Home' Weekend Plus : October 10, 2013 Contents arts&culture
My Brilliant Friend is an engrossing story of family,
friends and foes set in a poor neighbourhood on the
outskirts of Italy’s Naples in the 1950s.
Schoolgirls Elena and Lila have an intense friendship
which is solidified by a number of daring escapades
such as their confrontation with maligned local
businessman and “the ogre of fairytales” Don Achille.
While opposites in many ways – narrator Elena is
conventionally pretty and good, while her skinny,
plainer friend can’t resist testing boundaries and people
– the two girls are bonded by a shared intelligence and
thirst for knowledge. This is also what tears them apart
in a time and place when children, especially girls, were
not encouraged to continue their schooling.
This film adaptation of Tim Winton’s short story cycle
The Turning is being promoted as a “unique cinema
event”, but even this level of praise fails to do it justice.
The film is a three-hour showcase of exemplary
Australian writing, acting and direction in which each of
the book’s 17 stories is interpreted by an independent
team of filmmakers and artists.
This mammoth project was set in train and overseen
by producer-director Robert Connolly, who had a
vision of creating a film that felt like an art gallery
exhibition. With this in mind, he set about securing
the collaboration of a slew of Australia’s most
celebrated directors, writers, actors, photographers,
choreographers and visual artists.
The musical impresario behind The Commitments is
back. He’s now 47, still living in North Dublin, married
with children, and battling bowel cancer. But everything
is “grand” in the world of Jimmy Rabbitte.
The Guts finds him running an online business selling
obsolete bands’ music to the uninitiated, reuniting with
his long lost brother, and catching up with the band’s
guitarist Outspan and the ever-delectable Imelda Quirk.
Roddy Doyle, who published his debut novel The
Commitments in 1987, is in peak form here, dishing out
one of his cleverest and most compassionate stories. It’s
also one of his best.
He captures the Irish brogue wonderfully, and the
dialogue is mesmeric, hilarious and sometimes...
Book review: My Brilliant Friend
Tim Winton’s The Turning
Book review: The Guts
By Elena Ferrante | Text Publishing, $29.99
By Roddy Doyle | Random House, $24.95
Written and Directed by Claire McCarthy
Produced by Maggie Miles and Sue Italiano
Rae lives in a trailer park with her husband Max and two
young daughters. When Sherry and Dan temporarily move
into the park, Sherry and Rae develop a friendship. When
Rae learns that they are born-again Christians, she begins
to wonder whether Jesus might be the answer to her
About the Director
Writer, director, producer and visual artist Claire McCarthy
has been making internationally acclaimed short films
and documentaries for over a decade. Her feature film,
The Waiting City, premiered at the Toronto International
Film Festival and was nominated for three Film Critics Circle
Awards, an ADG award, won two IF Awards and has sold
to almost 40 territories around the world. Claire’s first feature,
Cross Life, premiered at the Sydney Film Festival, screened at
Pusan in Korea and was nominated for an Independent Spirit
Award at the 2007 IF Awards. Her documentary, Sisters, was
broadcast on ABC Television and distributed internationally.
“Tim Winton has a way of being able to
communicate what it’s like to be human.
These characters are not people that are
outside of our understanding. They are
people that we know. Yet he offers something
else on the edges of all that, something
transcendent. His stories take us beyond
the literal and into the heart of all the big
questions, without ever making us feel we
are not invited for the ride.”
– Claire McCarthy
a rts &culture
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