Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Dilan Gunawardana

Dilan Gunawardana is an arts reviewer and online content editor. He is a former Deputy Editor of Australian Book Review (2017–18). He currently manages the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) website and edits its Stories & Ideas section. He holds a Masters Degree in Communications and Media Studies from Monash University (Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence).

2017 Melbourne Festival

ABR Arts 23 October 2017
In his introduction to this year’s Melbourne Festival, Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway emphasised the need for people to step away from the hateful invective festering in public discourse and to note the bigger picture of humanity’s journey. ‘The last couple of years – globally – have not been our best’, he says in the Festival program. This era of ‘Brexit and Trump’ – a term ... (read more)

The Trip to Spain

ABR Arts 31 July 2017
Michael Winterbottom’s three Trip films are, in essence, all the same: two middle-aged men motor through beautiful locations around the world and eat sumptuous meals in high-end provincial restaurants while impersonating celebrities, sniping at each other, and complaining about various physical and emotional ailments. On paper this doesn’t sound enthralling, especially three times over, and ye ... (read more)

Dark Mofo 2017 (MONA)

ABR Arts 27 June 2017
Every winter for the last few years, Hobart has soaked itself in a shade of deep red and invited a mass of bodies to cavort and feast on its flesh for MONA’s annual winter arts festival of ‘darkness, light, birth, death, and renewal’, Dark Mofo. Therefore, the performance by Viennese artist Hermann Nitsch, where a similar thing happened to a freshly slaughtered bull, should have caused littl ... (read more)

Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63' by Marcelino Truong, translated by David Homel

June-July 2017, no. 392 29 May 2017
For those seeking a concise illustrative history of the Vietnam War, Marcelino Truong’s graphic novel, Such a Lovely Little War, is the ideal place to begin. Those seeking a graphic novel memoir as engaging as Art Spiegelman’s Maus (1986–92) or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (2001–2), will be unsatisfied. ‘Marco’, as the author is referred to in this book, is the son of a Vietnamese d ... (read more)

Trainspotting Live (In Your Face Theatre/fortyfivedownstairs)

ABR Arts 27 March 2017
When ticketholders are forewarned not to wear white clothing to a small-scale production, feelings of trepidation are understandable. The aptly named ‘In Your Face Theatre’ troupe’s Trainspotting condenses Irvine Welsh’s 1993 critically acclaimed collection of short stories about a group of self-destructive Scottish heroin addicts and their equally dysfunctional friends, and spits it back ... (read more)

Satan Jawa (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 27 February 2017
If a single word could sum up the world première of Satan Jawa, it would be ‘bewitching’. Indonesian Director Garin Nugroho’s black-and-white silent film combines mime and dance to relate a Faustian tale of love, sacrifice, and agony, rooted in Javanese mysticism. A twenty-piece Indonesian gamelan orchestra accompanied the film in collaboration with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; they pr ... (read more)

The Long String Instrument (The Substation and Liquid Architecture)

ABR Arts 31 January 2017
It seems fitting that the co-opted electrical substation in Newport, Melbourne should be the site of an enterprising arts space. Formerly it was used to generate electricity for Victorian Railways (it fell into disrepair in the 1960s). Perhaps some residual energy still pulses through the concrete lattice of its red-bricked walls or runs along the arched tops of its double-story windows, investing ... (read more)

Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'Songs of a War Boy' by Deng Thiak Adut and Ben McKelvey

December 2016, no. 387 28 November 2016
Songs are of great importance to the Dinka people of South Sudan. ‘They’re our avatars, and our biographies. They precede us, introduce us, and live on after we die,’ writes the refugee advocate, Archibald muse, and NSW Australian of the Year for 2017, Deng Thiak Adut. His memoir, Songs of a War Boy, serves as a profound if disturbing ballad to his tragedies and triumphs. ... (read more)

Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'Wood Green' by Sean Rabin

November 2016, no. 386 28 October 2016
The cover of Sean Rabin’s first novel, Wood Green, depicts a foggy eucalypt forest at dawn (or dusk), and a ghostly figure in the glow of torchlight. With the added element of the story’s setting – a secluded town nestled in the shadows of Mount Wellington, Tasmania – one could be forgiven for assuming that Wood Green is ‘yet another bush gothic’, instead of a modern and humorous disco ... (read more)

La Belle et la Bête, The Triplets of Belleville, and David Bowie: Nothing has changed (Melbourne Festival)

ABR Arts 26 October 2016
In the notes accompanying this year’s Melbourne Festival, artistic director Jonathan Holloway stated that his diverse program was designed to ‘puncture the creative borders between artforms’. The concept of artistic cross-fertilisation is hardly new, nor does it always result in something worth experiencing (think most comic book film adaptations), but three notable Melbourne Festival presen ... (read more)
Page 2 of 3