Philippa Hawker

We invited some writers, film critics, and film professionals to nominate their favourite film – not The Greatest Film Ever Sold, but one that matters to them personally.

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On the cover of Felicity Chaplin’s La Parisienne in Cinema: Between art and life, Audrey Hepburn, arms aloft, reigns triumphant in a strapless scarlet evening gown and organza shawl. This is a scene from Funny Face (1957), in which she plays a shy Greenwich Village bookshop employee transformed into a high-profile ...

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To highlight Australian Book Review’s arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year’s memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and art exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate some favourites.

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'Do you really want me to fall that low, to become a film critic, one of those people who write reviews?' asks Jonas Mekas, responding with typical brio to complaints ...

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French writer-director Stéphane Brizé's The Measure of a Man (La loi du marché), looks at first to be a character study with a quasi-documentary feel, then takes a disconcerting turn. At its centre is Vincent Lindon (Welcome [2009], Mademoiselle Chambon [2009]), a robust, often demonstrative actor ...

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‘I’m Duke Morrison, and I never was and never will be a film personality like John Wayne. I know him well. I’m one of his closest students. I have to be. I make a living out of him.’ In Scott Eyman’s biography John Wayne: The Life and Legend, these words, uttered by ‘Duke Morrison, aka John Wayne’, serve as an epigraph. They are a curious mixtur ...

Ben McCann’s Ripping Open the Set begins with four epigraphs, observations of various kinds. They come from American figures – Frank Capra, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Nathanael West – and they express a range of notions, none of them particularly positive, about the place of design in cinema. McCann – senior lecturer in French at the ...

Choosing to set a screen adaptation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) in contemporary India might seem like an almost perverse shift, or an over-determining decision. But for British film-maker Michael Winterbottom, there is consistency and history of a sort. It is his third Thomas Hardy adaptation, and his fourth feature shot on the subcontinent. In re ...

The Slap (ABC)

27 September 2011

Horror. It’s a word you are forced to utter emphatically, almost to expel. On the page, it seems to contain a form of typographical echo – it looks as if it is repeating itself. The term has tactile, physical associations; it once meant roughness or ruggedness, and it also describes a shuddering or a shivering movement. (There’s a wonderful word, horripilation, a synonym for the phenomenon also known as gooseflesh.)

Corporeal sensations, outward and internal – the frisson of creeping flesh, the visceral clutch or contraction of the bowels. Horror is the response and that which causes it, the emotion of disgust or repugnance which provokes a shudder or a shiver. Instinctive, immediate, something that can’t be moderated or regulated. But there is also a dynamic of attraction and repulsion in and around horror: it is both what you cannot bear to contemplate and cannot bear to look away from.

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