Not Quite Straight: A memoir
Vintage, $24.95 pb, 468 pp, 978174166 6274
It is an eerie measure of a movie’s power when you come out at the end of it and sense, however fleetingly, that you’re still a part of its world, or that its world is all but indistinguishable from the everyday one you’ve just re-entered. German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder was grand master of this trick. His compatriot Pina Bausch achieves a comparable sorcery with dance. Her audiences, when they file out into the foyer, ineluctably take on the lineaments of her choreography. Lewis Carroll’s refrain ‘Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?’ suggests that you have an option; Bausch’s spectacle persuades you there is none. Among painters, one of the greatest contemporary practitioners of this irresistible effect – not magic realism but realist magic – is Australia’s Jeffrey Smart.