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Culture March 16, 2019

The high life of Claire Denis

While Claire Denis seeks to avoid metaphor in her films, the French director’s sci-fi prison drama High Life, starring Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson, can’t help but raise big questions about the universe, the nature of time and even the meaning of life. “Everything in screenwriting is painful and yet it’s great. It’s great because the pain is the price you have to pay to be allowed to dream things, to make them real.”

Culture March 9, 2019

Ellen Burstyn variations

Ellen Burstyn, in Melbourne to star onstage in 33 Variations, has a film career spanning six decades and including such cinematic touchstones as The Exorcist and The Last Picture Show. She talks tabout Beethoven, spirituality and recruiting Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. “I asked that he be the director. He had already made Mean Streets, but it hadn’t been released and he was deeply grateful that I wanted him. This doesn’t mean that I gave him his start. And there was no stopping him, anyway – he would have got there in any case. But, you know, there was never any sense with Marty of working with a monster, with a master in the nasty sense. He’s marvellous, he’s an original. He’s smart and fiery and rough and excitable and alive.”

Culture March 2, 2019

Sohaila Abdulali on survival

In 2012, a prominently reported rape and murder of an Indian student revived interest in Sohaila Abdulali’s 33-year-old account of surviving her own attack. Since then the author has used her new platform to encourage unflinching debate about violence against women. “When I started writing this book, nobody was talking about rape. And even in that short time, people are now starting to want to speak about their experiences and understand them. That people want to understand and talk about it – makes me feel hopeful. There’s a lot in the world to feel hopeless about too, but there’s still hope.”

Culture February 23, 2019

Kristen Roupenian on short stories and viral success

Amid the spectacularly divisive response to Kristen Roupenian’s short story about a relationship gone wrong, the author’s conception of “Cat Person” as horror fiction was often overlooked. Here, she talks about reasserting her genre credentials with the release of her debut collection. “The temptation would be to turn the book into 11 stories about dating from the perspective of young women. So I was grateful that editors recognised it was a weird, dark collection of essentially horror stories. They let it be what it was.”

Culture February 16, 2019

The reinvention of Christine and the Queens

Like her idol Madonna, French pop musician Héloïse Letissier is interested in transformation and reinvention. Her latest album finds her performing in a new persona as Chris, a celebration of her “macho-femininity”. She is, however, aware of the “danger of mainstreaming ‘queerness’… [that] it could invalidate the thing that ‘queer’ is important for. Queer is questioning a norm, questioning the system, subverting it, so if it’s digested and branded and [covered in] glossy plastic to appeal, then the essence of queer is lost.”

review

Culture March 16, 2019

Karen O and Danger Mouse’s ‘Lux Prima’

Karen O and Danger Mouse’s collaboration has delivered in Lux Prima a brilliant album of dark pop, with a hint of Pink Floyd grandeur.

Culture March 16, 2019

Those Monuments Don’t Know Us

Displayed in a historic homestead built on the cusp of Federation, Those Monuments Don’t Know Us examines colonisation and cultural expression and challenges ingrained assumptions of what fits where.

Culture March 9, 2019

Everybody Knows

After a shift in setting to Spain for Everybody Knows, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi squanders a brilliantly tense kidnapping drama in an attempt to provide social commentary.

portrait

Culture March 2, 2019

Korean chef Peter Jo

Morning in the Shik restaurant kitchen with Peter Jo.

Culture November 3, 2018

António Serzedelo, revolutionary

A visit to the Lisbon apartment of polymath activist António Serzedelo.

Culture October 13, 2018

Author Deb Kandelaars

The writer of Memoirs of a Suburban Girl on her long road out of a violent relationship. “There I am, right in the middle of my teenage years and suddenly in a serious relationship. A relationship that pushes away my other life. Being hit was beyond my world experience. I didn’t want it to happen again. I started treading a little bit more carefully, and that set up a power dynamic.”

books

Culture March 16, 2019

Charlie Savage

Roddy Doyle – an expansive writer with a career across novel, stage and screen, known for capturing the spirit and voice of working-class Dubliners – has long attracted criticism for being too broad and good-natured. Even his 1993 Booker win …

Culture March 16, 2019

The Rip

In Mark Brandi’s new novel The Rip, a homeless, young, female drug addict says to the reader: “I don’t think I could ever make you understand what it’s like for me, unless you could be me for a minute.” Of course, …

Culture March 16, 2019

Unlike the Heart

A woman has a baby and she can’t stop crying. She cries not just on the third day after giving birth with the “baby blues”, but as she feeds him, as she takes congratulatory cards from the letterbox, as she watches television and opens …