modulated by boundary strength (the number of observers that identified each boundary),” <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0524-18.2018" target="_blank">they write in a paper</a> published in the journal <em>JNeurosci</em>.</p> <p>“In the longer film, there were sufficient boundaries to show that this modulation remained after co-varying out a large number of perceptual factors.</p> <p>“The hippocampus was the only brain region whose response showed a significant monotonic increase with boundary strength in both films, suggesting that modulation by boundary strength is selective to the hippocampus.”</p> <p>The hippocampus is one of the most widely-studied regions in the human brain, with research suggesting it has <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-happens-in-the-hippocampus-32589" target="_blank">many roles</a>, including assisting with navigation and direction, as well as memory formation.</p> <p>The aim of Ben-Yakov and Henson was not to test how the hippocampus responds in specific situations, but to expose it to a continuous stream of complex information and thus gain an insight into how it behaves in a naturalistic setting.</p> <div class="newsletter-box"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p22848-o1" class="wpcf7"> <p style="display: none !important;"> </p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></p> </div> </div> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=22848&amp;title=Researchers+use+Forrest+Gump+in+brain+study" alt="" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/researchers-deploy-forrest-gump-in-brain-study/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/nick-carne">Nick Carne</a>. Nick Carne is the editor of Cosmos Online and editorial manager for The Royal Institution of Australia.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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Keep an eye out for these 5 films from the Byron Bay International Film Fest

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbff.com.au/blog/bbff-returns-in-2021-with-a-special-edition-programme-of-inspiring-and-uplifting-films" target="_blank">Byron Bay International Film Festival</a> has ended for this year, that doesn’t mean you missed out on its offerings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The nature of the Aussie film festival means that some films are already out, like <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/movies/how-to-watch-these-5-short-films-from-the-byron-bay-international-film-fest" target="_blank">these five</a>, while others are screened ahead of their airing to the general public.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With that in mind, here are five short films in this year’s programme that you’ll want to keep an eye out for.</span></p> <p><em><strong>Inner Portraits</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846493/film-fest7.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/9a774b879fcb43b387b9f36e4c4c7414" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Photographic artist RJ Poole has made a rare appearance in front of the camera in </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Inner Portraits</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The short documentary sees the Lismore photographer become the subject, relating his experiences as a soldier in Australia’s SAS regiment during his youth, interspersed with some of his proudest work.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having made its appearances at the Melbourne Documentary and St Kilda film festivals, the public release date for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Inner Portraits</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is yet to be announced.</span></p> <p><em><strong>Perfect Storm</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846492/film-fest5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/bdcaf3e26bb34370a115bc896af9df84" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Set on the wild coast of Auckland, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Perfect Storm</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> follows one man’s enforced isolation from his loved ones during the pandemic. With a cast of just two, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Perfect Storm</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> shows how coming home to oneself and the environment can be a silver lining amid loneliness.</span></p> <p><em><strong>CWA: Judgement Day</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846495/film-fest11.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c5d0bf976ef34c1f820e2d901c544d22" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Byron Bay International Film Festival</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Step inside the Country Women’s Association, an Australian icon and backbone of rural living, through </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">CWA: Judgement Day</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Set in a nondescript Canberra building, it follows a group of women gathering for a secret initiation into the world of judging for the CWA.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With its world premiere at the Byron Bay film festival, this is one film to be on the lookout for.</span></p> <p><em><strong>The Handyman</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846491/film-fest3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1c8c0bef92754c67b8d253ce9b322559" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An Australian drama, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Handyman </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">starts with Evelyn (Alison Whyte, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Dressmaker</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">) about to end her life, until she is interrupted by an awkward handyman (Nathaniel Dean, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alien: Covenant</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">). His need for work collides with Evelyn’s desire to make him leave, and she discovers that he has problems of his own to contend with.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Handyman</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has been making appearances at film festivals around the world since its premiere in Cairo last year, with its public release date still to be confirmed.</span></p> <p><em><strong>Dandelion</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846494/film-fest10.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c9a2c329480442c5964d42fd16504ef9" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><em><strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dandelion</span></strong></em><strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> takes on the tough subject of loving someone and supporting them on their mental health journey with quirks and comedy, all while replacing the strong female character trope with a more nuanced, vulnerable protagonist.</span></strong></p>

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How to watch these 5 short films from the Byron Bay International Film Fest

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The yearly <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbff.com.au/blog/bbff-returns-in-2021-with-a-special-edition-programme-of-inspiring-and-uplifting-films" target="_blank">Byron Bay International Film Festival</a> has returned for 2021, featuring a combination of feature-length and short films from Australia and around the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With this year’s theme being ‘Shining Light in Darkness’, the festival lineup includes films that reflect life in isolation, processing loss, and finding happiness in unexpected places.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The films will be screened at the Palace Byron Bay cinema and the Lennox Head Cultural Centre between December 17 and 21.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Luckily, those who can’t make the festival can still catch these five films.</span></p> <p><em><strong>Mourning Country</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846411/film-fest1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b9ad562690f9491289aba18ea0c0e302" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘Mourning Country’ shares the personal experience of Budawang Elder Noel Butler. Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Opening with shots of burnt landscape and charred remains as Budawang Elder Noel Butler calls for animals no longer there, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mourning Country</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> explores the grief felt for the country’s unique wildlife to bushfires.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The six-minute film follows Butler as he walks through the ashes of his property - destroyed in the 2019 Currowan fire - where his home and the Aboriginal Cultural Centre once stood. Capturing his mourning for the flora and fauna that once lived there and the life that begins to flourish, the film speaks to the “destructive loss” of life that comes from improper management of the land.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mourning Country</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is available to watch </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ryanandrewlee.com/cinematography/mourning-country" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, on cinematographer Ryan Andrew Lee’s website.</span></p> <p><em><strong>The Kicked Dog</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846412/film-fest2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/39189f2a6983404c8d9d704c478c4b79" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alan Ford (pictured) stars alongisde Clive Russell in the black comedy 'The Kicked Dog'. Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A black comedy from writer and director Max Hemmings, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Kicked Dog</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> stars Alan Ford and Clive Russell (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Game of Thrones</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">) as Alan and Terry, two feuding brothers attempting to reconcile over a low-rent heist. As aged East End gangsters from a bygone era, they have limited time to mend their relationship before Terry’s dementia sets in.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Kicked Dog</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is due to be released online in July, 2022.</span></p> <p><em><strong>Mirador</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846415/film-fest9.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/705d33c849ac4e76889a8b6cacab4210" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Performance artist Angela Goh pushes film equipment through the Phoenix Central Building in a scene from Mirador. Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An experimental look at performance art, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mirador</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> follows performance artist Angela Goh as she navigates the winding interior of the Phoenix Central Building, a private performance space in Sydney.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The film plays with perspective and distortion as Goh takes us through dark corridors, down stairwells, and along thin beams, showing how buildings can contain mysteries. Watch the film </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://versusversus.com.au/work/mirador/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><strong>Our Country</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846414/film-fest8.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/82ff7d376b60479091d640c6e2890239" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">'Our Country' is filmed on Dunghutti Country and features members of the community sharing their stories. Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though only five minutes long, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our Country </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">explores the connection between people, country and culture for members of the different generations of the South West Rocks community of Dunghutti Country, on the NSW Mid North Coast.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Keen to check it out? Head </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://robertsherwoodfilms.com.au/portfolio/our-country-short-film" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to watch it.</span></p> <p><em><strong>Lotus</strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846413/film-fest6.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/52bb2b5714cd4ec78762a0aa4ac4d19e" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Angelika Furstler recreates her near death experience in 'Lotus'. Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Filmed almost completely underwater in the Mayan Cenotes, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lotus</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is inspired by filmmaker Angelika Furstler’s own near-death experience in Mexico while facing her biggest fear. It is a film that explores how one can grow from pain, anxiety and fear to find coherence, harmony and flow.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Lotus</em> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">is showing in international film festivals, the film’s </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.angelikafurstler.com/lotus-shortfilm" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> says it isn’t publicly available as of yet. It is expected to be launched online, and keen viewers can sign up to be notified when it is released.</span></p>

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From Love Actually to Christmas On The Farm: how rom-coms became a festive season staple

<p>It is a visual language with which we are almost all familiar. It’s cold and snowing outside, but inside, next to a crackling fire, it’s warm and cosy. The tree is a deep green, festooned with fairy lights, glinting off the wrapping of the presents below. There is hot chocolate and sugar cookies and eggnog and candy canes, and the only things that can be heard are carols and the joyous laughter of our nearest and dearest.</p> <p>This image of Christmas is, of course, vastly different to what we usually experience in Australia – extreme heat, seafood platters, <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q" target="_blank">white wine in the sun</a> – but it is still one with which we are very familiar. It’s present in all our retail settings, with their fake snow and holly and Santas sweating in their suits.</p> <p>And of course, it’s all over our media, in the increasingly ubiquitous Christmas romantic comedy film.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/436574/original/file-20211209-138695-5pacow.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=8%2C17%2C5982%2C3970&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/436574/original/file-20211209-138695-5pacow.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=8%2C17%2C5982%2C3970&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">In The Knight Before Christmas (2019), a medieval knight is transported to the present day, where he falls for a high school science teacher who’s lost her belief in love.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Brooke Palmer/ Netflix</span></span></em></p> <p><strong>Counting down to Christmas</strong></p> <p>Christmas movies have a long history, dating back to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3ei1tseeM" target="_blank">1898 short film Santa Claus</a>, but the Christmas rom-com really hit its stride in the 21st century.</p> <p>Love Actually (2003), an ensemble film featuring multiple intertwined stories, is perhaps the best-known example. However, in terms of sheer quantity, it is difficult to look past the company that has made Christmas their core business: Hallmark.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437057/original/file-20211212-17-9ikar9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437057/original/file-20211212-17-9ikar9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">Love Actually (2003) is one of the most popular examples of the Christmas rom-com.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></em></p> <p>Since 2009, the Hallmark Channel have run a seasonal block of programming called Countdown to Christmas, central to which are their Hallmark Christmas movies. Countdown to Christmas has become increasingly extravagant: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/hallmark-christmas-movies-2021/" target="_blank">in 2021</a>, it began on October 22, and will feature a total of forty new movies, along with a (very) large number from previous years.</p> <p>While Hallmark Christmas movies have been a cultural touchstone for many years in North America, that hasn’t been the case to the same extent in Australia, because we haven’t had widespread access to the flood of programming.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437059/original/file-20211212-23-16hf6i3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437059/original/file-20211212-23-16hf6i3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">In Write Before Christmas (2020), a Hallmark Channel original movie, recently single Jessica sends Christmas cards to five people that have impacted her life. As each person receives Jessica’s card, they are sparked to act in their own lives to make them better.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Hallmark</span></span></em></p> <p>However, the advent and popularity of Netflix’s Hallmark-style Christmas movies, beginning with A Christmas Prince and Christmas Inheritance in 2017, have led to a growing familiarity and engagement with the Christmas romance genre from local audiences.</p> <p>As a result, after many years with <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/a-very-aussie-christmas-70647" target="_blank">a dearth of local Christmas programming</a>, Stan released A Sunburnt Christmas last year, their first Australian Christmas original film. This year, they have another original Australian Christmas offering in rom-com <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_oEqfyLpMQ" target="_blank">Christmas on the Farm</a>, which premiered on December 1.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r_oEqfyLpMQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Christmas on the Farm is missing a key ingredient of the Hallmark Christmas romance: snow (in the Hallmark universe, the characters <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/12/14/16752012/hallmark-christmas-movies-explained" target="_blank">“can’t be waiting for the snow, there has to <em>be</em> snow”</a>). However, it boasts a screenwriter with Hallmark credentials in Jennifer Notas Shapiro, and draws on plenty of other tropes of the Christmas rom-com.</p> <p><strong>What makes a Christmas rom-com?</strong></p> <p>Hallmark has a reputation for conservatism, and we cannot fail to note that for many years, their movies featured exclusively <a rel="noopener" href="https://thewalrus.ca/the-unwatchable-whiteness-of-holiday-movies/" target="_blank">straight, white, middle-class characters</a> <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vulture.com/2021/11/gac-family-christmas-movies-cable-tv.html?utm_campaign=nym&amp;utm_medium=s1&amp;utm_source=tw" target="_blank">falling in love</a> (although they are slowly beginning to diversity their casts).</p> <p>It is perhaps surprising, then, that Christmas rom-coms do not tend to be particularly religious. Instead, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/what-makes-christmas-movies-so-popular-127972" target="_blank">as S Brent Rodriguez-Plate argues</a>, there’s a more secular reason for the season underpinning these films – “the power of family, true love, the meaning of home or the reconciliation of relationships”.</p> <p>Christmas rom-coms thus have a particular aesthetic (snow, mistletoe, ugly-but-snuggly jumpers), and a particular set of core values: family, community, selflessness, kindness, love. They’re rarely overtly supernatural, but the Christmas setting often gives rise to a little bit of “Christmas magic” or a “Christmas miracle”, which pushes our protagonists towards embracing these values.</p> <p>As a result, there are some very common plots, settings, and themes in the Christmas rom-com.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437069/original/file-20211212-23-d89k1x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437069/original/file-20211212-23-d89k1x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">In Happiest Season (2020), Abby, a lesbian, plans to propose to her girlfriend, Harper, in front of Harper’s family members. But she is in for a shock when she learns that Harper is yet to come out to her parents.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Netflix</span></span></em></p> <p><strong>Home for the holidays</strong></p> <p>This plot is Hallmark’s bread and butter. One of our protagonists – usually the heroine – returns home for the holidays. This is often against her will: she’s usually a city-dwelling career woman, leaving behind a similarly career-driven boyfriend.</p> <p>But going home for Christmas reveals to her that although she might be successful, she hasn’t been happy. With the help of family and/or community and almost always a handsome hometown hunk (usually dressed in flannel), she learns to slow down and embrace what really matters to her.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437060/original/file-20211212-13-i6giq0.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437060/original/file-20211212-13-i6giq0.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">Time For Them To Come Home For Christmas (2021). During the holidays, a woman with amnesia catches a ride with her handsome nurse to investigate the only clue to her identity.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB.</span></span></em></p> <p><strong>Small towns</strong></p> <p>Our heroine is almost exclusively returning home to a small town, often with a Christmassy name and one or more struggling local businesses – a bakery, an inn, a Christmas tree farm.</p> <p>She must learn that work does not bring her joy, and that she needs to slow down and take stock. However, she nearly always finds herself using her corporate skills to re-energise and revive these businesses. For films which make it clear that we should not dream of labour, a surprising amount of attention is paid to stimulating the economy of small towns.</p> <p><strong>Christmas kingdoms</strong></p> <p>If our heroine is not going home for the holidays, she might find herself in a small, ambiguously European and unambiguously Christmassy kingdom. There, she’ll have a run-in with some local royalty, with whom she’ll swiftly fall in love.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437055/original/file-20211212-13-ln91xn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437055/original/file-20211212-13-ln91xn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">In A Christmas Prince (2017), a young journalist is sent abroad to go undercover to get the scoop on a playboy prince who is destined to be king, all in the lead up to Christmas.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Netflix</span></span></em></p> <p>Netflix has leaned into this plot extensively in their Christmas rom-coms – it’s the foundation of both the Christmas Prince (2017-19) and Princess Switch (2018-21) trilogies.</p> <p><strong>No Grinches allowed</strong></p> <p>This is arguably the defining characteristic of Christmas rom-coms: they are sincere. Any cynicism towards the season is swiftly quashed. It is only by embracing the genre’s key values that the happy ending of the rom-com can be reached. Our protagonists must fall in love not only with each other, but also with Christmas.</p> <p><strong>A happy ending</strong></p> <p>Christmas rom-coms always end happily, with our central couple in love and everyone having a very merry Christmas. There is a familiar pattern to them - one does not watch these films to be surprised.</p> <p>Like many of the trappings of Christmas, watching these movies is a holiday ritual for many people, as comforting as putting on a Christmas jumper. They’re films to snuggle into, secure in the notion that for now, all’s right in the world.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171819/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jodi-mcalister-135765" target="_blank">Jodi McAlister</a>, Lecturer in Writing, Literature and Culture, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757" target="_blank">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/from-love-actually-to-christmas-on-the-farm-how-rom-coms-became-a-festive-season-staple-171819" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Netflix</em></p>

Movies

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From Love Actually to Christmas On The Farm: how rom-coms became a festive season staple

<p>It is a visual language with which we are almost all familiar. It’s cold and snowing outside, but inside, next to a crackling fire, it’s warm and cosy. The tree is a deep green, festooned with fairy lights, glinting off the wrapping of the presents below. There is hot chocolate and sugar cookies and eggnog and candy canes, and the only things that can be heard are carols and the joyous laughter of our nearest and dearest.</p> <p>This image of Christmas is, of course, vastly different to what we usually experience in Australia – extreme heat, seafood platters, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q">white wine in the sun</a> – but it is still one with which we are very familiar. It’s present in all our retail settings, with their fake snow and holly and Santas sweating in their suits.</p> <p>And of course, it’s all over our media, in the increasingly ubiquitous Christmas romantic comedy film.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/436574/original/file-20211209-138695-5pacow.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=8%2C17%2C5982%2C3970&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/436574/original/file-20211209-138695-5pacow.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=8%2C17%2C5982%2C3970&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">In The Knight Before Christmas (2019), a medieval knight is transported to the present day, where he falls for a high school science teacher who’s lost her belief in love.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Brooke Palmer/ Netflix</span></span></p> <h2>Counting down to Christmas</h2> <p>Christmas movies have a long history, dating back to the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3ei1tseeM">1898 short film Santa Claus</a>, but the Christmas rom-com really hit its stride in the 21st century.</p> <p>Love Actually (2003), an ensemble film featuring multiple intertwined stories, is perhaps the best-known example. However, in terms of sheer quantity, it is difficult to look past the company that has made Christmas their core business: Hallmark.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437057/original/file-20211212-17-9ikar9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437057/original/file-20211212-17-9ikar9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Love Actually (2003) is one of the most popular examples of the Christmas rom-com.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB</span></span></p> <p>Since 2009, the Hallmark Channel have run a seasonal block of programming called Countdown to Christmas, central to which are their Hallmark Christmas movies. Countdown to Christmas has become increasingly extravagant: <a href="https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/hallmark-christmas-movies-2021/">in 2021</a>, it began on October 22, and will feature a total of forty new movies, along with a (very) large number from previous years.</p> <p>While Hallmark Christmas movies have been a cultural touchstone for many years in North America, that hasn’t been the case to the same extent in Australia, because we haven’t had widespread access to the flood of programming.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437059/original/file-20211212-23-16hf6i3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437059/original/file-20211212-23-16hf6i3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">In Write Before Christmas (2020), a Hallmark Channel original movie, recently single Jessica sends Christmas cards to five people that have impacted her life. As each person receives Jessica’s card, they are sparked to act in their own lives to make them better.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Hallmark</span></span></p> <p>However, the advent and popularity of Netflix’s Hallmark-style Christmas movies, beginning with A Christmas Prince and Christmas Inheritance in 2017, have led to a growing familiarity and engagement with the Christmas romance genre from local audiences.</p> <p>As a result, after many years with <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-very-aussie-christmas-70647">a dearth of local Christmas programming</a>, Stan released A Sunburnt Christmas last year, their first Australian Christmas original film. This year, they have another original Australian Christmas offering in rom-com <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_oEqfyLpMQ">Christmas on the Farm</a>, which premiered on December 1.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r_oEqfyLpMQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Christmas on the Farm is missing a key ingredient of the Hallmark Christmas romance: snow (in the Hallmark universe, the characters <a href="https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/12/14/16752012/hallmark-christmas-movies-explained">“can’t be waiting for the snow, there has to <em>be</em> snow”</a>). However, it boasts a screenwriter with Hallmark credentials in Jennifer Notas Shapiro, and draws on plenty of other tropes of the Christmas rom-com.</p> <h2>What makes a Christmas rom-com?</h2> <p>Hallmark has a reputation for conservatism, and we cannot fail to note that for many years, their movies featured exclusively <a href="https://thewalrus.ca/the-unwatchable-whiteness-of-holiday-movies/">straight, white, middle-class characters</a> <a href="https://www.vulture.com/2021/11/gac-family-christmas-movies-cable-tv.html?utm_campaign=nym&amp;utm_medium=s1&amp;utm_source=tw">falling in love</a> (although they are slowly beginning to diversity their casts).</p> <p>It is perhaps surprising, then, that Christmas rom-coms do not tend to be particularly religious. Instead, <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-makes-christmas-movies-so-popular-127972">as S Brent Rodriguez-Plate argues</a>, there’s a more secular reason for the season underpinning these films – “the power of family, true love, the meaning of home or the reconciliation of relationships”.</p> <p>Christmas rom-coms thus have a particular aesthetic (snow, mistletoe, ugly-but-snuggly jumpers), and a particular set of core values: family, community, selflessness, kindness, love. They’re rarely overtly supernatural, but the Christmas setting often gives rise to a little bit of “Christmas magic” or a “Christmas miracle”, which pushes our protagonists towards embracing these values.</p> <p>As a result, there are some very common plots, settings, and themes in the Christmas rom-com.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437069/original/file-20211212-23-d89k1x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437069/original/file-20211212-23-d89k1x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">In Happiest Season (2020), Abby, a lesbian, plans to propose to her girlfriend, Harper, in front of Harper’s family members. But she is in for a shock when she learns that Harper is yet to come out to her parents.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Netflix</span></span></p> <p><strong>Home for the holidays</strong></p> <p>This plot is Hallmark’s bread and butter. One of our protagonists – usually the heroine – returns home for the holidays. This is often against her will: she’s usually a city-dwelling career woman, leaving behind a similarly career-driven boyfriend.</p> <p>But going home for Christmas reveals to her that although she might be successful, she hasn’t been happy. With the help of family and/or community and almost always a handsome hometown hunk (usually dressed in flannel), she learns to slow down and embrace what really matters to her.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437060/original/file-20211212-13-i6giq0.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437060/original/file-20211212-13-i6giq0.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Time For Them To Come Home For Christmas (2021). During the holidays, a woman with amnesia catches a ride with her handsome nurse to investigate the only clue to her identity.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">IMDB.</span></span></p> <p><strong>Small towns</strong></p> <p>Our heroine is almost exclusively returning home to a small town, often with a Christmassy name and one or more struggling local businesses – a bakery, an inn, a Christmas tree farm.</p> <p>She must learn that work does not bring her joy, and that she needs to slow down and take stock. However, she nearly always finds herself using her corporate skills to re-energise and revive these businesses. For films which make it clear that we should not dream of labour, a surprising amount of attention is paid to stimulating the economy of small towns.</p> <p><strong>Christmas kingdoms</strong></p> <p>If our heroine is not going home for the holidays, she might find herself in a small, ambiguously European and unambiguously Christmassy kingdom. There, she’ll have a run-in with some local royalty, with whom she’ll swiftly fall in love.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437055/original/file-20211212-13-ln91xn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437055/original/file-20211212-13-ln91xn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">In A Christmas Prince (2017), a young journalist is sent abroad to go undercover to get the scoop on a playboy prince who is destined to be king, all in the lead up to Christmas.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Netflix</span></span></p> <p>Netflix has leaned into this plot extensively in their Christmas rom-coms – it’s the foundation of both the Christmas Prince (2017-19) and Princess Switch (2018-21) trilogies.</p> <p><strong>No Grinches allowed</strong></p> <p>This is arguably the defining characteristic of Christmas rom-coms: they are sincere. Any cynicism towards the season is swiftly quashed. It is only by embracing the genre’s key values that the happy ending of the rom-com can be reached. Our protagonists must fall in love not only with each other, but also with Christmas.</p> <p><strong>A happy ending</strong></p> <p>Christmas rom-coms always end happily, with our central couple in love and everyone having a very merry Christmas. There is a familiar pattern to them - one does not watch these films to be surprised.</p> <p>Like many of the trappings of Christmas, watching these movies is a holiday ritual for many people, as comforting as putting on a Christmas jumper. They’re films to snuggle into, secure in the notion that for now, all’s right in the world.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171819/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jodi-mcalister-135765">Jodi McAlister</a>, Lecturer in Writing, Literature and Culture, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/from-love-actually-to-christmas-on-the-farm-how-rom-coms-became-a-festive-season-staple-171819">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Netflix</em></p>

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Lisa Wilkinson apologises to Matthew McConaughey on behalf of Aussie women

<p><em>Image: The Project &amp; Getty </em></p> <p>Lisa Wilkinson has offered a sheepish apology to Matthew McConaughey during an interview on Tuesday’s episode of The Project.</p> <p>'I must say belatedly on behalf of the women of Australia, I'm really sorry, because I recently learned that, according to you, Australian chicks didn't dig you,' said the 61-year-old Project panelist.</p> <p>Matthew, 52, claims he had no recollection of having ever made the comment, after spending a year in Australia as an exchange student when he was 18.</p> <p>He spent a year on the NSW Central Coast during what he described as a ‘formative’ time spent abroady.</p> <p>As Lisa asked, 'What did we do wrong?', a confused Matthew simply responded, 'Did I say that?'</p> <p>He added: 'It might've been more my fault. It was a formative year but it was an awkward year as well. So a lot of the blame is probably on me for that.'</p> <p>In his autobiography titled Greenlights, Matthew confessed he struggled to 'maintain my sanity in the strange place I was in'. Adding that he got 'very thin' during his year abroad in Australia, and worked six different jobs during his time here.</p> <p>'I also decided to become abstinent for the rest of the year, which still had nine months in it,' he wrote.</p> <p>'I started believing that my life's calling was to become a monk. I made plans to go to South Africa after my year's exchange and free Nelson Mandela.'</p> <p>He shared that he was enrolled at an 'awkward' high school where he complained 'everyone wore uniforms and played tag at lunch'.</p> <p>'No one wanted to party and the chicks were not digging me,' he added.</p>

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Apocalyptic films have lulled us into a false sense of security about climate change

<p>The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)‘s sobering <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58130705" target="_blank">“code red for humanity”</a> report comes on the heels of months of devastating weather events around the world. Our front pages have been dominated by photos that look as if they’ve come from a film – images of <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-58147674" target="_blank">heroic teams tackling forest fires</a> against a bright orange sky, of planes dropping water and fire retardant, <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.voanews.com/europe/german-floods-kill-least-133-search-survivors-continues" target="_blank">cars sinking into flooded streets</a> and destroyed buildings.</p> <p>One image – that of a ferry, carrying evacuees from the Greek Island of Evia, surrounded by fire, helpless and in the middle of crisis – drew comparisons to the ferry scenes in the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds. In the film, people poured onto a vehicle ferry in a desperate attempt to escape the extraterrestrial invasion.</p> <p>In Greece, the ferry made safe landing, and <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-58141336" target="_blank">all passengers were accounted for</a>. But in the film, few, bar the protagonists, survived that moment. While War of the Worlds ends happily – with the alien lifeforms that had ravaged the world succumbing to their vulnerability to microbes on Earth – the footage from Greece is just one scene in a story for which the ending is not yet fully written.</p> <p>It might seem frivolous to compare such moments to films, but these comparisons play an important role in helping us to comprehend and make sense of particular moments in history. Like all works of art, films reveal much about the social and political zeitgeist in which they are conceived and produced, often acting as magnifying lenses for humankind’s hopes and anxieties.</p> <p>Psychoanalysis researcher Vicky Lebeau <a rel="noopener" href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/psychoanalysis-and-cinema/9781903364192" target="_blank">has noted</a> that films can reveal the desires and fears of the societies that watch them. We have seen this in science fiction films, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still, which flourished <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.humanities.org/blog/movie-critic-robert-horton-discusses-sci-fi-films-the-cold-war-and-today" target="_blank">during the cold war</a>, inspired by the space race and the arms race.</p> <p>The proliferation of blockbuster disaster films just before the turn of the millennium (Twister, Dante’s Peak, Armageddon, Deep Impact, to name a few), fed off theories that <a rel="noopener" href="https://davefox990.medium.com/what-disaster-movies-say-about-us-536a5dabbad1" target="_blank">the world would end</a> as we entered the year 2000. And it is also no accident that during the early months of the COVID pandemic the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/contagion-coronavirus-download-watch-online-otorrent-warner-bros-cast-twitter-a9403256.html" target="_blank">most watched films online</a> were Contagion, Outbreak and 28 Days Later –- all of which depict degrees of pandemic apocalypse.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/415428/original/file-20210810-15-7k1ul5.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <em><span class="caption">A video of people being evacuated from the Greek island of Evia drew comparisons with the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds.</span></em></p> <p><strong>Apocalypse now?</strong></p> <p>Through these stories, directors have offered us an enthralling yet terrifying glimpse of what the end of the world might look like. It could be caused by zombies (Walking Dead, I Am Legend, Shaun of the Dead), biological demise (Children of Men, Logan’s Run), climate change (The Day After Tomorrow, Snowpiercer, Flood), nuclear accident or war (Dr. Strangelove), or ancient prophecy (2012).</p> <p>However, none of these are truly end-of-world narratives. Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic films start with the risk of total destruction, but more often than not, after the cataclysmic event of the story, a form of normality returns –- balance is restored to the world and life can once again move forward. This way of storytelling brings these films closer to the true meaning of apocalypse.</p> <p>The root of the word “apocalypse” comes from the ancient Greek term αποκαλύπτειν (apokalýptein), which <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/apocalypse" target="_blank">translates roughly</a> as “unveiling” or “revealing”. The implication being that the near destruction of the city or planet allows for a new understanding, a shift in priorities and a new way of seeing the world – or a renewed and better existence.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">This is some horrifying War of the Worlds shit right here. We have got to start electing governments that actually fight climate change, above all, and start demanding more of ourselves and of companies that can change things. <a href="https://t.co/9JDGI2fWgH">https://t.co/9JDGI2fWgH</a></p> — Helen O'Hara (@HelenLOHara) <a href="https://twitter.com/HelenLOHara/status/1423980516181741570?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 7, 2021</a></blockquote> <p>The scenes of flooding and fires that fill our news programmes echo those we see in movies. But for them to be truly apocalyptic, rather than merely world ending, they must reveal something to us. As we watch the real-world events unfold, the IPCC report makes clear what they reveal – that humans have changed the climate and we are on a trajectory to make much of our environment unlivable. But unlike the films, not everyone is going to be saved in 90 thrilling minutes.</p> <p>By comparing reality to films, we are seeking the hope for renewal that these apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives give us. Nevertheless, they are ultimately fiction. While rehearsing the end of the world through film can exorcise fears, at the same time they may have desensitised us, lulling us into a false sense of security that all will be well in the end – and <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20130731-the-lure-of-the-disaster-movie" target="_blank">that we are immortal</a>.</p> <p>If our own apocalypse is a three-act film, then the last 200 years of environmental harms have been the setup, the exposition. We are now at the moment of confrontation. We all, as the lead characters, must confront the reality of what is around us. If not, the third act, the resolution, may not be the ending we hope for. As French philosopher Jacques Derrida warned: “the end approaches, but the apocalypse is long lived”.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/165837/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-specht-530827" target="_blank">Doug Specht</a>, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-westminster-916" target="_blank">University of Westminster</a> and <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/silvia-angeli-1258983" target="_blank">Silvia Angeli</a>, Visiting Lecturer in Media and Communication, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-westminster-916" target="_blank">University of Westminster</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/apocalyptic-films-have-lulled-us-into-a-false-sense-of-security-about-climate-change-165837" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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‘The Beatles: Get Back’ glosses over the band’s acrimonious end

<p>In the new film “<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9735318/">The Beatles: Get Back</a>,” “Lord of the Rings” director <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001392/">Peter Jackson</a> tries to dispel the myth of the the Beatles’ breakup.</p> <p>In 1970, Michael Lindsay-Hogg released “<a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/original-let-it-be-movie-michael-lindsay-hogg-peter-jackson-get-back-1250561/">Let It Be</a>,” a film documenting the band’s recording sessions for their eponymous album. The movie depicted George Harrison arguing with Paul McCartney – and it hit theaters shortly after news of the band’s breakup emerged. Many filmgoers at the time assumed this depicted the days and weeks during which everything fell apart.</p> <p>By the time it hit theaters, nearly 16 months after filming, this rehearsal footage got mistaken for a completely different time frame.</p> <p>In 2016, Jackson gained access to Lindsay-Hogg’s original footage. Over the course of four years, he edited it into an eight-hour, three-part series, thanks to a streaming deal with Disney+.</p> <p>In their press rounds, both Jackson and McCartney have been eager to recast the legacy of this period.</p> <p>“I kept waiting for all the nasty stuff to start happening, waiting for the arguments and the rows and the fights, but I never saw that,” <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/nov/20/i-just-cant-believe-it-exists-peter-jackson-takes-us-into-the-beatles-vault-locked-up-for-52-years">Jackson told The Guardian</a> and others. “It was the opposite. It was really funny.”</p> <p>“I’ll tell you what is really fabulous about it, it shows the four of us having a ball,” <a href="https://www.nme.com/news/music/paul-mccartney-says-the-beatles-get-back-documentary-changed-his-perception-of-their-split-3095528">McCartney told The Sunday Times</a> after seeing the film. “It was so reaffirming for me.”</p> <p>It seems to be working: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/11/arts/music/beatles-get-back-peter-jackson.html">A recent New York Times headline proclaimed</a>, “Know How the Beatles Ended? Peter Jackson May Change Your Mind.”</p> <p>A lot of these sessions contain the irrepressible gags that made the Beatles famous. (Lennon and McCartney singing “Two of Us” in grandiose Scottish brogue almost steals Part Three.) But in their interviews, Jackson and McCartney accentuate the positive as if to paper over the acrimonious <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/paul-mccartney-says-he-sued-beatles-save-band-s-music-n1235898">history of lawsuits</a>, <a href="https://www.billboard.com/music/rock/beatles-catalog-paul-mccartney-brief-history-ownership-7662519/">the loss of the Lennon-McCartney publishing catalog</a> and the lurching solo careers that followed.</p> <h2>A muddled chronology</h2> <p>The timing of the theater release of the “Let It Be” sessions seeded confusion over how the group unraveled.</p> <p>“Let it Be” was shot in January 1969, just weeks after the “<a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/review-the-beatles-white-album-186863/">White Album</a>” hit stores.</p> <p>The band then put these tapes aside to work on the larger project they intuited from this material, “<a href="https://theconversation.com/the-beatles-revolutionary-use-of-recording-technology-in-abbey-road-124070">Abbey Road</a>,” which they completed seven months later.</p> <p>The split actually came at a September 1969 meeting, when <a href="https://theconversation.com/inside-the-beatles-messy-breakup-50-years-ago-130980">Lennon told the others</a> he wanted a “divorce.” They persuaded him to keep his departure quiet until the band completed some contract negotiations. Then, in March 1970, <a href="https://theconversation.com/inside-the-beatles-messy-breakup-50-years-ago-130980">McCartney publicly proclaimed</a> he was “leaving the Beatles” to release his first solo album.</p> <p>An epic descent into suits, <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-courtroom-hit-parade-the-beatles-top-ten-lawsuits-414216.html">countersuits</a> and press squabbles ensued. Harrison even wrote a song called “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzdw2WcSmb0">Sue Me Sue You Blues</a>.”</p> <p>Only in May 1970 did the “Let It Be” album and film come out, with the band’s messy divorce as the backdrop.</p> <p>After the initial theater run, “Let it Be” fell from view. For decades, the only way you could get a glance of it was through a black market copy. The Andy Warhol-esque, <a href="https://www.artforum.com/print/196704/the-value-of-didactic-art-36733">so-real-it’s-boring verité style</a> – the non-narrative approach then in vogue – flummoxed even 1970 audiences.</p> <p>But because the “Let It Be” album and film came out after “Abbey Road” – which was released in September 1969 – it quickly got mistaken for telegraphing their breakup, <a href="https://www.nme.com/news/music/paul-mccartney-says-the-beatles-get-back-documentary-changed-his-perception-of-their-split-3095528">a belief that the Beatles themselves seemed to internalize</a>.</p> <p>The Beatles’ own traumatic memories of this period kept the raw footage from this project in the vaults for over 50 years. In the meantime, bootleggers published nearly all of its audio.</p> <h2>Conflict brewing</h2> <p>Now at significant remove, the remaining Beatles – McCartney and Ringo Starr – <a href="https://variety.com/video/peter-jackson-get-back-beatles-secrets/">seem to have hired Jackson</a> for a rescue operation, disingenuously dubbing the film a “documentary” when they, in fact, served as executive producers alongside their Apple Records directors, Jeff Jones and Ken Kamins.</p> <p>In response to Jackson’s three-part series, which coincided with the release of <a href="https://variety.com/2021/music/reviews/get-back-book-review-beatles-let-it-be-transcripts-1235087090/">a book of transcripts from the “Let it Be” sessions</a> and McCartney’s songwriting memoir, “<a href="https://theconversation.com/what-paul-mccartneys-the-lyrics-can-teach-us-about-harnessing-our-creativity-170987">Lyrics</a>,” <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/11/arts/music/beatles-get-back-peter-jackson.html">media outlets</a> <a href="https://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/the-beatles-get-back">around the world</a> appear to have embraced this new version of history: that these sessions actually scanned as lighthearted, that – poof! – the scars had vanished.</p> <p>But the strange and beguiling thing about Jackson’s edit rises from how it displays an unstable mixture of groove and conflict.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Auta2lagtw4?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> <span class="caption">The trailer for ‘The Beatles: Get Back.’</span></p> <p>Despite the walkout from Harrison and continuous disagreements about what the project was – first a TV show, then a feature film and album, which needed a rooftop concert for a “payoff” – the band ultimately rallied to write the now-classic tracks “Something,” “Oh! Darling,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” along with Lennon’s “Polythene Pam” and “I Want You.”</p> <p>So Jackson’s “Get Back” clarifies the Beatles’ resolve to resume work and put their extra-musical squabbles aside. The music pulls them inexorably forward, and they trust these early song fragments enough to carry them. They have had bust-ups and walkouts and uncertainties and failures, and always found their way through. For Lindsay-Hogg and 1970 audiences, this all seemed bewildering and tense – the band kept a tight lid on internal rows. To the Beatles themselves, and to anyone who’s ever worked to keep a band together, it felt about par.</p> <p>Telling the average person to watch eight hours of freighted doubt and raw, undeveloped material is a big ask. <a href="https://www.theonion.com/new-beatles-doc-gives-man-greater-appreciation-for-how-1848132216">As The Onion joked</a>, “New Beatles Doc Gives Man Greater Appreciation For How Long 8 Hours Feels.”</p> <p>But there is a moment in Part Two of Jackson’s series – the first day on the set when Harrison doesn’t show up – when the rest of the band sits around talking about the situation. McCartney suddenly goes quiet. The camera lingers on him, and you can see him drift into a thousand-yard stare as he contemplates the looming uncertainties. He doesn’t quite tear up, but he does look as unguarded as he ever does, and markedly tentative.</p> <p>The moment catches hold because it’s so out of character – McCartney rarely displays himself unveiled, without pretense. The shot lingers and takes the measure of the man and the project, how much they have to overcome and how precarious everything suddenly feels.</p> <p>[<em>Over 140,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletters to understand the world.</em> <a href="https://memberservices.theconversation.com/newsletters/?source=inline-140ksignup">Sign up today</a>.]</p> <p>In retrospect, the miracle is not that they finished “Let It Be,” but how these sessions served as the warmup for their final lap, “Abbey Road.” After upending expectations with the contrasting breakthroughs of “Sgt. Pepper” and the “White Album,” figuring out what to do next would have confounded lesser souls.</p> <p>That five-decade gap where fans waited for a refurbished “Let It Be” tells you a lot about how fraught January 1969 seemed to its four principals – and how deep those scars went.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/169914/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tim-riley-440673">Tim Riley</a>, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director for Journalism, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/emerson-college-3140">Emerson College</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-beatles-get-back-glosses-over-the-bands-acrimonious-end-169914">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images</em></p>

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"Why Phil Tippett will never do another film like ‘Mad God’

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Phil Tippett, the man behind physical special effects seen in the likes of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Star Wars</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jurassic Park</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Robocop</em> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">has spoken about his latest project, </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.madgodmovie.com/madgod-home" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mad God</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and why he could never do it again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The independent stop-motion film, funded partly through online platform Kickstarter, took the iconic animator 30 years to make, and premiered at the annual cult cinema festival, Monster Fest, in Melbourne this year.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846211/tippett3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/49414a0037f44b4d9eb0c8ee60851f41" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Phil Tippett’s most memorable monster creations include the wooly Tauntauns which appeared in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Image: @tippettstudio (Instagram) </span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tippett’s latest feature is a wordless, nightmarish film that follows a figure in a gas mask known as the Assassin, as they make their way through a landscape filled with monsters, zombies, disturbing science experiments, and other grotesque forms.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Speaking to </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.smh.com.au/culture/movies/inside-the-nightmares-of-hollywood-s-mad-god-monster-maker-20211129-p59d29.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sydney Morning Herald</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Tippett said his work comes “entirely from the unconscious”, which saw him experience a “psychic breakdown” while making </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mad God</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You can only know your own mind. So my mind is a cage, and that’s where I am unconsciously trapped,” he said. “But within is an entire universe. And you never know what path you’re gonna go down.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846210/tippett1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8a0d0c80699746d49efe33cfadc5ee60" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Grotesque figures and monsters fill Phil Tippett’s latest film. Images: Mad God Movie</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mad God</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> led to a psychic breakdown for me, and then I had to go to the psych ward for a little while, and then it took me six weeks to recover.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tippett went on to say finishing </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mad God</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> came both as a personal triumph and a relief, as something he would not repeat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I will never do another </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mad God</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, ever. It’s impossible. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” he explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, he said he already has an outline and “about 800 storyboards” made up for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pequin’s Pendequin</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a sequel that’s intentionally more commercial and influenced by classic Warner Brothers and Popeye cartoons.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CJ6ZZ1yDVo0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CJ6ZZ1yDVo0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Phil Tippett (@madphilg)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite its clear change in direction, Tippett conceded that it will still contain elements of his style.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As the canary sings one song, it’ll get my flavour in it somehow,” he added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s a certain amount of darkness to it. But it’s a lot more humorous, with very vibrant colours, and … happy.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">See the trailer for <em>Mad God </em>below.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pbW5ns_pIZo" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Tippett Studio / Getty Images</span></em></p>

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When Rebel met Russell

<p>Rebel Wilson has stolen the show at the 2021 AACTA Awards, as she recalled her hilariously awkward first meeting with Russell Crowe. </p> <p>The 41-year-old actress began telling the story when she took to the stage to present an award, after being handed the microphone by Russell himself. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">"I have to tell you guys a story about the very first time that I met Russell," Rebel said to the audience in the Sydney Opera House. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">"I was a young actor. I was like 19. And, um, he was sitting there having dinner with Nicole Kidman at STC [Sydney Theatre Company]."</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">"I was like, 'Oh, my God' and I went up to them and I was like really nervous, and he turned to me, and he looked me right in the eyes, and he just said, 'F*** off'."</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">With the audience of Australia's entertainment industry bursting into laughter, Rebel insisted, "It's a true story."</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">She continued, "Many years later, Nicole Kidman gave me a scholarship to go to America and study comedy."</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">"Um, Russell didn't give me anything. No Rabbitohs merch - nothing," the comic actress quipped.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">She added, "You know, he did, though, a few years ago, give me a hug, and then he, like, sweetly whispered in my ear, 'I thought I told you to f*** off'."</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Russell, the AACTA president, opened the formalities of the night and kicked the award ceremony off with a political stance. </p> <p>“I’m supposed to now tell the winners to be as time-efficient and as apolitical as they can be in their acceptance speeches. But this is the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts - that last word ‘arts’, to my mind, is your licence to be as political as you want to be,” he said.</p> <p>“As artists, you have the licence to overthrow empires. To hold mirrors to hypocrisy. To shine lights into dark corners and bring humanity into political discourse in a way that other professions simply can’t. Respect that. Use your voice efficiently.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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